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Minimum Wage and Statutory Pay Obligations
6. Statutory Sick Pay
6.1 Statutory sick pay (SSP) is paid up to a maximum of 28 weeks, to workers (including part-time, full-time and agency workers) who are unable to work because of sickness.
- If a worker qualifies for SSP (see 6.2), it is paid at a flat rate of £86.70 a week.
- There is no qualifying length of service or minimum number of hours a week.
- Even if it is a worker’s first day of work with a new employer and they become sick part way through the day, they may be entitled to SSP.
6.2 To be entitled to SSP a worker must:
- Be sick for at least four or more days in a row (including weekends and bank holidays).
- Have earnings over the NI lower-earnings limit.
6.3 Workers become entitled to SSP from the fourth ‘qualifying day’ of sickness.
A qualifying day is basically a day on which the worker would normally have worked.
- In practice, the rule means that there are usually three clear ‘waiting days’ before SSP is payable in any ‘period of incapacity for work’ (PIW).
- If the worker is sick on a weekend day or a Bank Holiday — or any other non-working day — this counts towards the four-day PIW, but is not a ‘qualifying day’.
- Employers must issue form SSP1 by the end of the 23rd week to let the worker know when SSP will be ending.
6.4 You are entitled to ask for evidence that a worker is unfit for work. This will usually be in the form of a note from their doctor.
- For the first seven days that they are sick, a worker must fill in a self-certificate of their own or form SC2 (employee’s statement of sickness) which can be obtained from a GP’s surgery or HMRC’s website
6.5 If a worker is receiving SSP for a pregnancy related illness at the start of, or in the four weeks before her baby is due, SSP will stop and any entitlement to statutory maternity pay (SMP) or maternity allowance (MA) will start automatically.
- If she is entitled to SMP or MA, she cannot receive SSP for 26 weeks starting with the day of entitlement to those payments.
- If she is not entitled to SMP or MA, she cannot receive SSP for 18 weeks starting with the Sunday of the week her baby is born, or the Sunday of the week she is sick from work for a pregnancy related illness.
6.6 You can withhold SSP if the worker:
- Has recently drawn a state benefit (such as sickness, incapacity or maternity benefit).
- Is held in custody.
6.7 Employers must keep full records of SSP.
- Records must be kept for three years.
- Failure to do so can lead to a £1,000 fine.
6.8 You can get money back from HMRC if the SSP you pay out exceeds a set level.
- If your SSP exceeds 13% of your gross NICs in any month (which is unusual), you can reclaim the extra in full.