Coronavirus: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Enhancement Scheme

The Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement Scheme has been introduced by Welsh Government to allow employers to pay eligible workers at full pay if they are required to stay off work due to actual or suspected COVID-19, or because they have to self-isolate.

The closing date for this scheme is 30 September 2021

Eligibility

Eligibility for the scheme depends on:

  • your role
  • types of employment
  • reasons for absence
  • what sick pay you get
Your role

To be eligible you must be:

  • an employee of a registered care home (including children’s homes)
  • an employee of a domiciliary care service
  • support workers in emergency/temporary accommodation
  • support workers in supported housing and homelessness outreach workers 
  • support workers from supported housing schemes providing floating support in people’s homes 
  • an agency social care worker or agency nurse (with work booked in with a registered care home, domiciliary care service eligible housing support service included in scheme)
  • bank or pool staff booked to undertake a series of shifts
  • contracted staff providing daily essential services such as routine catering in care homes and having substantial contact with residents
  • a Personal Assistant paid through direct payments

If you have two jobs and both are eligible for the scheme, you may claim payments in respect of both part-time wages.

Types of employment

To be eligible you can be:

  • full-time or part-time
  • subject to a zero hours employment contract
  • subject to a permanent or temporary contract
  • working from a care agency
  • bank or pool staff
  • self-employed
Reasons for absence

You must be taking time off work for one of the following reasons:

  • having symptoms of COVID-19
  • testing positive for COVID-19
  • self-isolating due to being identified as a contact by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service
  • self-isolating because a member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19

It is important to know the latest guidance on self-isolation (external website).

The periods for which the SSP Enhancement payment is made depends on the length of self-isolation set out in current guidance, which can change. 

The enhanced payment is payable from the first day of absence and continues for the maximum periods outlined in current guidance.

You are expected to seek a COVID-19 test(external website) when you may have symptoms and return to work as soon as you can, in line with current guidance (external website).

If you have received a negative test result, you may still be too unwell to attend work, due to another illness. In this situation, the SSP enhanced payment will stop because this scheme is to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Your income for the remainder of your absence will reduce to what it normally is when you take sick leave.

If you have COVID-19, you may not be well enough to return to work after the self-isolation period has expired. The SSP Enhancement scheme will stop and your income will reduce to what it normally is when you take sick leave. This is because, although still unwell, you will not be an infection risk to others.

There is no limit on the number of times eligible employees can benefit from this scheme.

Employees should contact their manager in their usual way when they cannot come to work. You will need to provide any reasonable evidence requested by your manager, as you normally would.

What sick pay you get

You are eligible if you receive only SSP when off sick or if you are not eligible for SSP.

If your employer pays full pay for sickness absence:

  • you are not eligible for this scheme if you will receive full pay when taking time off for COVID-19 related absences
  • you will be eligible for this scheme if the period for which full pay is provided is limited and you have exceeded this
  • you will be eligible for the first few days of absence, if your employer does not pay full pay for this period
  • you will be eligible if full pay is not provided during a probationary period

You are not eligible for statutory sick pay enhancement payments if you:

  • have childcare or carer responsibilities, even if schools or day services have closed due to COVID-19
  • need to quarantine following foreign travel
  • cannot work due to being assessed as high risk using the All Wales COVID -19 workforce risk assessment tool
  • have been advised by a GP or hospital doctor to self-isolate as a precaution before or after a medical procedure

Check whether you are eligible for the COVID-19 statutory sick pay enhancement scheme for social care staff (external website)

Self-Isolation Support Payment

You may be eligible for a self-isolation support payment but you must not try to claim from the Self-Isolation Support Payment and SSP Enhancement schemes for the same absence. This will be regarded as fraud.

You can claim from separate schemes for separate absences. For example you can get the SSP enhancement payment when you are self isolating with suspected COVID-19. If you then get a positive test result you can apply for the self-isolation support scheme.

You must inform your employer immediately if you wish to apply for the Self-isolation support scheme. Your employer will stop the enhanced payment from the SSP Enhancement scheme.

There must be no overlap. This would be a duplicate payment. It is your responsibility to make sure you only apply to one scheme at a time. You must notify your employer if you plan to change from one scheme to the other.

The same process must be followed for agency staff.

How to make a claim

Either an employer or Personal Assistant paid through direct payments can make a claim for the SSP Enhancement Scheme. 

Employers

  1. The employer downloads the declaration form which should be completed by the employee and retained by the employer for at least two years, ideally before any absence from work has taken place.
  2. The employer downloads and completes the employer claim form sends it through the SSP Enhancement Scheme online form for employers by the 4th of each month (any claim forms received after the 4th of the month won’t be paid until the month after).

Personal Assistants paid through direct payments

Personal Assistants paid through direct payments will need to:

  1. Complete the declaration form to send to us. You will only need to provide us with a declaration form once.
  2. Complete the SSP Enhancement Scheme claim form for Personal Assistant paid through direct payments. You will need to complete this claim form for each absence.

Declaration form

The form is to obtain the employee’s consent to the sharing of their personal data.

Employees only need to submit one form, and this will cover any subsequent periods of absence from work.

COVID-19 SSP Enhancement Scheme: Employee declaration form (MS Word, 158KB)

Employer claim form

This form will:

  • provide the local authority with information regarding the claims
  • request funding from the local authority in accordance with the scheme
  • local authorities use this form to record additional costs to be claimed arising from the scheme due to providing cover for PA absence

COVID-19 SSP Enhancement Scheme: Employer claim form (MS Excel, 23KB)

Online forms

Employers online claim form

SSP Enhancement Scheme online claim form for employers

Personal Assistants paid through direct payments

SSP Enhancement Scheme claim form for Personal Assistant paid through direct payments

More information

Find out more about the COVID-19 statutory sick pay enhancement scheme (external website)