Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme (SSPRS)

The Government is reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS). This will be a temporary scheme to support employers facing heightened levels of sickness absence due to COVID-19. The SSPRS will refund small and medium-sized employers’ COVID-related SSP costs for up to two weeks per employee. To qualify for the scheme employers must have less than 250 employees.

Employers will be eligible for the scheme if they are UK-based, employed fewer than 250 employees as of 30th November 2021, they had a PAYE payroll system as of 30th November 2021 and they have already paid their employees’ COVID-related SSP.

Employers will be able to claim the costs for up to two weeks of SSP per employee that has to take time off because of COVID-19. This two-week limit will be reset so an employer will be able to claim up to two weeks per employee regardless of whether they have claimed under the previous scheme for that employee.

The scheme is being reintroduced so that employers can claim for COVID-related sickness absences occurring from 21st December 2021 onwards. Employers will be able to make a claim through HMRC from mid-January onwards, using this website: Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to your employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

This is a temporary scheme to support employers facing heightened levels of sickness absence due to COVID-19. The government will keep the duration of the scheme under review.

Employers must keep records of Statutory Sick Pay that they have paid and want to claim back from HMRC. Employers must keep the following records for 3 years after the date they receive the payment for their claim:

  • the dates the employee was off sick
  • which of those dates were qualifying days
  • the reason they said they were off work due to COVID-19 
  • the employee’s National Insurance number

See: COVID-19 economic support package – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

New Business Grants

The Government is introducing a new grant scheme to support businesses that are experiencing difficulties because of the Omicron variant. Hospitality and leisure premises will benefit from targeted grant support. The Additional Restrictions Grant will also be topped up so local authorities (LAs) can continue to use their discretion to support other businesses in their area, based on local economic need.

Hospitality (defined as accommodation, food & beverage services) and leisure premises will benefit from targeted grant support. The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) will also be topped up so local authorities (LAs) can continue to use their discretion to support other businesses in their area, based on local economic need.

Nearly £700 million of targeted grants for hospitality and leisure businesses in England have been allocated for the hospitality and leisure sector.

Recipients must be solvent businesses, and ratepayers in the hospitality and leisure sector. For example, a pub; hotel; restaurant; bar; cinema; or amusement park. Grants are per premises and the amount paid is varied by rateable value (RV) of each eligible premises, in three bands: £0-15k; £15-51k; and over £51k.

Rateable ValueValue of Grant
£0-15k£2700
£15-51k£4000
>£51k£6000

In addition, Local Authorities (LAs) in England will receive a top-up worth a total of £102 million to their Additional Restrictions Grant fund. Up to £250 million is still currently with LAs, which they will distribute.

All grants will be subject to the subsidy control allowances. The subsidy control policy will be published as part of the scheme guidance. Businesses that are in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made, are not eligible for funding under this scheme.

LAs are responsible and accountable for the lawful use of funds and must be satisfied that all eligibility and subsidy allowance conditions have been fully complied with when making grant payments. To do this, LAs will be expected to have pre- and post-payment assurance plans in place and undertake a Fraud Risk Assessment.

Final application and payment dates for the hospitality and leisure grants and the ARG will be confirmed in guidance published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

To find your local council and for their application process see:  Find your local council – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you require any help or guidance over wither of these updates, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01384 376964