[Updated Wed 10th December 2014]
Statutory Sick Pay - sometimes called Statutory Sickness Benefits - is paid to any employee who is not able to work owing to sickness. Your employer has to pay it to you for up to 28 weeks - the weekly rate is £87.55. That is a set rate for the government's SSP - you cannot be paid less than that - or more.
It does not matter how much you are normally paid, SSP is set at that figure. If your employer pays you less - or more by way of this sick pay, they are breaking the law. It is possible that your employer has their own sickness payment scheme in addition to or instead of the government's scheme. If so, you should have been made aware of that at the time of your employment, or in any updating of your conditions of work.
That is the law. It does not matter what type of illness you have. If you cannot work because of it, then you are entitled to SSP - Statutory Sick Pay - Sickness Benefit -providing that you are eligible. (Updated 9th December 2014). You can also get SSP if you are sick whilst on holiday from work.
First Three Days
You will not get paid SSP for the first three days of any sickness period, unless you have already been claiming SSP at some other time in the previous 8 weeks and you now find that you are sick again.
Not Eligible or SSP ending.
If for any reason you are not eligible for SSP, then you should be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance. This is also the case if you are still sick after the 28 weeks SSP period. You will need the SSP1 form from your employer to be able to do this. Be prepared if for instance you are in week 23 or week 24 and still expect to be off sick after the statutory 28 weeks.
The conditions for being able to be paid SSP are quite straightforward.
- You must be working for your employer with a proper contract of service - contract of employment. If this is the case, from day 1 - you are entitled to SSP if you are unable to work because of any sickness problem.
- You must tell your Employer that you are sick. There are time limits and ways to do this, and these should have been in your contract of service. If not then you must report within 7 days.
- Inform your employee with a statement of sickness form
- You must be sick for at least 4 consecutive days - this included weekends and bank holidays. So if you 'go sick' on the Friday, then the Saturday and Sunday also count as consecutive days.
- Your gross income for the previous 8 weeks, will have to averaged ВЈ110.00 per week. If you have just started your job, then your employer will explain to you how the calculation is made. There may be a slight difference of the 8 week timing, dependent upon whether you are paid weekly or monthly.
- If you have two jobs - or maybe three (!) you may be entitled to SSP at each job - depends upon your contract.
- You cannot get sacked by your employer because you claim SSP.
- If you are an agency worker, you are still entitled to SSP.
- If you are sick whilst on strike because of a union strike, you will not get Statutory Sick Pay.
- If you are in jail - or otherwise detained in legal custody, you will not get SSP Sickness benefits
- There are several reasons why your SSP can be stopped by your employer.
How do I get SSP? How to Claim SSP
SSP is paid on a daily basis, and paid for the days you would normally work. This may include some weekend days if that is part of your contract of employment. The SSP Sickness Benefit is NOT paid for the first three days of any absence from working. If you are off work for two periods of more than four days in any eight weeks, then there is no 'waiting period' for the second period of sickness.
Rate of SSP From April 6th 2014 to 5th April 2015, the weekly rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP sickness benefits) is set at ВЈ87.55. It will be worked out by your employer on a daily basis - taking into account your normal working days in the week. The week starts on Sundays for SSP.
- Tell your employer that you are sick and unable to work, as soon as possible.
- Your employer may have rules - set out in your contract of employment - on how you are to tell them. For instance, it may be by telephone, or perhaps in writing. Find out from your employer as soon as possible about how to claim SSP you should notify of absence of work through sickness.
- You do NOT have to tell your employer in person - ie by turning up.
- You do not have to use a special form supplied by your employer, nor do you have to have a 'special' sick certificate that says so.
- You do not have to tell your employer more than once in any week, that you are still sick. For the first seven days, you do not need a sick note from your doctor. However, you may have to fill in a 'self certification of sickness' from your employer.
- Do not leave it for seven days before your first tell your employer, or you may not get paid SSP.
Payment You will get your SSP in your normal wages packet - either monthly or weekly, depending upon how you are paid. If you are only receiving SSP with no other earnings, then the will not normally be any tax to be paid. However, if you receive other earnings, then there may be a deduction of income tax and national insurance.
Important notes for Claiming SSP
- Your employer has the right to decide whether you are unable to work because of sickness. They will normally be careful about claiming that you should work, because of the consequences of anything going wrong! If you have a doctor's sick note, then they are very unlikely to say that you should work! It may be that your incapacity is because of a dental problem - your dentist can provide you with a sick note - you will have to pay.
- If you have been getting ESA - Employment Support Allowance - at any time within 12 weeks of being sick, they you will not get SSP. You can reclaim Employment Support Allowance.
- If your employer has their own sickness scheme, and it is greater than SSP, then you cannot claim for SSP.
- If you are hospitalised, then you still get SSP
- Further advice - in the case of disputes etc relating to SSP - can be got here. HM Revenue and Customs employee helpline 0845 302 1479