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Employee concerns over sick pay are rising

Kate Palmer, HR Consultancy Director - Peninsula

Omicron is continuing to cause issues for employers as more and more staff report needing to isolate. The Government recently advised public sector bosses to prepare for absences of up to 25% but the increase in cases is affecting businesses across the country.

January 4th saw a lot of people returning to their workplace after the Christmas period, but current stats estimate that 4% of the population are currently infected. Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula says: “Since the start of the pandemic, calls related to absence and SSP have been the most common we’ve received but this week has hit a new high. On Tuesday we saw a 13% increase in comparison to the first day back to work last year.

“It’s always hard getting used to going back to work after a long Christmas break. But this year, due to rising levels of Covid infections from the highly transmissible Omicron variant, for many businesses it has been impossible due to staffing levels.

“It’s not surprising that so many are calling for advice and looking into their obligations to pay statutory sick pay (SSP) to isolating staff members.

“For those businesses that are just starting to bounce back after lockdown and restrictions, this is a huge blow. Whilst in theory they can reopen, many simply cannot do so – at least not fully – due to significant numbers of staff absences.

“When working from home is not an option, some financial respite is available for medium and small business (under 250 employees).

“The reopening of the SSP rebate scheme on 21st December 2021, allows businesses to claim back up to two weeks per employee from mid-January 2022 for Covid related absences. This only applies to absences from 21st December 2021, but it is a small mercy that will go some way to help struggling businesses.”

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