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Self-Isolation Rules, Right to Work & SSP Rebate Scheme

Changes to self-isolation rules

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that those self-isolating with coronavirus can end their isolation period after 7 days, providing they don’t have a fever and record 2 negative lateral flow tests (no earlier than day 6 and a second test at least 24 hours later).   There are specific requirements so please read the full guidance available at Coronavirus (COVID-19): Self-isolation guidance for individuals with possible coronavirus infection | NHS inform (note that gov.scot info on self-isolation now signposts to NHS Inform).    Please note, if an employee was told to self-isolate prior to 6 January, they should continue to follow the advice given at that time.

Additionally, throughout the UK, asymptomatic individuals who return a positive lateral flow will no longer have to confirm their result with a PCR test.

Digital right to work checks made permanent

Digital right to work (RTW) checks were introduced on a temporary basis to alleviate the practical difficulties associated with completing physical checks whilst working remotely during the Coronavirus pandemic. It has now been announced that a permanent system of digital RTW checks will be put into place from 6 April 2022.

The cost of the digital right-to-work checks are set to be funded by employers, with an individual check costing between £1.45 and £70, according to the Home Office. In addition, the costs will only be applied to documents from UK nationals, while the existing free online service can still be used for applications from overseas.

Details published of the re-opened SSP Rebate Scheme

On 21 December 2021, the UK Government re-opened the Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme

The Scheme covers the cost of up to two weeks’ SSP per employee for Covid-related absences to employers with fewer than 250 employees.

Making a claim

This two-week limit will be reset so an employer will be able to claim up to two weeks per employee regardless of whether they have claimed under the previous scheme for that same employee.

The portal will be live from mid-January 2022, but employers can backdate claims for any Covid-related absences beginning on or after 21 December 2021. Whilst this is described as a temporary scheme in government guidance, no end date has been confirmed for when this scheme will close.

The previous scheme

The existing portal closed on 31 December 2021 for any absences prior to 30 September 2021. Employers will not be able to claim for the period from 1 October – 20 December 2021 inclusive as there was no scheme in operation during that time.

Record keeping

Employers must keep the following records for three years from the date they receive payment for their claim:

  • The dates the employee was off sick
  • Which of those days were qualifying days
  • The reason they said they were off work due to Covid (e.g. positive test/isolation instruction)
  • The employee’s National Insurance number​​​​

Further guidance to be published

Under the previous SSP Rebate scheme, the waiting days were suspended for Covid-related absences to enable employers to pay SSP from the first qualifying day of sickness.  It is anticipated that this rule will continue when the scheme re-opens in January 2022, but further guidance is awaited on this point.

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