Who qualifies for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
To be eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay an employee must:
- be earning an average of at least the Lower Earnings Limit (or LEL) - please refer to the Rates and Thresholds page for the current rate, and
- have been sick or injured for at least four or more days in a row, and
- inform their employer that they are sick or injured.
Average earnings are calculated using the employee's earnings in the eight weeks before their sickness began. SSP can be paid for up to 28 weeks in a year.
When does SSP begin?
Statutory Sick Pay is paid from the fourth day of sickness. The three preceding days are known as 'waiting days' and SSP is not payable during this time. Each of the qualifying days must be days normally worked. For example, if an employee works Monday to Friday, then sickness over the weekend will not count towards any of the waiting days.
Some employers may chose to operate an enhanced sick pay scheme where, for example, they pay the employee during the three waiting days or pay above the current SSP rate. Details of sick pay entitlement should be included in an employment contract.
How much is SSP?
There is a standard weekly rate for SSP - please refer to the Rates and Thresholds page for the current Statutory Sick Pay rate.
If an employee has more than one job, they may qualify for SSP from each employer provided they earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) in each job.
During the first seven days of sickness an employer may ask their employee to complete a self-certificate or employee statement of sickness. From the eighth day of sickness, an employer can request medical evidence, such a a doctor's note which will state whether the employee is fit for work or not.
Changes to the law from 6 April 2014
From the start of the tax year 2014/15, The Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS) which allowed, in certain circumstances, employers to recover SSP has been abolished. Employers will no longer be to reclaim SSP although recovery of unclaimed SSP for previous tax years may be possible for a limited period. In replacement of the PTS, the government have announced they will be moving the funding into a new scheme as part of the cross-government Health, Work and Wellbeing Initiative. Under this new scheme, which is expected to launch in 2015, help will be made available to employees who have been incapacitated for four weeks or more, to get them back to work.
Introducing an incentive
Offering an incentive is not a legal requirement but because domestic employers are so dependent on their employees coming to work an increasing number now offer an incentive instead. An incentive can be a Friday afternoon off, a voucher or a meal at a local restaurant. If you decide to offer an incentive make sure you include the terms in the employment contract.