Sick Pay Guide for Employers

Paying Statutory Sick Pay


SSP is paid at the same time and in the same way as you would pay wages for the same period.

A full week for SSP purposes begins with a Sunday and ends at midnight the following Saturday.

If you pay in cash you will need to ensure that you have arrangements in place so that sick employees get their SSP payment on their normal pay day.

You cannot pay SSP:

  • in kind
  • as board and lodging
  • by way of service.

SSP must be paid for all periods of entitlement regardless of whether or not earnings would normally be due for the same period. Once you have decided that your employee has satisfied the qualifying conditions. for terms and conditions, you can start paying SSP.

How much do I pay?

You should now work out how much SSP they are due and pay it on the same day that you would normally pay their wages for the same period. You only pay SSP for Qualifying Days (QDs). These are usually the days your employee normally works for you.

If your employee works on different days each week or has a rota covering two or more weeks you can come to an agreement with them as to which days should be treated as QDs. You can use the days in each week that the employee works but there must be at least one QD in each week, even if they wouldn’t normally work in that week. For example, if an employee has a two week rota where they work Monday to Friday in the first week but then they don’t work at all in the second week, the QDs could be Monday to Friday for the first week and say Wednesday (but any day of the week would do) for the second week.

You never pay SSP:

  • for Waiting Days (WDs) (the first three QDs of the PIW)
  • if only two WDs have been served in the first PIW then one more must be served in the second PIW if it links with the first one.

You usually pay SSP:

  • from the fourth QD in a PIW, or
  • from and including the first QD of the second PIW if the PIW links to an earlier PIW and the WDs have been served. The WDs do not have to be served again.

You pay a maximum of 28 weeks in a PIW or series of linked PIWs. You can work out when you will have paid 28 weeks’ worth of SSP by keeping a running total of all SSP paid in a PIW or in a series of linked PIWs. You can use form SSP2 for this.

So the maximum you can pay is 28 times the appropriate weekly rate in any linked or unlinked PIW.

The daily rates table gives you the daily, or multiple daily rate of SSP, also guidance on and an example of how to use them.

Deductions from SSP

You treat SSP just like pay, so you must make deductions for PAYE and NICs. Any other deductions which you lawfully make from pay can also be made from SSP, for example, pension contributions, student loan deductions and attachment of earnings orders.

Offsetting SSP against employee’s pay

Pay means any earnings, which count for NICs purposes, paid to an employee under a contract of service. For example, wages or occupational sick pay scheme payments. You can offset contractual earnings payments against the SSP you have to pay for the same day(s) so long as you pay earnings of at least the daily SSP rate due for each QD. You do not need to pay SSP on top of these payments unless you wish to do so.

If a payment of SSP and a contractual payment are due for different days, they cannot be offset against each other.

If you pay contractual pay, which amounts to more than any SSP entitlement, then you may be able to choose not to operate all the rules of the SSP scheme.

Opting out from fully operating the SSP scheme

You can choose whether or not to operate all the rules of the SSP scheme, but only if you pay your workers contractual pay that is equal to, or more than, the SSP they are entitled to for each day of their sickness.

There is no need to apply to do this and you are free to apply it to some employees and not others, or to some periods of sickness and not others.

If you choose to use this option you must still keep enough basic sick records so that you can issue forms SSP1 to employees in appropriate circumstances, see, ‘Employees who can’t get SSP from you’.

When do I stop paying?

Employee returns to work for you

You usually stop paying SSP when your employee returns to work. You should work out if any SSP is still owing to them for days of sickness before they returned to work and pay it on their next normal pay day.

Maximum 28 weeks’ entitlement paid

If your employee is still off when you have paid SSP for 28 weeks, fill in form SSP1 and send it to your employee without delay. Your employee will need to use form SSP1 to claim Incapacity Benefit (IB).

If you know in advance that your employee will continue to get SSP for the full 28 weeks, you should issue form SSP1 at the 23rd week to ensure there is a smooth change over to IB.

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