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Services and benefits

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Last updated April 2006

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What is it?

SSP is paid to employees who are unable to work because of sickness. SSP is paid by your employer for up to a maximum of 28 weeks.

SSP is not paid for specific illness or treatment but to all employees, who are incapable for work and who satisfy the conditions for payment.

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Can I get it?

You must have worked for your employer under a contract of service. Even if it is your first day of work with a new employer and you become sick part way through the day you may be entitled to SSP.

To get SSP you must be:

Your earnings are averaged, over an 8 week period before your sickness began. This period may vary slightly depending on whether you are paid weekly or monthly paid, or at other intervals. If you have just started your job the calculation may be different, contact your employer for more information.

If you answer YES to all the above, claim SSP

If you want to know how much you have to earn for NI purposes, contact your Jobcentre, Jobcentre Plus or Social security office

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When does SSP start?

SSP is a daily payment and is usually paid for the days that you would normally work. The days that you would normally work are known as Qualifying Days (QDs)

SSP is not paid for the first three QDs, in any period of sickness unless it falls within a linking period. See - What else should I know for information about “Linking Periods”

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How much will I get?

If your average earnings before deductions such as tax and National Insurance (NI) are £84.00 a week or more:

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How do I claim?

Telling your employer you are sick

To get SSP, you should tell your employer that you are sick as soon as possible. You employer may have their own rules for when and how you tell them you are sick (please check with your employer).

However they cannot insist that you tell them:

Your employer may not pay you SSP if you tell them you are sick more than 7 days after you are first became sick.

Evidence that you are sick

Your employer will ask you for evidence that you are sick. This will usually be in the form of a sick note from your doctor.

But your employer cannot ask you to provide a sick note, for the first 7 days that you are sick. They may ask you to fill in a self-certificate of their own or form SC2 which you can get from your GP's surgery, your nearest HM Revenue & Customs office or HM Revenue & Customs website.

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Your employer will pay SSP to you in the same way and at the same time as your normal wages.

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What else should I know?

If you have more than one job you may be entitled to SSP from each employer.

Your employer cannot end your contract of service to avoid paying SSP.

If you are away from work because of trade union action, you will not get SSP.

If you are in legal custody, you will not get SSP.

Linking

If you have been sick for two spells or more of at least 4 days in a row with 8 weeks or less between them, they will be counted as one Period of Incapacity for Work. This means that waiting days will not be served for the second period of sickness.

If you have been in receipt of Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Benefit within 8 weeks of being sick, you are not entitled to SSP because you can reclaim IB or SDB. Some people will also be entitled to reclaim IB or SDB if they are sick again within 52 weeks of a previous illness, and would not be entitled to SSP during this time. Subject to Parliamentary approval, this 52 week period will extend to 104 weeks (2 years) from October 2006. You will have received a linking letter from your Jobcentre Plus or Social Security office, give this to your employer.

Pregnancy

If you receive SSP for a pregnancy related illness at the start of or in the 4 weeks before your baby is due, SSP will stop and any entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance (MA) will start automatically.

If you are entitled to SMP or MA, you cannot get SSP for 26 weeks starting with the day of entitlement to those payments.

If you are not entitled to SMP or MA, you cannot get SSP for 18 weeks starting with:

Occupational Sick Pay Schemes

Many employers have their own sick pay scheme. If your employer has a sick pay scheme, which is equal to, or more than SSP, they may have different rules for payment, which you must keep to receive payment.

Other information:

If SSP ends, claim Incapacity Benefit (This link will take you to the Jobcentre Plus website)

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What happens if my employer says I do not qualify or my SSP ends?

If you cannot get SSP or your SSP has ended ask your employer for form SSP1, which they should fill in and give to you. You will need to send this form to your local social security office with your claim for Incapacity Benefit.

If you think your employer’s decision to not pay you SSP is wrong, or they did not pay when they should have done, or they paid too little and you cannot sort it out with your employer (they should give the reasons in writing), contact your local HM Revenue & Customs office to decide the matter. Find your local office at www.hmrc.gov.uk/enq/index.htm

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Employers: You can download a Statutory Sick Pay Form - for employers to explain why they cannot pay SSP

For details on how to administer and pay SSP, visit the HM Revenue & Customs website at: www.hmrc.gov.uk/employers/employee_sick.htm

You can download form SSP1 in PDF. This form does not apply in Northern Ireland. Please complete and return this form as soon as possible as your claim will depend on the date we receive a completed claim form.

The form comes with notes that will help you fill in the form and tell you what to do.

Please contact the eService Helpdesk if you are having technical difficulties:

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I am already getting it. What happens if:

I go into hospital?

SSP is not affected however long you are in hospital.

I go to live abroad or to visit?

If you work abroad you may be able to get SSP if your employer is liable to pay NI contributions for you. If you go abroad to visit, SSP can still be paid provided you can prove you are still sick. Most other benefits are affected if you are going abroad. You can get more information about certain countries through this site.

I am part of a service family living abroad or visiting?

Serving members of the Armed Forces cannot get SSP, but members of their families may be able to get it. See above.

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More information

If you are an employee you can get information from your local Jobcentre Plus or social security office.

If you are an employer, get in touch with your local HM Revenue & Customs NI Contributions office for more information or phone the Employers Helpline on 0845 7 143 143.

HM Revenue & Customs website: www.hmrc.gov.uk

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Other help

Remember that this website is only a general guide to benefits and schemes and is not a full and authoritative statement of the law. We have made every effort to ensure that the information on this website is correct at the date shown at the top of this page. However, changes in the law may make the website become gradually less accurate.