To help employers affected by the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate scheme for small employers is being reintroduced. In addition, the period for which an employee can self-certify a sickness absence is increased temporarily from seven days to 28 days.

SSP Rebate Scheme

The SSP rebate scheme for small employers allowed employers who had fewer than 250 employees on their payroll on 28 February 2020 to reclaim up to two weeks’ SSP per employee in respect of Coronavirus absences.

Normally, employers must meet the cost of any SSP paid to an employee in full. The original scheme applied in respect of Coronavirus absences prior to 30 September 2021, with a deadline for making rebate claims of 31 December 2021.

Help for Employers

To help employers affected by staff absences as a result of the surge in COVID-19 cases following the emergence of the Omicron variant, the SSP rebate scheme for small employers is being resurrected. You will be able to use the scheme if you are based in the UK and you had a PAYE scheme with fewer than 250 employees as of 30 November 2021.

As previously, you will be able to claim back the cost of up to two weeks’ SSP paid to an employee for Coronavirus-related absences. The claim period is being reset; consequently, a claim can be made in respect of SSP paid to an employee, regardless of whether a claim was made under the original scheme.

Claims under the resurrected scheme can be made retrospectively from mid-January 2022.


The period for which an employee is able to self-certify an absence for SSP purposes has been increased temporarily from seven days to 28 days. This means that rather than needing a Fit Note from a GP for absences of more than seven days, employees will only need a Fit Note once they have been absent for 28 days. This will reduce the pressure on GPs.

Regulations have been introduced to give statutory effect to the relaxation, which applies for periods of sickness which begin on or after 17 December 2021 and end on or before 26 January 2022. Thereafter, the self-certification period will revert to seven days.

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