New Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rules for government tracing initiative

The government has launched its contact tracing service in England (similar initiatives available in the rest of the UK). The purpose of the initiative is to try and reduce the spread of Covid-19 by tracking down anyone that has been in contact with a person who tests positive for the virus and asking them to self-isolate for up to 14 days. The individuals that will be asked to self-isolate include anyone that has been in contact with the infected person within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.

How will the government support SSP?

The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) regulations have been amended to capture those who are advised to self-isolate through the contact tracing initiative. This means that anyone who is advised to self-isolate through the initiative will be deemed as incapable of working and will qualify for SSP, even if they do not present any symptoms.

Guidance issued by the government states that employees in self-isolation are entitled to SSP for every day that they are in isolation (as long as they meet the eligibility requirements). This indicates that SSP should be payable from the first day that the individual is told to self-isolate.

Although these individuals will qualify for SSP, we suggest that if they are able to successfully work from home (as many employees are already), then it would not be appropriate to stop them from doing that in favour of paying them SSP.

If you need more advice about this, please contact Katherine Maxwell on 023 8071 8094 or email