Alongside his announcement regarding grants for businesses in the Entertainment and Leisure sector, the Chancellor also stated that the Treasury was reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
This means that SMEs – businesses with fewer than 250 employees – will be able to claim back money from the government to cover the statutory sick pay that is paid to employees off with Covid. Statutory sick pay (SSP) is currently £96.35 which is paid by employers for each week an employee is off sick.
With over 90 thousand new cases reported on Monday, the Omicron variant means that many workplaces have stated that over half their employees are off sick with COVID. David Page, chairman of Fulham Shore, which runs pizza chain Franca Manca and the Real Greek restaurants, reported that only ten out of the firm’s 80 outlets are open for delivery because of huge numbers of staff off with COVID. This is a major concern for those companies struggling to afford sick pay, especially those in hard hit sectors such as the entertainment and leisure industry where staff simply can’t work from home.
The previous scheme had ended on 30 September of this year as cases lowered but has now been re-introduced as a series of measures from the government to support businesses.