Government confirms that forthcoming legislation to make SSP payable from day one for people affected by the coronavirus will apply retrospectively from 13 March 2020
The DWP has set out the range of measures it will put into place to support employees and claimants affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
In 'Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses', the DWP confirms temporary arrangements previously announced for those who are either infected by the virus or advised to self-isolate, including in relation to employees that -
- people who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for statutory sick pay will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness, with the change to apply retrospectively from 13 March 2020;
- statutory sick pay will be payable to people who are staying at home on government advice, not just those who are infected, from 13 March 2020, with employers being urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for;
- if employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from the NHS 111 Online instead of having to get a fit note from their doctor (although this is currently under development and will be 'made available soon');
- self-employed claimants on universal credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a minimum income floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected.
In addition, in relation to existing benefit claimants, the government confirms that -
- disabled and sick claimants who cannot attend a reassessment for personal independence payment (PIP), employment and support allowance ESA or universal credit will continue to receive their payments while their assessment is rearranged;
- people who need to claim ESA or universal credit because of coronavirus will not be required to produce a fit note;
- when claimants tell the DWP 'in good time' that they are staying at home or that they have been diagnosed with coronavirus, they will not be sanctioned but will instead have their conditionality requirements in their claimant commitment reviewed to ensure they are reasonable; and
- claimants who are staying at home as a result of coronavirus will have their mandatory work search and work availability requirements removed to account for a period of sickness.
Finally, in relation to new benefit claimants, the government confirms that -
- those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for universal credit and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a jobcentre; and
- the seven waiting days for ESA for new claimants will not apply if they are suffering from coronavirus or are required to stay at home – so it will be payable from day one
For more information, see Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses from gov.uk