When are employers required to pay Statutory Sick Pay to employees who are self-isolating due to coronavirus?

Employees are eligible to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) where they cannot work from home, provided they meet the other qualifying conditions for SSP:

  • they have tested positive for Covid-19 (coronavirus)
  • they have coronavirus symptoms
  • they are living with someone with coronavirus symptoms
  • they are in the same social support bubble as someone with symptoms or who has tested positive
  • they have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by a Public Health official
  • they have been advised by a medical professional or their GP to stay at home for a period of up to 14 days being admitted to hospital for the purpose of undergoing a surgical or other hospital procedure. This provision was introduced on 26 August 2020 by new amendment Regulations to existing statutory sick pay legislation. 

“Waiting days” for the first period of sickness incapacity don’t apply in the above circumstances and SSP is payable from the first day of absence. If your employees can work from home whilst they are self-isolating, they should receive their normal pay.  Please see our factsheet on Sick Pay on the FSB Legal Hub for further guidance.

Please also note that employees who are required to self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days because they have returned to the UK from abroad from a country or territory with a high coronavirus risk are not entitled to SSP on this basis.

Employers that had fewer than 250 employees on their PAYE payroll as at 28 February 2020 can reclaim from the Government up to 14 days’ SSP paid per employee for periods of sickness incapacity due to coronavirus (in other words, reimbursement is capped at £191.70 per employee based on current SSP rates).

Will an employee be entitled to SSP if their child is sent home from school because someone in their school “bubble” has tested positive for coronavirus?

Following the wider opening of schools in September, some schools have had to reclose or whole class “bubbles” sent home where there has been a positive case or cases of coronavirus in the school.  An employee will only be entitled to SSP in this circumstance as set out above i.e. where the employee is advised to self-isolate having received a written notification to do so by a contact tracer from NHS Test and trace or by a public health official, or where the employee, their child or someone else in their household tests positive for coronavirus, or develops coronavirus symptoms.