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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Statutory Sick Pay

If you're an employee and unable to work because you're ill you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay. It is paid by your employer and can be paid for up to 28 weeks. Find out who can get Statutory Sick Pay and how it's paid.

Who can get Statutory Sick Pay?

If you're working for an employer under a contract of service (even if you've only just started and you have done some work), you're entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if the following apply:

  • you're sick for at least four days in a row (including weekends and bank holidays and days that you do not normally work)
  • you have average weekly earnings of at least £102 a week

Your average weekly earnings are worked out by using your earnings in the eight weeks before your sickness began. Please read 'SSP – how it's worked out and what days you'll be paid for' for more information about this.

How to get Statutory Sick Pay

To get SSP you must:

  • tell your employer that you are sick
  • if asked by your employer, provide some form of medical evidence, from the eighth day of your illness

Please read 'SSP - telling your employer you are sick and providing evidence' for more information.

How much do you get?

The standard weekly rate for SSP is £81.60 a week.

Your employer will work out a daily rate of SSP if necessary. They will do this by dividing the weekly rate by the number of days you’d normally work in that week. For working out SSP a week runs from Sunday to Saturday.

How it's paid

SSP is usually paid on your normal payday in the same way as your normal earnings.

SSP is subject to tax and National Insurance contributions. If you only receive SSP your earnings may not be high enough to pay tax unless you get other payments on top of your SSP.

What happens if you can't get SSP or it ends?

If you cannot get SSP or SSP has ended your employer must fill in form SSP1 and give this to you. On the form, your employer must say why SSP has not been paid or why it is ending and the last date of payment.

Form SSP1 is used to support a claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). It is important that your employer give this form to you as soon as possible. Without the information on the form a decision on your entitlement to ESA cannot be made which may delay payment. 

There are two versions of the form, one you can print and then complete using a pen, or one you can complete online and then print.

Occupational sick pay schemes

If your employer has a sick pay scheme, which is equal to, or more than SSP, they do not have to operate the SSP scheme. They may also have different rules for payment, which you must keep to receive payment.

Please read 'sick pay rights' for more information about occupational sick pay schemes.

If you are sick after 28 weeks of occupational sick pay, or if this ends earlier and you are not entitled to SSP, your employer must give you form SSP1 for you to claim Employment and Support Allowance. They should do this as soon as possible.

How benefits and payments affect SSP

SSP can affect some other benefits and payments that you may be entitled to. Please read 'SSP - effect on other benefits and payments' for more information.

What else you should know

If you go into hospital, SSP isn't affected.

If you work abroad, you may be able to get SSP if your employer pays National Insurance contributions for you.

If you go abroad to visit, you may still claim SSP if you can prove you're still sick.

Serving members of the Armed Forces cannot get SSP. Members of their families may be able to get it, if they satisfy the conditions for payment.

Please read 'Claiming benefits in Europe' for more information.

If you disagree with your employer's decision about SSP

Ask your employer for a reason if you think:

  • their decision not to pay you SSP is wrong
  • you’re not getting the right amount of SSP

If you still disagree, you can phone Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) employee's enquiry line on 0845 302 1479 for advice.

Please read ‘Statutory payments - if you think your employer's decision is wrong' for more information.

SSP and insolvency

If your employer does not pay you SSP because they are insolvent, payment will be made by HMRC.

For more information, phone the Statutory Payments Disputes Team on 0191 225 5221.

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