Unfortunately it is a fact of life that we will all get ill at some point in our lives and this often leads to a period of absence from work.
If you are an employee you are probably entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). To qualify you must meet the following conditions :
n You must actually be an employee and have done some work under your employment contract before going off sick
n The days you are off sick must make up part of a ‘period of incapacity for work’ (PIW)
n The days you get SSP for must be ‘qualifying days’
n You must earn at least £111 a week
n You must give the correct notice of your sickness
n You must give proof of illness/incapacity, only after 7 days
The PIW is a period of 4 or more days in a row when the employee cannot work due to illness/incapacity. PIW do not need to be working days. For example if an employee normally works from Monday to Friday and they are sick from Friday to Monday, then that is a PIW.
SSP isn’t payable straight away as the first 3 qualifying days (days when the employee normally works) of a PIW are called ‘waiting days’ when SSP isn’t payable. SSP then becomes payable on the first qualifying day after the 3 waiting days.
The current rate is £87.55 per week and is paid for up to 28 weeks. However, many companies have a sick pay scheme (occupational scheme) where they will make your pay up to a higher amount or even your normal wage.
SSP is paid in the same way as your normal wages (ie either weekly or monthly) and tax and national insurance will be deducted if your earnings exceed the relevant thresholds.
You won’t qualify if you:
n Have received the maximum 28 weeks of SSP
n Have taken 3 years or more linked periods of sickness, where 4 or more days of sickness happen within 8 weeks of each other.
n Are getting Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
If you have been off sick for at least four consecutive days but don’t qualify for SSP you must get a completed form SSP1 from your employer and then contact your local Jobcentre Plus or Social Security Office as you may well be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead.
Other SSP facts are –
n Certain trades such as agricultural workers have different rules
n If you have more than one job you may get SSP from each employer
n You only need a doctor’s ‘fit note’ (sick note) if you are off for 7 days or more.
Since the introduction of Employment Allowance on 6 April this year, employers are no longer able to reclaim SSP.