Thursday, 24 December 2020

Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement for Welsh Care Staff

It is a known fact that Coronavirus has created havoc around the world. Governments of various countries are providing some of the other relaxations or benefits for its citizens in this pandemic situation. To support the care workers, the Welsh Government has come with an enhancement scheme which will help in providing funds to the employers to pay eligible workers at full pay if they cannot work due to COVID-19. 

The scheme is known as statutory sick pay enhancement scheme which will support care workers who only receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) when absent and are not eligible for SSP. This scheme runs until March 2021.

The reason for absence from the work should be any one of the following:

  • A person must be tested positive.
  • A person must be having symptoms of COVID-19.
  • A member of the household has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19 because of which you have taken time off work.
  • A person is self-isolating because he/she is being identified as a contact by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service.

The ultimate aim of this scheme is to support the person who is in need and help in funding, which enables employers to pay eligible workers at full pay if they cannot work due to COVID-19. The employer pays the employee their full salary and informs the local authority about the details of the employee’s NI number, pay, absence dates and category of absence. The difference between the value of SSP and the employee’s usual full pay is the value of enhancement payment. The employer will get reimbursement from local authority through monthly payments, or more frequently if required.

Eligibility Criteria:

To get eligible for this scheme, an individual must be:

  • An employee of registered care home and domiciliary care service.
  • An agency care worker or agency nurse.
  • Bank or pool staff who was booked to undertake a series of shifts.
  • Contracted staff who provides essential services. For example, catering in care homes and having substantial contact with residents.
  • A Personal Assistant who was getting paid through direct payments.

The below-mentioned points highlight if an employer pays full pay for sickness:

  • An individual is not eligible for this scheme if he/she receives full pay when taking time off for COVID-19 related absences.
  • An individual will be eligible for this scheme only if the period for which full payment is provided is limited and he/she has exceeded this.
  • If an employer does not pay full payment for this period, an individual will be eligible for the first few days of absence.
  • If full payment is not provided during a probationary period, the person will be eligible for this scheme.

A person is not eligible for statutory sick pay enhancement payments, if:

  • He/she has a childcare or carer responsibilities, even if schools or day services have closed due to COVID-19
  • Due to foreign travel, he/she need to be in quarantine.
  • He/she is unable to work because of being assessed as high risk using the All Wales COVID -19 a workforce risk assessment tool.
  • A GP or hospital doctor has advised him/her to self-isolate as a precaution before or after a medical procedure.

Therefore, keeping all the above points in mind, we can come to the conclusion that a person will be eligible for the scheme only if he/she receives SSP when off sick or is not eligible for SSP.

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