Can Employers Claim Back Statutory Sick Pay From HMRC?
Employers can claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from HMRC for employees that were on sick leave due to COVID-19. The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (CSSPRS) was set up in May 2020 to help SMEs.
You can’t reclaim SSP for employees that are on sick leave for any other reason.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
Am I Eligible to Use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (CSSPRS)?
The CSSPRS is specifically for small and medium sized businesses. HMRC defines this as:
- Less than 250 employees across all your PAYE payroll schemes before 28th February 2020
- Your PAYE payroll scheme must have started before 28th February 2020
There are 2 other important criteria for employers:
- You’re claiming back the SSP you’ve paid an employee who was on sick leave due to coronavirus
- You have already paid your employees this sick pay
Does This Only Cover Employees Who Are Actually off Sick With the Coronavirus?
This isn’t just employees who contracted COVID-19. You can claim the full 2 weeks SSP for employees who:
- Have symptoms of coronavirus and are self-isolating
- Must self-isolate because someone they live with has symptoms
- Have been contacted by a public health body and told they’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive for coronavirus and must self-isolate
- Are shielding because they’re in a ‘clinically vulnerable’ category
- Are due to have surgery in and NHS hospital and have to self-isolate for 14 days before their surgery date
This coronavirus SSP starts on the first day your employee isn’t at work in most circumstances. You can make more than one claim for SSP relief for each employee, but you can’t claim for more than a total of 2 weeks per person.
The CSSPRS isn’t for people who have to quarantine for 14 days when they come back into the UK from abroad.
How Much SSP Can I Claim Back?
You can claim back the weekly SSP rate you’ve paid your employees. Before 6th April 2021, this was a weekly rate of £95.85 and since then it’s £96.35.
If you’re one of those lovely generous employers that pays a bit more, unfortunately you can only reclaim this statutory amount. Still, it’s better than standing the whole cost yourself.
Can I Only Reclaim SSP Paid to Full-Time Employees?
No, the scheme applies to employees on all kinds of contracts: agency, zero-hours, part-time, full-time, flexible and fixed period.
What Paperwork Do I Need to Make a CSSPRS Claim?
As an employer, you’ll already have your employees’ sickness and absence records all set up. And that’s fine, in this context too. Just be aware that HMRC may need to see those records if there are any issues with your SSP repayments.
HMRC stipulates that once you get your coronavirus SSP repayment, you must keep certain records for the following 3 years:
- Dates of employee sick leave
- Qualifying days, within those dates
- Specific reason they were on sick leave, like testing positive for Coronavirus or shielding
- National Insurance Number of employee
CSSPRS payments are classified as state aid and you need to keep this section of your claim summary until 31st December 2024. This can be as a digital or paper record.
How Do I Claim My CSSPRS Repayments?
You can make a claim for your CSSPRS repayments through HMRC’s online service. Your 3 first steps in this process are:
- Check you’re eligible for CSSPRS
- Are already registered for PAYE online
- Figure out the time period you’re claiming for and, especially with multiple staff, this can be tricky.
It’s a good idea to go through your FreshBooks account and your Sick Leave documentation to prepare all the details before you start.
What You Need to Get Together Before You Login:
- Government Gateway ID and password: you make your CSSPRS claim online through this portal
- Employer PAYE reference number
- UK bank account details: Name, address, account number, sort code, roll number (if appropriate). The account must accept Bacs payments
- Total amount of sick pay your claim is for: maximum of 2 weeks of SSP rate per employee
- Number of employees’ sick pay you’re claiming
- Dates of your claim period: start and end
- Name and phone number of a contact for any HMRC enquiries about the claim
You can get your accountant or tax agent to do this on your behalf if they’re authorised to do your PAYE online. It’s up to them to decide if they’re offering this service.
What Happens Next?
If HMRC has any questions, they’ll get in touch with the person you’ve listed as the correct contact for the claim. They check the claim and if it’s considered valid, you’ll get your refund into the bank account you listed within 6 working days.
During the processing period, HMRC can start action against people making “dishonest or inaccurate” claims. Employers who deliberately tried to defraud the system can get a fine of up to £3000.
There isn’t any way to check the progress of your claim. And HMRC says that there’s no point contacting them before 10 working days have passed since you submitted your claim. After this time period, you should have either received your payment or been contacted by HMRC with a question.