Sick news for small employers

/ 24 February 2014

Employees are entitled to be paid Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”). It’s a bit less than £90 per week: no-one ever got rich by being sick.

Employers may pay more than that minimum statutory amount – many do – but they cannot pay less.

At the moment, employers can in some circumstances recover part of the SSP from HMRC. Roughly, an employer can recover SSP he pays in a month if and to the extent that it exceeds 13% of his gross Class 1 NIC (employer’s and employee’s) liability for the month. The arithmetical effect is that if you have only a small proportion of your work force off sick, tough – you meet the cost of SSP yourself: but if you have a substantial proportion off at the same time, you can claim.

A moment’s thought will show that the smaller your workforce, the more likely you are to have a big enough proportion of them off sick at any one time to trigger recovery under the scheme, especially if the remuneration of your work force is fairly modest. In other words, far and away the most likely recipients of reimbursement are small private businesses.

So it will be small private businesses who will be most affected by the withdrawal of the scheme with effect from 6 April next. The withdrawal was announced a year ago, but we haven’t seen much recent publicity about its imminent demise: hence this reminder.

Claims for reimbursement (but only for period of sickness up to 5 April 2014, of course) can be made until 5 April 2016.

For more on this, call your usual contact partner (or use our enquiry form), and hope we aren’t all off sick.