Employees who qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will get the current rate of £96.35 a week for a period of up to twenty eight (28) weeks.
The information in this employer guide to Statutory Sick Pay covers the eligibility criteria, the rates, and when to use fit notes and form SSP1.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a weekly amount paid to employees:
You can work out the daily rate using the Statutory Sick Pay calculator.
Important: Under UK employment law, employers cannot force their employees to take annual leave while they meet the eligibility criteria for sick leave.
Employers need to start paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) once any of their employees have been sick for at least four (4) consecutive days (includes non-working days).
Any day that an employee works for at least one (1) minute - and then goes home sick - will not count as a sick day.
The second day is the day that counts as a sick day in situations where an employee works a shift that finishes on the day after it started if they become sick during the actual shift or after it ends.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) would end when an employee returns to work or in circumstances where they no longer qualify (see details below).
No matter how long employees take off work, their entitlement to holiday leave will accrue while they are off work sick. Hence, they have the right to request 'annual leave' at the same time as sick leave.
To reclaim SSP, employers must keep records of any Statutory Sick Pay paid to any employees who have been taking time off work due to the coronavirus outbreak (not required for other illnesses).
Employers need to keep records of these particular SSP payments for a period of three (3) tax years, showing:
Note: Keeping records of absence from work by employees due to sickness is not mandatory. But, HMRC may ask to see any records kept in cases of SSP payment disputes.
Employers must pay SSP to any of their employees who are off work for at least four (4) days and have coronavirus symptoms, or (either):
You would need to pay them from the first 'qualifying day' that they take off work - either on or after:
Most employers can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to each employee (up to £96.35 a week) due to coronavirus (COVID-19) if (all):
The GOV.UK website explains more about business support for those affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United Kingdom.
Note: Some employers offer sick pay rates above the minimum amount through company schemes (e.g. contractual or occupational). Another section explains how Statutory Sick Pay for employees works.
To meet the eligibility criteria for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for one or more jobs, employees must:
In certain cases, employees can qualify for SSP in one job, but be fit for work in a different one. An example is being unable to do physical work for one job but being capable of doing office-based work in another.
The sick pay calculator allows employers to work out the SSP rate for employees who qualify but have less than eight (8) weeks of earnings.
Note: According to employee holiday entitlement rights, taking annual leave does not interrupt their period of incapacity for work.
SSP exceptions apply to all employees once they have received the maximum amount available (e.g. 28 weeks) or in situations where they:
In some cases, employees can connect regular periods of time of work as 'linked periods of sickness'. To do so, they must:
Important: To qualify for SSP, a continuous series of linked periods must not go beyond a period of three (3) years.
Employers must use SSP1 form when their employee is not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or in situations when their SSP is ending. Doing so will support their application for:
In cases where an employee's claim for SSP is coming to an end, employers must send them form SSP1 (either):
Note: Form SSP1 also informs employees how to make an appeal to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if they feel they have been treated 'unfairly' by their employer.
Employers can choose to complete form SSP1 before SSP ends (e.g. if an employee will be off sick for more than 28 weeks). Doing so allows them to apply for Employment and Support Allowance before it actually finishes.
Unless you have an agreed time limit with your employee, they should tell you about their sickness within seven (7) days. Even so, employers cannot:
Note: Employers do not have to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to employees who give late notice - unless they provide a valid reason for the delay.
What if your employee is shielding because of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19)? The time limit for telling employees would depend on when they received their letter telling them to stay at home (e.g. from a GP or the NHS).
Employees should tell their employer that they are shielding no later than the 23rd of April 2020 if they got their letter before the 16th of April.
They should tell their employer within the agreed time limit or within seven (7) days if they received a letter since the 16th of April 2020.
Employers can ask employees for proof of sickness once they have taken seven (7) days off sick (including non-working days). In most cases, this will be (any):
Employers can also accept an Allied Health Professional (AHP) Health and Work report (e.g. from a podiatrist, physiotherapist, or occupational therapist).
Note: You cannot withhold SSP if an employee is late sending you a fit note or isolation note. HMRC has further guidance on assessing employee fitness to work.
As a rule, employers can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if their employee is taking time off work due to the coronavirus disease.
HM Revenue and Customs pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to employees who continue working after being sick when a company becomes insolvent. These employees can get further guidance from:
Statutory Payment Disputes Team
Telephone: 03000 560 630
Information on call charges
Note: You should use form SSP1 to terminate a contract if their sickness continues so they can make a claim Employment and Support Allowance.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Employer Guide for United Kingdom