The Coronavirus Bill was published today, Thursday 19 March 2020 which is the emergency legislation which will give the government powers to bring in a raft of measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak – including some of the support previously announced by the chancellor in the budget.
• The scheme to refund SME employers for the cost of SSP payments made to employees self isolating because of coronavirus.
• Making SSP payable from the first day of sickness absence rather than the fourth day. The Coronavirus Bill provides a framework for further regulations to be made – the regulations will provide the detail that recruiters and other businesses have been waiting for.
The chancellor stated in the budget that the refund scheme would be for employers with 250 or fewer ‘employees’. We are still waiting for clarification about whether this will include temporary workers on the payroll. If yes, many recruiters will not be eligible for the refund payments.
The Coronavirus Bill doesn’t provide this clarification so we’ve got to wait for the regulations to be released.
The Coronavirus Bill does state that the amount of SSP could be paid up front to eligible employers, rather than employers having to claim a refund. It may also be possible for amounts over and above the SSP amount limit to be paid to employers but again, we need to wait for the regulations to clarify that position.
The Coronavirus Coronavirus Bill does include the power to make SSP payable from day 1. The Coronavirus Bill should be in force by the end of March 2020 – the SSP provisions will be backdated to 13 March 2020.