Statutory Sick Pay
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has been around for a long time. Originally introduced in 1983, it was then extended to cover 28 weeks of absence per year in 1985. Although it has been around a long time, Statutory Sick Pay still throws up many questions. Our blog today tries to solve some of those headaches and give you more confidence in implementing sick pay policies.
Who needs to pay SSP?
Let’s start with who actually needs to pay SSP? If you employ people in the UK, you need to pay them SSP if they meet the eligibility criteria. These criteria are as follows:
- The employee must have commenced work under their employment contract.
- They must have been off for 4 consecutive days
- They must earn at least £118 per week
- They must inform you of their absence in line with your policy.
- As soon as they are absent for more than 8 days, they must provide proof of their absence (typically by providing a fit note).
What amount of SSP do employees receive?
At the time of writing, employees receive £94.25 Statutory Sick Pay per week. The first 3 days after the absence is reported are called waiting days. No sick pay is due on these days. Note, if an employee is part time, non-working days count towards those waiting days.
So an employee works Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. They report their sickness on Monday and the sick pay starts on the Thursday. They return to work on the following Wednesday so they are paid 2 days SSP – the Thursday and the Monday of the next week.
Can businesses claim back SSP?
Before 2014, eligible businesses could claim back some SSP but this has now ceased. Businesses can claim Employers Allowance of up to £2k p.a. towards their Class 1 National Insurance costs but this is not linked to SSP.
Can employers pay more than SSP?
Absolutely! You can’t pay less than SSP but you can pay more than Statutory Sick Pay if you wish. Employers usually choose to enhance sick pay to improve employee engagement. With financial pressure being one of the great causes of stress in the workplace, the safety net of a more generous sick pay regime is helpful. It also will help to reduce ‘presenteeism’ where employees turn up to work when they aren’t fit to do so.
How do employers enhance their SSP?
Typically by extending a period of full pay or half pay for between 2 and 28 weeks. The amount offered often depends on the financial strength of the employer. However you can be too generous. Why? Because the financial imperative can sometimes be the main driver to force the return to work conversation.