Statutory sick pay

Employees who are unable to work because of sickness or incapacity for work are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay ("SSP"). SSP is paid by the employer for up to a maximum of 28 weeks.

Employees must have worked for their employer under a contract of service. There is no qualifying period of service required for entitlement to SSP.

To be entitled to SSP the employee must have been absent from work through sickness or incapacity for at least 4 or more days in a row (including weekends and bank holidays). This is known as a Period of Incapacity for Work ("PIW"). The employee must also earn, before tax and National Insurance an average of £120.00 per week per week. This is called the Lower Earnings Limit for National Insurance Contributions (NIC). To calculate this average, the weekly earnings over the 8 week period before the sickness began are used. This period may vary slightly depending on whether the employee is weekly or monthly paid, or paid at other intervals.

SSP is a daily payment and is usually paid for the days that the employee would normally work (Qualifying Days). SSP is not paid for the first three QDs, in any period of sickness unless it falls within a 'linking period'.

the current standard rate of SSP is £95.85 per week.

Linked periods of incapacity for work (PIW's)
If an employee has been sick for two spells or more of at least 4 days in a row with 8 weeks or less between them, these periods of incapacity for work will be counted as one. This means that the three waiting days will not be served for the second or subsequent period of sickness.

Medical evidence
You can require an employee to complete a self-certification form or Form SC2 for any period of sickness absence. However, you may only require the employee to provide you with a doctor's certificate for absences from work of 7 days or more (inclusiv of weekends).

If an employee is receiving SSP for a pregnancy related illness at the start of or in the 4 weeks before her baby is due, SSP will stop and any entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay ("SMP") or Maternity Allowance ("MA") will start automatically.

Employees receiving SMP or MA are not entitled to receive SSP. Employees who are on Maternity Leave but who are not entitled to either SMP or MA may claim SMP 18 weeks after:
  • the Sunday of the week her baby was born; or
  • the Sunday of the week she was absent from work because of a pregnancy related illness

If you believe that your employee does not qualify for SSP you should issue him or her with Form SSP1 which may enable him or her to claim incapacity benefit.