If an employee is sick or incapable of work, they must be paid a minimum of SSP where they are eligible.
Advice from HMRC states that if your employee is clinically extremely vulnerable and cannot work because they have received a notification advising them to shield, you can furlough them under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if you are eligible to do so. As a minimum, you must pay them SSP, where they are eligible.
You must pay SSP from the first day of an employee’s absence from work if they are self-isolating due to COVID-19. This could be because:
|If your employee:||Period of sickness starting on or after:|
|Has coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus||13 March 2020|
|Is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms||13 March 2020|
|Is shielding because they received a letter advising them to do so||16 April 2020|
|Has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus||28 May 2020|
|Is self-isolating because someone in their support bubble (or extended household in Scotland or Wales) but not their own household had symptoms or tested positive for coronavirus||6 July 2020|
|Has tested positive for coronavirus||5 August 2020|
|Has been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery||26 August 2020|
Your employee may be required to self-isolate multiple times. Each time they are required to self-isolate “provided all eligibility criteria are met” they must receive SSP for the duration of their absence. Small and medium employers can reclaim up to two weeks of SSP paid per employee for absences related to COVID-19.
To reduce pressure on GPs, the get an isolation note service was introduced. This removes the need for employees to contact their GP unnecessarily for evidence relating to self-isolation.
HMRC suggests that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence where an employee is advised to self isolate in accordance with public health advice. Employers can check an isolation note is valid by using the check an isolation note service.