From 1 April 2021, SSP will no longer be payable to individuals who are shielding

29 March 2021

The Department of Health & Social Care recently issued a letter to all individuals on the Shielded Patient List, which provided updated guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people, to take effect from 1 April 2021.

The letter advises that, as of 1 April 2021, people will no longer be eligible for either Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) solely on the basis of being instructed to shield. Individuals may, however, be eligible for SSP or ESA if they are sick or unable to work, either due to coronavirus or wider health reasons, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

As of 16 April 2020, employers could start to pay SSP from the first qualifying day that an employee was off work, where they were ‘shielding’ due to coronavirus, as opposed to from the fourth qualifying day. This arrangement will, however, soon come to an end.

It was confirmed at the Spring Budget 2021 that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended, to now close on 30 September 2021. Individuals previously advised to shield may remain eligible for the CJRS and can be placed on furlough if their employer agrees.

Please note that, at the time of writing, employers must only pay SSP to employees for shielding if they live in Scotland. Shielding has stopped in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.