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SSP Changes......who knew?

(12 Posts)
GillT57 Thu 03-Apr-14 10:42:01

Did anyone spot the SSP changes slipped in under the radar at the budget? I am just starting to close down this tax year and open the new, and with effect from 6th April 2014, employers will no longer be able to offset the cost of SSP against tax and nic payments to HMRC.shock I have just called Federation of Small Business helpline and waiting for a call back. One of my staff ( thankfully returned fit and well this week) has been off for 10 weeks after surgery on her shoulder, so if something like this happens again I will have to pay around £90 a week SSP and not get it back, as well as paying for temporary staff to cover the absence. This seems very unfair, and I wondered if any other small business owners/employers on here were aware of it? I am happy to pay SSP, just would like some of it re-imbursed.

Galen Thu 03-Apr-14 11:32:40

Heard about it on the radio yesterday when they were discussing nannies

janerowena Thu 03-Apr-14 11:35:06

shock That's really tough on small employers! That is very sneaky.

GillT57 Thu 03-Apr-14 11:49:55

That's how I heard about it galen, my DH mentioned hearing about it on Radio 4, a programme I had missed. I dismissed it, thought perhaps it was just to do with people employing staff in their home such as nannies. But, I had a look online, and it is true. Just spoke to FSB (Federation of Small Business) and they confirmed. Could be a real problem for me. Over the past 2 months for example, I have one member of staff on maternity leave and being paid SMP and two others off with surgery and associated recovery/physiotherapy. It was costing me just short of £300 per week to pay the statutory benefits which caused cash flow problems but at least I knew I could claim it back. The government argument is that the money saved will be used to administer a scheme whereby if a staff member is off for more than 4 weeks they can be referred to a board who will asses their fitness for work. This is grossly unfair and insulting as it infers that anybody off that long is swinging the lead, or their GP is dishonest, and I would not insult any of my staff by insisting on such a referral. I truly despair, as more and more things which should be provided by the state, i.e. sickness benefits, are being dumped on small employers, apart of course from those who employ staff illegally and pay cash. The only way for an employer to avoid liability for SSP ( and I emphasise that I am not trying to dodge responsibility) is to pay everyone below the lower earnings limit. i.e if I changed all my staff to contracts with fewer hours than they do at the moment, so how is that fair to staff? Yet another money saving scheme which has not been thought out properly. angry

janeainsworth Thu 03-Apr-14 14:37:21

Yes Gill I heard it on Money box on R4 yesterday, and thought I must have misheard.
I'm sure it will be the last straw for some if not many small employers.
I wonder if it is cost effective, or possible, to take out insurance against having to pay SSP?
It's hard to believe that a Government that claims to encourage small businesses, and believes that SMEs are the backbone of the country, has brought this one in.

GillT57 Thu 03-Apr-14 17:07:16

It is unbelievable and will discriminate against potential employees with existing health conditions. Employers are going to be wary of taking somebody on to the payroll who is potentially going to cost them money. For example, my staff member who has been off for 10 weeks has an existing medical condition which necessitates treatment and a week off recuperating twice a year. I employed her knowing this, quite happy to accommodate and we plan ahead for her absences, and I will continue to do so, BUT if another potential employee came for an interview and disclosed an existing medical condition, quite frankly I wouldn't employ them. It is going to be unfair and discriminatory to employees. What about people trying to get back into work after having cancer? Or people with asthma or depression who could be off for weeks? Yet another stupid ill considered action by our stupid government.angry

Mishap Thu 03-Apr-14 17:18:10

I have googled it and cannot find the details, so if anyone has a link I would be very grateful if they could let me know. My DD and her OH run a small business and employ another of my DDs, who I predict will probably go for a second pregnancy at some point. I just wonder what position they might find themselves in - I would have one DD on one side of the fence and another on the other!!

GillT57 Thu 03-Apr-14 18:57:51

SMP is ok so far, but if you google search on 'offset of ssp for 2014 -15 tax year you should get details. Also HMRC website for employers. When my laptop fires up again ( on battery at mo) I will find a link and post it on here.

FlicketyB Fri 04-Apr-14 09:20:46

Four weeks off work and you go before a board to assess fitness for work?!

DD was in a road accident and left half her lower right arm on the motorway. Apart from that she was fine! She spent 10 days in hospital, 3 operations including a large skin graft. We had to live with her for two months afterwards to care for her and the first fortnight was 24/7 nursing, including daily visits to hospital for dressings and wound management. 4 weeks after her accident, she still needed help with washing, dressing, and most everyday activities. She was advised not to use public transport, couldn't drive and even getting her in and out of the car without her injured arm touching or rubbing anything that might affect the skin graft was a very delicate task.

At which point the DSS would want to assess her fitness for work!!!!!

GillT57 Fri 04-Apr-14 10:11:05

FlicketyB my point exactly! My staff member who has been off for 10 weeks had planned re constructive surgery to her shoulder, massive operation involving extensive surgery and subsequent immobility and then physiotherapy. Sorry to hear about your daughter's dreadful The issue here seems to be twofold: 1. save money by making employers pick up the tab 2. treat all people off sick as if they are malingering and 'scroungers'. just about sums up what the government think of us all really.

FlicketyB Fri 04-Apr-14 14:51:02

It is also psychologically damaging. DD's accident was not her fault. She has been cleared of contributing to it in any way but she was psychologically very fragile, feeling, then, that she might have contributed to it, fearful of whether she would still be able to do her job or whether the resultant disability would be serious enough for her to be laid off. One month after the accident was far too early for her to face such an assessment.

Two months later we had a fair idea what her residual disabilty would be and it was far less than feared, her employer, when they assessed her reckoned that she could continue to do her job although the work she did would be restricted for some months, they moved heaven and earth to get all the equipment supplied and installed at home for her to become a home worker as she still was advised to avoid public transport and still couldn't face the idea of driving to and from work everyday. They had invested a lot of money training her and she is one their most highly skilled workers.

A two month assessment wouldn't have been necessary because she was back at work, but from her dining room rather than commuting to London. The hospital had told her she might be off work 6 months.

GillT57 Sun 06-Apr-14 12:27:56

Another point here: on Andrew Marr, Ian Duncan Smith was talking about measures to get people back into work and encouraging employers to take on people with disabilities. All most admirable until you realise that if the disabled person who is made to take a job subsequently has a relapse or recurrence of their illness/disability, then the employer will be paying their sick pay, not the state. Nice move there, and is surely going to make employers unwilling to take on someone, however capable, who has a history of chronic illness.