With Government advice regarding shielding changing as we enter a new phase of the UK’s response to the Coronavirus crisis, the rules on shielding and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) have now changed.
In our last post ‘Latest on the Job Retention Bonus – how will it work?’ we covered the recent updates on how the £1,000 bonus for employers will work, and now further guidance has been released to cover the treatment of shielding employees in terms of SSP.
When the Coronavirus Bill was published in March and the first guidance was released the Government announced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme which sought to assist employers who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the scheme, employers were eligible to recover SSP for employees who fell under several categories including those who were affected either by shielding themselves or by a member of their household shielding.
In our post ‘The UK’s return to work plan – updates to CJRS & SSP recovery’ we detailed the full list of eligibility requirements for the scheme.
What has changed?
With the UK now easing out of lockdown and businesses being encouraged to return to work, with considerations for the safety of their staff and patrons in place, the Government have now began to ease restrictions on the most vulnerable people in society who were originally asked to shield.
The Government have now advised that previous shielding advice does not need to be adhered to, which means that employees who were previously shielding or had a member of their household doing so can now return to work so long as their employer is following Government guidance and ensures that their workplace is COVID-19 secure.
Shielding employees are no longer eligible for sick pay
Since shielding is no longer being recommended by the Government, from the 1st of August employees who choose to still shield or have someone within their household continuing to shield will no longer be eligible to receive SSP and as such employers will no longer be able to recover SSP for these employees if they continue to make sick payments.
What should you do next?
As an employer it is important to maintain good communication with your employees, particularly regarding any issues that could affect their contract of employment and their working situation. If you have any employees who have previously been affected by shielding we would recommend getting in touch with them as soon as possible to understand what their intentions are, and liaising with your HR department and the employees to come to a mutual agreement about their return to work or situation going forwards.