Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a flat rate state benefit payable by the employer from the fourth day of sickness. Entitlement to SSP depends on whether sufficient National Insurance contributions have been paid. To receive SSP, an employee must earn on average at least £120 (2020) a week. This is known as the ‘Lower Earnings Limit’. It changes every year in April.
Some employers will pay normal pay during sickness. Others may deduct SSP from normal pay and yet others may pay SSP only. It all depends on what is in the contract of employment.
SSP rates are reviewed every year. As of April 2020, the current weekly rate for SSP is £95.85. SSP is paid for a maximum of 28 weeks.
During the coronavirus pandemic, emergency changes to the SSP regulations mean that workers can get SSP while self-isolating from the first day of isolation, instead of having to wait three days to become eligible, as remains the case for other forms of illness. However, to get SSP they must still self-isolate for 4 days.
At the start of the pandemic, workers who were classed as ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ by the government and advised to stay at home, known as ‘shielding’ were also eligible for SSP. This changed on 1 August 2020. However, the situation is fast moving and subject to change.
People who are quarantined after returning from abroad because of coronavirus don’t qualify for SSP.
If your illness is not related to coronavirus, SSP is only available from the fourth day of absence, as normal.