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 31 March 2022

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
  • ancillary staff in large ‘hostel’ type supported accommodation, with large communal areas and catering arrangements

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
Absences covered by this scheme

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

  1. Undertaking a PCR test and awaiting results due to
  • symptoms of COVID-19
  • a person you reside with having symptoms of COVID-19
  • being identified as a contact by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect or via the app, where you are fully vaccinated
  1. Self-isolating due to
  • testing positive for COVID-19
  • being identified as a contact by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service or via the app, where you are not fully vaccinated
  1. Your employer requires you to stay off work because you were identified as a contact by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service or via the app and:
  • you are living with the person who has tested positive for COVID-19, your employer cannot redeploy you to non-service user facing duties and you are fully vaccinated
  • you are working with people who are immunosuppressed and/or are clinically extremely vulnerable (external website). Your employer cannot redeploy you away from work with this group and you are fully vaccinated.

The payment is payable from the first day of absence and continues for the maximum period of 10 days (the current period of self-isolation). The duration of absence will often be less than 10 days due to the calculation of ‘day one’. In many instances it will often be a very brief period awaiting a test result to allow a return to work. You are expected to seek a COVID-19 test as quickly as possible.

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.

What payment you get

You are eligible for payment for the absences outlined in this guidance if you would otherwise receive only SSP or no income at all.

You are not eligible for this scheme if you will receive full pay when taking time off for the COVID-19 related absences outlined in this guidance

You will be eligible for this scheme if the period for which full pay is provided is limited and is less than outlined in this guidance.

Absences not covered by this scheme

You are not eligible if you are taking time off work for one of the following reasons:

  • you need to self-isolate following foreign travel due to not being fully vaccinated
  • undertaking a PCR test and any further absence due to returning from an Amber list country, where you are fully vaccinated
  • you are unwell due to another illness. In this situation, the SSP enhanced payment will stop when negative test COVID-19 result received
  • you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are not well enough to return to work when the self-isolation period expires. The SSP Enhancement scheme will stop and your income will reduce to what it normally is when you take sick leave.
  • you have childcare or carer responsibilities, even where this relates to COVID-19
  • you cannot work due to being assessed as high risk using the All Wales COVID -19 workforce risk assessment tool or advised by a GP or hospital doctor to self-isolate 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)

Cross border issues

If you work for a care home in Wales, you are eligible for the scheme (wherever you live).

If you work in a care home outside of Wales, you are not eligible for the scheme (wherever you live).

If you work for a domiciliary care agency registered in Wales and are providing care for people in Wales, you are eligible for the scheme.

If you work for a domiciliary care agency not registered in Wales, you are not eligible for the scheme.

Personal Assistants must be providing care and support for a person who is receiving direct payments from a Welsh local authority.

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, 26KB)

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)