FAQs: Statutory sick pay

Statutory sick pay (“SSP”) is the minimum amount that must be paid by employers to eligible staff who are unwell and unable to work.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible it is necessary to be an employee (including agency workers); to have started work for the employer in question; to have been ill for at least four days in a row (including non-working days); and to have earnings at or above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions (currently £107 per week).

What is the current SSP level?

SSP is currently set at £85.85 per week and can be paid for up to 28 weeks. Normally, the employer does not have to pay SSP for the first three days off sick. However, eligibility for SSP starts immediately if the employee has had a separate period of sick leave in the previous eight weeks where they received SSP.

Note that the SSP is the minimum level that employers must pay. If the employee’s contract provides for sick pay at a higher rate, that lasts for longer, or with less strict eligibility requirements, this will take precedence.

Do I need a sick note?

If an employee is off sick for more than seven days, their employer can require them to provide evidence that they are unwell. This is normally in the form of a doctor’s statement of fitness for work, known as a “fit note”. The fit note allows doctors to advise whether an employee should refrain from work and whether they are able to carry out certain activities.

What about agricultural workers?

The rules on sick pay for agricultural workers are governed by the agricultural sick pay scheme. There are a number of differences between this and SSP. For example, it is necessary to have worked for the employer for at least a year to be eligible, and the period for which sick pay must be paid depends on the period worked.

For all the official details take a look at www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay. If you believe you’re being refused what is legally yours, speak to us and we will be able to help.

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