Coronavirus: self-certification period temporarily extended

As of 17 December 2021, there has been a temporary shift to the self-certification period regarding Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The change is another measure taken in response to the emergence of Omicron. It aims to provide temporary relief for GPs, to concentrate their energy on delivering the COVID-19 booster programme and emergency care.

What is SSP?

SSP is the pay employees may be eligible for if they are unable to work, due to sickness, for at least four consecutive days (including non-working days). Employers are responsible for paying the weekly SSP rate of £96.35 for up to 28 weeks if the employee qualifies.

What is changing?

Ordinarily, employees can self-certify the reason for their absence for up to seven days, before requiring medical evidence from their GP (also known as a fit note). However, as of 17 December 2021, the self-certification period has been extended to 28 days, meaning employees have longer to acquire a sick note due to the obstacles of the Omicron virus.

This change even includes absences beginning from 10 December 2021.

When does the extension end?

The 28-day period is set to regress to the standard seven days on 27 January 2022.

Assistance for employers

As an employer, you may be able to reclaim SSP paid to your staff. To be eligible for reimbursements of up to two weeks of SSP, employees must have been unable to work due to self-isolation or being infected with coronavirus.

Learn more about SSP here:

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