We all still wait with baited breath for the details of what the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is going to look like from August to October as it “tapers down”. I wouldn’t expect it much before the end of the month, so my money is on Friday 29th May…meaning another weekend in a dark room trying to figure it out I expect. You guys will be the first to know when we get something new.

What I can update you on today (finally) is that HMRC have confirmed that their online portal for reclaiming back statutory sick pay (SSP) for qualifying periods of sickness absence from 13 March 2020 will be open from 26 May. Once a pessimist, after the monumental success of the CJRS portal, I have to say this will be small fry – good on you HMRC!!

So, if you are a small to medium sized business with a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started before 28 February 2020 and you had fewer than 250 employees before the same date, you will be eligible to apply for a rebate. The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks of SSP and is payable if an employee is unable to work from 13 March 2020 due to them:

  • having coronavirus; or
  • self-isolating due to either themselves of a member of their household presenting with symptoms of coronavirus, and unable to work from home; or
  • shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (only since the date they were informed of this)

This is one of the loose ends that needed wrapping up by the government, which this now does. Leaving the way clear for a whole new wave of confusion that I am sure we will face when the details of the CJRS from August to October are released – enjoy the head space!