Following on from our Alert last week, the government has passed emergency legislation on 17 December 2021 which temporarily extends the period for which individuals can self-certify their absence during a period of incapacity from work.
This means that employees can now self-certify their absence for Statutory Sick Pay (‘SSP’) purposes for 28 days, inclusive of non-work days, as opposed to the usual 7 days. This extended self-certification period has been put into place as a temporary measure in an attempt to relieve some of the pressures which GPs are inevitably going to face over the weeks to come. Employers will now only require a Statement of Fitness to Work from an employee’s GP from day 29 of an employee’s absence.
These new regulations apply to any period of absence which took place during the 7 days prior to 17 December 2021 and for periods of sickness absence from 17 December 2021 – 26 January 2022, inclusive.
It is not yet clear whether the government will look to extend this beyond the 26 January 2022; however, employers may want to consider communicating this temporary change in regulations to their employees.
The amount of SSP payable by an employer remains at £96.35 per week for up to 28 weeks. The most recent communication from the government in terms of reclaiming SSP for Covid-19 related absence is that the scheme will be reintroduced and employers can make retrospective claims from mid-January 2022. Further guidance on this will be made available as soon as possible.
We will of course endeavour to provide a further update on this once the information has become available.
If you have any queries relating to sickness absence or any other Employment Law or HR queries, please do not hesitate to contact our Employment team on 01228 552600 or 01524 548494.