Coronavirus, Statutory Sick Pay and Fit Note Update
Whilst the Government has to date resisted the calls to bring back the furlough scheme to support employers hit by the Omicron variant, we have seen a change to statutory sick pay to assist some employers. There has also been a change to fit notes that is also worth highlighting.
Firstly, the Government has announced the reintroduction of the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.
The rebate scheme only applies to small and medium sized employers (those with less than 250 employees) and allows eligible employers to recover up to 2 weeks statutory sick pay per employee who has been absent because of COVID-19 from 21 December onwards. The previous scheme is reset meaning employees who have claimed previously when the scheme was last in force, can claim again for employees they may have previously claimed for.
Further details as to how the newly introduced scheme will work are to be published shortly.
Secondly, the timing of when fit notes/sick notes need to be provided by employees who are absent from work has been extended. For sick leave prior to 10 December 2021, a fit note needs to be provided if an employee has been ill for more than 7 days and has taken sick leave. However, for periods of sickness absence on or after 10 December 2021, a fit note only needs to be provided if they’ve been ill for more than 28 days in a row and have taken sick leave. This means that employees will be able to self-certify for up to 28 days rather than the current 7 day period.
This is only a temporary measure and is due to end for absences after 26 January 2022. It is designed to free up GP resource to help with current vaccination and booster programme.