A Simple Guide to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for Employers

Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”) can be a little confusing for employers, particularly if they are employing staff for the first time.  To help out, we have prepared a simple set of bullet points covering the basics.

How much is SSP?

The weekly rate of SSP for days of sickness from 6 April 2014 is £87.55.

Who Qualifies for SSP?

An employee must meet all the following conditions to get SSP:

  • They must be your employee – and they’ll need to have done some work under their employment contract before going off sick
  • The days they’re off sick must make up part of a ‘period of incapacity for work’ (“PIW”) This must be four or more days in a row when the employee cannot work due to sickness
  • The days they’re getting SSP for must be qualifying days – these are days they normally work
  • Their earnings must be at least as much as the Lower Earnings Limit for National Insurance contributions (NICs). This is £111.00 a week for 2014-15
  • They can’t have already received the maximum amount of SSP for the PIW – or for a series of linked PIWs (28 weeks)
  • They must have notified you about their sickness – either within your own time limit or within seven days
  • They must give you evidence of their incapacity (for example a note from their GP), if you require it

What if your employee doesn’t qualify for SSP?

If you’ve got an employee who’s off sick for at least four consecutive days, but who doesn’t qualify for SSP, you must complete form SSP1 and give it to them within seven days of them notifying sickness.  They can then claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from their local Jobcentre Plus.

When should you pay SSP?

SSP isn’t payable straight away.  The first three qualifying days (days the employee normally works for you) of a PIW are called ‘waiting days’ when SSP isn’t payable.

SSP is payable from the first qualifying day after the three waiting days.  However, if several PIWs are linked, the waiting days only apply to the first PIW.

When should you stop paying SSP?

You’ll normally stop paying SSP when an employee comes back to work.  You may also need to stop paying SSP if:

  • your employee is still off sick but they’ve had the maximum amount of SSP payable – 28 weeks in one PIW or in several linked PIWs
  • they’ve had linked periods of sickness over three years – you must stop paying SSP after three years even if your employee hasn’t had 28 weeks of SSP
  • your employee is receiving Statutory Maternity Pay

If an employee stops being entitled to SSP:

  • calculate any SSP still owing and pay it to them on the next pay day
  • complete form SSP1 so they can claim ESA

If your employee doesn’t agree with your decision not to pay them SSP they can ask HMRC to make a formal decision about their entitlement.

Can you claim SSP back from HMRC?

Up until 5 April 2014 you were able to reclaim some of the SSP paid back from HMRC as long as it was greater than 13% of your Class 1 NIC liability for the month.  This scheme has now been abolished, although you will still be able to reclaim amounts for earlier years up until 5 April 2016 if you haven’t already done so.

We hope that you have found this guide useful, but if you would like any further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free 30 minute consultation.  One of our expert employment solicitors will be happy to help.

Tel:          01245 893400
Email:     [email protected]

Or use the Enquiry Form on our Contact Backhouse page.

The Backhouse Solicitors Employment Law Team