From tomorrow (25th March 2022) sick pay is no longer payable from day one to employees who are off sick from work due to COVID-19.

Going forward any employee who reports as being off work due to ill health caused by COVID-19 will be subject to the normal 3 waiting days to qualify for SSP payments.

You still have the right to pay a sum equivalent to SSP for the 3 waiting days if you wished, but it is no longer a right to receive it.

Similarly, if the employee is well, but chooses to self-isolate as they live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they also no longer qualify for SSP payments.

This may cause some issues where employers still wish employees to self-isolate if they live with someone who has tested positive and they are unable to work from home, as you will either have to agree with them to pay the employee a sum equal to SSP or place them on medical suspension at their full rate of pay if they are willing to return to work, but you wish them stay off.

The other group that is likely to be affected by the change in SSP rules are those that have been advised to self-isolate as they are awaiting an operation – once again in the event that they are well enough to work whilst waiting for the operation, they would not qualify for SSP, and in the absence of you providing full pay for this time off, they would either have to take this as holiday, take unpaid leave, be able to work from home or you would agree to make a payment equal to SSP whilst they are self-isolating for medical reasons.

If you choose not to pay their normal wages and the employee wishes to stay off and cannot work from home, or chooses not to take holidays, it would be wise to get written confirmation from the employee of their choice of taking unpaid leave or receiving a sum equal to SSP to avoid any issues regarding unlawful deductions from wages in the future.