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12 January, 2021 Open access

DWP Minister summarises recent changes to SSP entitlement rules designed to support workers affected by Covid-19 pandemic

However, Justin Tomlinson fails to confirm whether Secretary of State is considering an increase in the payment rate in response to the outbreak

DWP Minister for Disability, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson has summarised changes made to statutory sick pay (SSP) entitlement rules to support workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In response to a written question in the House of Commons yesterday, on whether the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions will raise the level of SSP to protect people affected by the outbreak, Mr Tomlinson failed to give a direct answer but, instead, summarised the steps the government has taken to strengthen support for employees who are unable to work due to Covid-19.

In particular, in relation to changes to SSP entitlement rules, Mr Tomlinson said -

‘Individuals are eligible for SSP, from day one - rather than day four, where they are unable to work because they are -

  • sick, displaying symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus;
  • self-isolating because they, or someone in their household (including an extended or linked household), is displaying symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus;
  • self-isolating because they have been notified by the NHS or public health authority that they have come into contact with someone who has coronavirus.;
  • self-isolating because they have been advised to do so by their doctor or health clinician before being admitted to hospital for planned or elective surgery;
  • shielding because they live or work in an area where shielding is reintroduced and they have been advised to do so by their doctor or health authority ...'

NB - updated guidance on on shielding, that includes guidance for people advised to shield in Tier 4 areas in England from 20 December 2020, advises that shielders should not attend work, and that shielding letters will act as evidence for SSP (or employment and support allowance) purposes.

Mr Tomlinson’s written answer is available from