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End of statutory sick pay could lead to further pressure on struggling businesses

Kate Palmer HR Advice and Consultancy Director - Peninsula

The COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme has officially ended. The scheme which was originally launched in May 2020 helped to provide financial support for employers with staff that had tested positive or were forced to isolate.

Through the scheme, small and medium sized employers were able to reclaim up to 2 weeks of statutory sick pay (SSP).

Prior to May 2020, SSP would be paid in its entirety by the employer – and as of 1st October 2021, employers are expected to pick up the cost again.

Kate Palmer is the HR Advice and Consultancy Director for Peninsula. She said: “The end of the scheme will inevitably put pressure on many businesses. It may be tempting to relax the rules around COVID related sick leave, especially now that more and more employees are vaccinated.

“However, now is not the time to be complacent about the risks of COVID. They still remain, as does the employer’s obligation to ensure employees don’t leave their house to work, which is still a criminal offence – which comes with the risk of hefty fines.”

“Realistically, nothing is changing in terms of when to be off work due to COVID, and so neither should anything change with an employer’s advice about this. It is going to cost an employer, of that there is no doubt, but the risk of COVID spreading through a workplace carries a greater cost.

“Speaking with an expert is the best way to ensure that your business is compliant and providing a safe working environment for staff.”

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