The law on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has changed (and may continue to change) during the unfolding Coronavirus outbreak.
In order to qualify for SSP an employee must be absent from work due to incapacity. This is defined as: “A day on which the employee concerned is, or is deemed in accordance with regulations to be, incapable by reason of some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement of doing work which he can reasonably be expected to do under that contract" (section 151(4), Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992).
The Government has already announced a number of changes it is making to SSP as a result of Coronavirus. The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Suspension of Waiting Days and General Amendment) Regulations 2020 which implement these changes has now come into effect.
In summary, the new regulations confirm the following:
This position mirrors the Government’s guidance on who should self-isolate, which can be found in its “Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection”.
These changes will apply retrospectively from 13 March 2020. The amendments had originally been stated to expire after eight months, but that expiry mechanism has gone – there is no time limit and the amendments will be subject to review.
Significantly, the new regulations confirm that people who are shielding or who refuse to work because they are in a vulnerable category are not entitled to SSP (unless they fall within the categories outlined above).