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Know your rights: sick pay
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Being ill is bad enough without having to worry about not getting paid. Luckily, for most of us working in the UK, there are rules guaranteeing a minimum payout while we are off sick. You may want to dig a bit deeper into the specifics around sick pay, but here is a quick run-through of the most common concerns workers have.
What’s the least I am owed?
All workers are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) of £88.45 a week. Minimum. If your employer pays you less, they are breaking the law. (If you are reading this after April 2017, you can find the current rate here).
£88.45 a week. Is that all?
Not necessarily. In many (perhaps most) cases, employers will offer better contractual terms based on your earnings. Typically, this applies after you’ve served a minimum period of employment and provides for a period of full pay while off work, followed by a reduced rate. Check your contract of employment for details, and our general information about Occupational Sick Pay here).
Is everyone entitled to SSP?
Most people are entitled to SSP, unless your employer provides better contractual terms for sickness absence, or:
- you earn less than the Lower Earnings Limit of £112 a week; or
- You are self-employed. It is also possible that you will not qualify if you are working on a short-term contract.
How does SSP work?
Statutory Sick Pay comes with a whole bunch of pesky small print. You can find a full explanation here, but the key points for most people to bear in mind are:
- SSP is not payable for the first three working days you are off sick;
- SSP is payable for up to 28 weeks (after which you will need to apply for Employment Support Allowance); and
- you don’t have to provide your employer with a note from your doctor unless you are off work for longer than seven days (although if your employer runs its own scheme, you may be required to provide a sick note sooner).
See workSMART’s dedicated Sick Pay section for detailed information about your rights if you are off work through illness.
Also check out the government’s Statutory Sick Pay pages for the latest guidance.