Statutory sick pay – hints and tips

Where an employee is absent from work due to sickness or accident for at least four consecutive days (including weekends) he or she forms a period of incapacity for work (PIW).

SSP is paid in respect of qualifying days, which are generally the days which an employee is expected to work.

The first three qualifying days in a PIW do not qualify for SSP.

On the fourth and subsequent days, the employee should be paid SSP.

The current rate is £95.85 per week.

If entitled, this rate is irrespective of the hours worked per week and should not be pro-rata’d for part-time employees.

If however, you have to find a daily rate, you need to pro-rata this by the number of days worked.

If an employee is sent home part way through a day, this is not classed a sick day.

It is not until the following full day that they are off due to sickness that is classed as a qualifying day, as it was their intention to come into work.

One or more PIWs can be linked to form a single period if they are separated by no more than 56 days.

This means that no waiting days have to be served at the beginning of the second period.

Employees are not eligible for SSP in certain circumstances, the principle reasons being as follows:

  • If their earnings are below the lower earnings level, which is currently £120 per week.
  • They have done no work at all under the contract.
  • They have been paid SSP for 28 weeks in any PIW, whether linked or not.

If an employee has two contracts with two separate employers they can claim sick pay from each employer.

Where an employee is excluded from entitlement to SSP they should be given a form SSP1.

The statutory minimum holiday entitlement continues to accrue for those off sick, therefore if an employee is dismissed on the grounds of ill health capability, the employee is still entitled to payment to reflect the holiday leave that has accrued but remains untaken.

Employees who have been off sick and therefore unable to take their holidays are entitled to carry over their holiday entitlement to the following year, but this right applies only to the four weeks’ minimum entitlement as specified in the Working Time Directive.

Carried over leave must be taken within 18 months from the end of the leave year in which it accrued.

Where employees have been on sick leave and are returning to work on a phased basis, if SSP has not been exhausted, an employee is entitled to receive full pay on days that they are at work and SSP for the days which they are still off.

Employees can qualify for sick pay from more than one job or can qualify for one job but still work in another job.

Coronavirus eligibility

Employees will qualify for SSP if they meet the criteria and cannot work if:

  • They are self-isolating because they or someone they live with has symptoms of coronavirus.
  • They are shielding.
  • They are self-isolating because they were notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus.
  • They are self-isolating because someone in their support bubble (or extended household in Scotland or Wales) but not their own household had symptoms or tested positive for coronavirus.
  • They have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • They are self-isolating because they have been advised to do so by a doctor or healthcare professional before going into hospital for surgery.

Employees will not qualify for SSP if they are self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK, and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason.

SSP in these circumstances is payable from the first ‘qualifying day’ an employee is off work, as long as they are off for at least 4 days in a row so there is no qualifying period.

This includes non-working days.

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