Under employment law in the UK, employers are obligated to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to all employees who normally pay National Insurance contributions (NIC) and if they are sick for a period longer than 4 consecutive days but less than 28 weeks. The first three days of sickness are known as Waiting Days and are unpaid.
Subsequently, the Statutory Sick Pay is set at £92.05 per week and is paid by your employer, in the same way as your normal wages, but after deducting tax and National Insurance.
To qualify to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you must:
- be employed and have done some work for your employer;
- have been ill for at least 4 consecutive days (including non-working days);
- earn at least £116 per week on an average;
- inform your employer of your sickness within 7 days;
According to UK employment law, SSP is not paid to employees who are:
- paid less than the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit;
- new employees who have not done any work for their employer under the contract of employment;
- have received the maximum amount of SSP (28 weeks);
- pregnant employees receiving Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance;
- employees who have received Social Security Benefits within the last 57 days;
- had Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the last 12 weeks;
- are pregnant, or who have their baby due in 4 weeks or less, or whose illness is pregnancy-related;
- in the armed forces;
- on strike;
- are in legal custody (either in prison or detained by the police);
- are an agricultural worker
You can still qualify for SSP if you have recently started your job and have not received 8 weeks’ pay yet.
Linked Periods of Sickness
If you have regular periods of sickness, together they may be counted as ‘linked’. To be linked, the periods must:
- each last 4 or more days;
- be 8 weeks or less apart;
You are not eligible if you have a continuous series of linked periods that exceed a period of 3 years.
If You’re Not Eligible or Your SSP Ends
If your employer informs that you are not entitled to sick pay, you should ask them to provide a written explanation of their reasons. They should give you this information on a form called Statutory Sick Pay And An Employee’s Claim For Benefit (SSP1).
They must also give this within 7 days of you taking leave due to sickness. You will need the SSP1 form to claim benefits later. Your employer must also give back any doctor’s notes that you gave them. Otherwise, you can:
Request A Written Statement
If your employer doesn’t give you the SSP1 form, you should ask them to provide a written statement explaining why you are not eligible to get Statutory Sick Pay. You may also give them a copy of the form to fill in.
According to employment law in the UK, If your employer doesn’t give you either the SSP1 form or a written statement, you need to contact the employees’ enquiry line of HMRC on 0300 200 3500.
They will ask your employer on your behalf, why they think you are not entitled to SSP. You will need to keep the following information ready when you talk to HMRC:
- your name, address and National Insurance number;
- your employer’s name and contact details;
- your payroll number;
- details of when you were off-work sick and your employer’s response when asked for sick pay;
- SSP1 form
Furthermore, you may be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), if you are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay or your SSP is coming to an end or has ended. You can do this using SSP1 form, which your employer would have given you:
- within 7 days of you going off sick (in case you do not qualify for SSP);
- within 7 days of your SSP ending (if it ends unexpectedly);
- on or before the start of the 23rd week, (if your SSP is about to end before your sickness does).