Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the government will reimburse employers with up to 250 employees for any statutory sick pay that they pay to employees off sick due to the coronavirus for the first 14 days of absence.
This temporary measure aims to support small and medium-sized employers so that they can weather the now inevitable impact that coronavirus will have on the UK's workforce. Indeed, the Chancellor went further to pledge that all employees who are required to self-isolate will be entitled to statutory sick pay, even if they do not have symptoms. In addition, he confirmed that the government will help millions of gig economy workers, including those on zero hours contracts and the self-employed, through a £500 million boost to the benefits system.
Whilst the full scale of the challenge remains to be seen, the Chancellor estimates that the cost of reimbursing statutory sick pay for small and medium-sized employers will come with a price tag of £2 billion and help up to two million businesses.
The government will refund the cost of statutory sick pay for up to 14 days to small- and medium-sized businesses at a cost of £2bn.