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Minister outlines recent changes to Statutory Sick Pay entitlement rules

13 January 2021

In answer to a written parliamentary question, the Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson has outlined recent changes made to statutory sick pay (SSP) entitlement rules.

Mr Tomlinson said:

“Individuals are eligible for SSP, from day one - rather than day fourr - 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 ...”

 The Minister did not give an answer as to a question as to whether the Government  intends to raise the level of SSP.

Updated Government advice 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 the purposes of SSP or ESA.

The Minister's written answer of 11 January 2021 is available from parliament.uk  


Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable have again been advised to shield following the Prime Minister's announcement on the National Lockdown (4th January 2021). This advice is now confirmed in the Government Guidance on Shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid 19 (updated 07/01/2021). These formal shielding measures apply across the whole of England during the period of the national lockdown which came into effect on 5th January 2021 and expected to last until 21st February 2021.

In addition the letter to clinically extremely vulnerable people has now been updated (08/01/2021) to reflect the new lockdown.

The clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home, and if unable to do so should not attend work.  As they are unable to work the guidance confirms they may be eligible to be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Schem which has been extended until the end of April 2021, or to SSP or ESA.

The Shielding Guidance also provides that clinically extremely vulnerable children and young people should not attend school or other educational establishments. 

HM Treasury Guidance published on 8th January 2021 provides a Summary of existing economic support during coronavirus that:

  • brings together guidance from a variety of other sources
  • includes information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • Support for businesses
  • Support plan for jobs for the unemployed
  • Support for low income families, and 
  • Extra discretionary funding for local authorities to support businesses