Statutory Sick Pay
To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) an employee must fulfil the following criteria:
- Have an employment contract (once an employee accepts a job offer, they are deemed to have an employment contract; it does not have to be a written contract)
- Have been sick for 4 or more days consecutively
- Earn an average of at least £118 per week in 2019-2020 (or the Lower Earnings Level applicable for the year)
- Give you the correct notification (as laid down in your terms of employment or contract)
- Give you a Fit Note if they are off for more than 7 days
Statutory Sick Pay is the minimum that you have to pay an employee who is absent through sickness. Some employers choose to pay their employees full salary for a certain amount of illness during the year. Again, this should be clearly set out in your employment contracts. In this instance, it is good practice to show any applicable SSP and then make up to the usual salary. Just Simply Organised can help with this when we run your payroll – you just need to let us know the dates that the employee was sick and unable to work and we can calculate the SSP due and show on their payslip, making up to the full salary if required.
Holiday continues to accrue while an employee is off sick and you can come to an agreement for them to take some annual leave during their period of sickness if they wish. It is also possible that an employee on annual leave could fall ill, in which case SSP rules apply.
Please be aware that the continuous sick pay period does include weekends and bank holidays. It is worth noting that if an employee is off sick, then comes into work for a short while but has to go home unwell again on that day, the day where they did some work (this could be as little as a few minutes) does not qualify for SSP.
To protect both the employer and the employee, it is worth having a comprehensive sickness policy as part of your contracts. Due to the complexity of the rules concerning SSP, Just Simply Organised would always recommend seeking professional HR advice.
The maximum duration of SSP payable is 28 weeks; if an employee has a long-term health problem and their entitlement to SSP is likely to end before their sickness does, then you will need to give them form SSP1 on or before the beginning of the 23rd week of absence.
Likewise this form is used if an employee does not qualify for SSP within 7 days of their absence.
Linked periods of sickness
If an employee is regularly off sick, the absences may count as “linked” for SSP purposes, even if they are not all for the same illness. To be linked, each period of absence must:
- Last for 4 days or more
- Be 8 weeks apart or less
In this instance, the employee would no longer be eligible for SSP if they have a continuous series of linked periods lasting for more than 3 years.
Employees receiving SMP do not receive SSP; there are special rules for pregnant women and new mothers.
This gives you an overview of Statutory Sick Pay entitlement; Just Simply Organised would always recommend that you seek some specific HR advice if you have any employees with long term health issues or periods of sickness or have any other queries regarding your employees’ eligibility for SSP.
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