Statutory Sick Pay – what are the rules?
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is paid for up to 28 weeks but if there is a gap of more than 8 weeks between periods of sickness the clock is re-set and there is a fresh entitlement to 28 weeks.
SSP has some complex rules, but the key facts are:
- SSP is currently payable by the employer at £94.25 per week
- To be eligible for SSP an employee generally needs to have weekly earnings of not less than the Lower Earnings Limit (currently £118) based on the previous eight weeks
- In order for SSP to be payable, the employee must have a Period of Incapacity to Work (PIW).
- A PIW is defined as a period when an employee is absent from work due to illness for four or more consecutive calendar days (whether or not those would otherwise be working days). So, where an employee is off sick for less than four or more consecutive calendar days, SSP is not payable.
- SSP is only paid for qualifying days (QDs). These are the days that the employee is off sick but would normally work – usually their contracted working days.
- SSP is not payable for the first 3 QDs in a PIW– these are called Waiting days (WDs).
- So, for example an employee contracted to work Monday to Friday, goes off sick on a Friday. If he is still sick on the Monday, there is a PIW and sick pay is payable after 3 QDs in that period. His 3 Waiting Days are his contractual days, i.e. the Friday, Monday and Tuesday and so SSP would be payable from the Wednesday.
- SSP is then payable throughout the Period of Incapacity for Work (PIW) for up to 28 weeks in respect of every QD.
- There is an exception to the rule that SSP is not payable for the first 3 QDs of a PIW if the absence is a “linked” period of absence. This occurs when an employee is off sick, returns to work and is then off sick again within a short period. If the return to work lasts less than eight weeks (56 days) it is disregarded – and the employee does not have to wait another three days before being entitled to SSP. Odd days of sickness do not form a PIW and so cannot link and an employee will no longer be eligible for SSP if they have a continuous series of linked periods that lasts more than 3 years (even if they haven’t exhausted the 28 week entitlement).
- If a PIW is not linked to previous PIWs (because it is more than eight weeks since the last PIW) then the clock is “reset”, and SSP entitlement will start again. A sick employee could effectively use up their 28 weeks’ SSP entitlement, come back to work for just over 8 weeks, and qualify for a further 28 weeks’ SSP if they fall sick again.
This is an information note only, but please do not hesitate contact us on our advice line if we can assist you further.
In giving comment and advice in the article, we do not assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. If you have specific views which you wish to discuss, we would be pleased to assist you.