Statutory Sick Pay – What’s The Deal?

One factor that no business can anticipate is staff sickness. Certainly there are ways that sickness absences can be planned for, but very few businesses are able to avoid staff sickness entirely. As such, all businesses employing people should know what to do in the event of sickness absence and how to adjust the employee’s pay accordingly.

How much pay is due to an employee on sick leave?

In the UK, employees who are off work sick are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which currently stands at £89.35 per week. This will be paid up to a maximum of 28 weeks (excluding the first three days which are “waiting days”) and must be paid to all eligible employees.

Who is eligible for SSP?

In order to qualify for SSP, the following criteria must be met:

  • Work for the employer has started
  • The period of sickness lasts for 4 full days or more in a row
  • The employee’s earnings average more than £113 per week

In addition to permanent employees, agency workers, casual workers, those who are part-time and on fixed term contracts are also eligible for SSP. For Agency workers whose pay is variable, to qualify for SSP their average earnings are calculated upon the previous eight weeks.

Workers who are genuinely self-employed are the exception to the rule as they are not entitled to SSP. Any workers who are self-employed should make provisions themselves in the event of a sickness absence.

What about company sick pay?

Some companies also have a company sick pay scheme in place whereby employees will receive money in addition to SSP (sometimes up to their usual full pay) for a certain number of days, weeks or months. The NHS for example operates a very generous sick pay scheme offering up to 6 months full pay based on length of service.

The Agency Worker Regulations (AWRs) state that agency workers are entitled to equal treatment on the same basis as if he or she had been hired directly by an employer. Whilst this covers annual leave, pay, night work, rest periods, working hours, and rest breaks, this does not include any company sick pay schemes. Thus, whilst a company sick pay scheme is a great added benefit for your staff, agency workers may not be entitled to the same.

Where can we go to ask questions about sick pay?

If you are ever not sure about making an SSP payment to a worker you should seek advice immediately as failure to pay SSP when it is owed can result in a penalty. Agencies who use TBOS to run their payroll can seek advice on payment for SSP by calling 0345 504 6333 and speaking to our Accounts team.