Most workers qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if their employer does not offer occupational sick pay, either at all or, for example, in their first period of service. But SSP is based on a number of rules, including the following:
- You must be off sick for four or more consecutive days. This is called a period of incapacity for work. All the days you are sick count towards these four days, including weekends, holidays and any other days when you would not normally expect to be working.
- Any two periods of incapacity for work that are separated by eight weeks (56 days) or less are linked. In other words, they are treated as one whole period for SSP purposes.
- Qualifying days are the only days for which SSP can be paid. These are the days you normally work, or are rostered to work.
- SSP is not paid for the first three qualifying days in any period of incapacity for work. For example, if you are sick from Sunday to Friday, and you normally work from Monday to Friday, then the qualifying days are only the three normal days of work, that is, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This means you receive just two days' SSP that week.
- You must earn more than what is called the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) for National Insurance Contributions (NICs). The current earnings threshold is £113 a week with the SSP rate set at £89.35 (until April 2018).
- Part-time workers are entitled to SSP.
- If you work on a short-term contract of less than three months, you may not be entitled to claim SSP from your employer. However, you are entitled if your contract is extended.
- You must show your employer some evidence that you are sick. However, note that you are allowed to ‘self-certify’ sickness for periods of up to seven days in order to be paid SSP. You do this using Form SC2: Employee’s Statement of Sickness. This form asks you to state when you were off sick and the nature of your illness.
The Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS) which allowed employers to reclaim SSP in certain circumstances was abolished in April 2014. An employer guide to SSP is available on the GOV.UK website.