In December of 2021 the Department for Work and Pensions made a temporary change to fit notes.
For Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), where employees go off sick on or after 10 December 2021, employers can only ask employees for proof of sickness (such as a fit note) after 28 days of sickness (including non-working days) instead of the usual 7 days.
Fit notes do not have to be provided for DWP benefit claims until 27 January. This will not affect claims to benefit.
This temporary change has been introduced to give GP’s more time to work on the Coronavirus booster programme.
Reinstatement of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS)
As an employer if your employee was off work on or before 30 September 2021 because they had Covid-19 or were self isolating you may have been able to reclaim up to 2 weeks SSP. The DWP has advised that those employers with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to retrospectively reclaim SSP again from mid-January 2022 for those employees off work from 21 December 2021 because of Covid-19. They expect to make further announcements and update their guidance in January.
Anthony Potter, Partner at Bates Weston comments:
“As Omicron increases the numbers of employees taking time off work, the reintroduction of the SSPRS will help small and medium sized employers running a PAYE payroll, by reimbursing the cost of SSP for Covid related absences for up to 2 weeks per employee.”