Guidance

Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you're an employer, find out if you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The online service you’ll use to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now available.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees.

Who can use the scheme

This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:

  • an isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends)

We will let you know when the scheme will end.

Employees who have transferred under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE)

You can make a claim for SSP paid due to coronavirus to employees who have been transferred to you under TUPE if you had:

  • a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • fewer than 250 employees (including TUPE transferred employees) across all PAYE payroll schemes on 28 February 2020

If you did not have a PAYE scheme that was created on or before 28 February 2020, but the previous employer did, you can make a claim if they had fewer than 250 employees across all their PAYE schemes on that date.

As the new employer, you can only make claims for SSP that you have paid, a claim cannot include SSP paid by the previous employer.

If you’re claiming for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.

State aid limits

Your claim amount should not take you above the state aid limits under the EU Commission temporary framework. This is when combined with other aid received under the framework. The maximum level of state aid that a business may receive is €800,000. There is a lower maximum for agriculture at €100,000 and aquaculture and fisheries at €120,000.

Connected companies and charities

Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees was fewer than 250 on 28 February 2020.

Using an agent to do PAYE online

If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf. You should speak to your agent about whether they are providing this service.

If you would like to use an agent, but do not have one authorised to do PAYE online for you, you can do that by accessing your HMRC online services and selecting ‘manage account’.

You must be enrolled in PAYE online for employers to do this and will need to ask your agent for their agent ID. Your agent can get this from their HMRC online service for agents by selecting ‘authorise client.’

You can also use this service to remove authorisation from your agent if you do not want it to continue after they have submitted your claims.

If an agent makes a claim on your behalf, you will need to tell them which bank account you would like the grant to be paid into. You must only provide bank details where a BACS payment can be accepted.

What you can claim

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks SSP starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have coronavirus symptoms
  • are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • have been advised by letter to shield because they’re clinically extremely vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
  • have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery for up to 14 days

You can make more than one claim per employee, but you cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total.

You can claim from the first qualifying day your employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after:

  • 13 March 2020 – if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • 16 April 2020 – if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus
  • 28 May 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • 26 August 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery

Most people are asked to self-isolate for 3 days before surgery. In this case, the day of surgery will be the 4th day of their period of incapacity for work. You cannot claim repayment of SSP for the day of surgery or any other days when the absence is not due to coronavirus.

A ‘qualifying day’ is a day an employee usually works on. The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

If an employee has returned to the UK

From 8 June 2020, some people entering or returning to the UK will be required to quarantine for 14 days. If an employee is unable to work during this period, they will not qualify for SSP unless they also meet one of the above criteria.

Records you must keep

You must keep records of SSP that you’ve paid and want to claim back from HMRC.

You must keep the following records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment for your claim:

  • the dates the employee was off sick
  • which of those dates were qualifying days
  • the reason they said they were off work – if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms or they were shielding
  • the employee’s National Insurance number

You can choose how you keep records of your employees’ sickness absence. HMRC may need to see these records if there’s a dispute over payment of SSP.

You’ll need to print or save your state aid declaration (from your claim summary) and keep this until 31 December 2024.

How to claim

You must have paid your employees’ sick pay before you claim it back.

If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf.

Employers who are unable to claim online should have received a letter on an alternative way to claim. Contact HMRC if you have not received a letter and are unable to make any eligible claims online.

Other help you can get

Get help online

Use HMRC’s digital assistant to find more information about the coronavirus support schemes.

Contacting HMRC

We are receiving very high numbers of calls. Contacting HMRC unnecessarily puts our essential public services at risk during these challenging times.

You can contact HMRC about the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme if you cannot get the help you need online.

Published 3 April 2020
Last updated 10 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. What you can claim has been updated for employees who have been advised by letter to shield because they're clinically extremely vulnerable.

  2. Who can use the scheme has been updated so employers can ask for a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

  3. From 26 August 2020 you can claim for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery.

  4. Information about employees who have transferred under the TUPE regulations has been added.

  5. You can now claim for employees who are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus.

  6. The online service you’ll use to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now available.

  7. The online service you’ll use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available from 26 May 2020.

  8. Added guidance on getting ready to claim and what you'll need to make a claim.

  9. We have added a Welsh translation.

  10. We have added information relating to the EU Commission temporary framework. Claim amounts should not be above the maximum €800,000 of state aid under this framework.

  11. We have added a Welsh translation.

  12. Updated with information about using the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to reclaim employees' Statutory Sick Pay if they are shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19).

  13. First published.