SSP and shielding

12 August 2020

We reported the news that, from 1 August 2020, any employees who were shielding would no longer be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as those who were previously advised to shield could return to work from this date, providing that their workplace was Covid-secure. However, GOV.UK guidance seems to provide conflicting information on this point.

Some of the available guidance actually still cites shielding as a reason for payment of SSP.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP):

“You also get SSP if you’re taking extra precautions because you’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (known as ‘shielding’).”

However, other guidance seems to suggest otherwise.

Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19:

“As of 1 August, you are no longer eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) on the basis of being advised to shield by the government. Your employer should help you to transition back to work safely and support you to maintain good hand hygiene and distancing practice in your workplace if you are unable to work from home.”

 In order to clarify the definite position on this fact, contact was made with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who confirmed that shielding is still grounds for payment of SSP in areas in which local lockdown is being imposed. At a national level it is paused, and not stopped completely, so eligibility for SSP for anybody shielding does exist, but in a very targeted way at the moment.

The DWP, in conjunction with HMRC, will update guidance to provide further clarity shortly.

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.