Written by Rachel Cooke
Published on March 18, 2020
Covid-19 Update

In the wake of the outbreak of Covid-19, also known as Coronavirus, being declared a pandemic the Government and Public Health England (PHE) are releasing information daily and it is important to stay up to date with the latest advice so that you are able to carry out contingency planning for your organisation.

Coronavirus Bill Published

On the 17th March 2020, the Coronavirus Bill was published and it has addressed some important changes that are going to impact businesses and organisations across the UK. The Government is trying to act fast to contain the virus and mitigate the effect on our economy.

There are two main updates for you to be aware of right now.

Statutory Sick Pay

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now in place. Following the publishing of the Bill the updates to SSP can be summarised as follows:

  • SSP is payable from day one for either certified sickness or self-isolation
  • NHS 111 will provide a virtual sick note for employees who contact the helpline to discuss symptoms and are either a) advised to self-isolate or b) have the virus
  • Day one commenced on the release of the bill – 13th March 2020
  • Employers with less than 250 employees as at 28th April 2020 will have the full cost of Covid-19 related sick pay met by the Government
  • SSP claims will be made on the EPS (HMRC are yet to confirm the practicalities of this)
  • The refund will cover SSP for up to 14 days for all eligible employees off work due to Coronavirus

IR35 Postponed

In addition to the information around SSP it was confirmed that the upcoming changes to IR35 will be postponed. Originally due to apply from the 6th April 2020, the legislation is being held back a year and will now apply from the 6th April 2021.

For now this means that medium and large companies in the private sector will continue to operate in respect of off payroll working as they are currently, and workers will be responsible for assessing their own employment status.

It is important to note that for employers within the public sector IR35 still applies.

Coronavirus Helplines & Advice

We would like to urge organisations to follow official advice since information is changing so rapidly rather than relying on the media for information. Some resources that you can use are:


Government updates on Covid-19

Advice from Public Health England

Advice from NHS Scotland

Advice from Public Health Wales

HMRC Tax Helpline: 0800 0159 559

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