Sick Pay Guide for Employers

General

What do I have to do?

An employee must satisfy a number of qualifying conditions to be entitled to SSP from you. The following guidance and tables will help you decide if they are entitled. You, as the employer, must decide if SSP is payable and how much you are liable to pay. The Employer Helpline can give you advice but cannot make a decision for you.

What does my employee have to do?

Telling you they are sick is the starting point for SSP. It is not evidence of incapacity, it is simply your employee letting you know why they are off work.

You can make your own rules about when and how your employee should notify sickness for your own purposes subject to the conditions below but you must tell your employees your rules for notification in advance.

How your employee must tell you

For SSP purposes, you cannot insist that your employee notifies you:

  • in person
  • earlier than the first QD in a spell of sickness
  • by a fixed time on the first QD
  • more often than once a week during the sickness
  • on a special form
  • on a medical certificate.

If you wish, you can make one set of rules for the first notification in a spell of sickness and another, set of rules for the second and following notifications in the same spell of sickness.

If you don’t make your own rules, your employee must notify you of their incapacity within seven days of their first day of absence.

Employee doesn’t tell you

If your employee doesn’t notify you of sickness absence within:

  • the time you fixed, or
  • seven calendar days of the first day of incapacity, and
  • if you consider that there was good cause for delay, you must accept that the notification was given correctly if it is given
    • within one calendar month of the time you specify, or in the seven day period after the relevant day(s) of incapacity, or
    • up to 91 days after the relevant day(s) of incapacity, if you are satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the employee to notify you within the calendar month.

If you have accepted that the notification was given correctly, your employee will be entitled to SSP from the beginning of their absence as if they had notified you on time.

Withholding payment for late notification

You can withhold payment of SSP for the period of the delay if the notification is given outside these time limits and you do not accept there was good cause for delay. If you decide to withhold payment you should treat the date of the late notification as the first qualifying day for SSP.

How long has your employee been sick?

They must be off work sick for four or more days in a row to be able to get SSP from you. If your employee has been sick for four or more days in a row and sick absence continues but they are not entitled to SSP, you must complete form SSP1, or your own computerised version, so that they can claim Incapacity Benefit (IB) or ESA from Autumn 2008 from Jobcentre Plus or in Northern Ireland the Jobs and Benefits Office.

Linking Periods of Incapacity for Work

Where a Period of Incapacity for Work (PIW) is separated from an earlier PIW by a gap of not more than eight weeks, (that is 56 days), the two absences ‘link’ and are treated as one PIW.

A PIW must always be formed before there can be a link, that is your employee must be sick for at least four or more days in a row (non-working days and non-qualifying days count).

Odd days of sickness do not form a PIW and cannot link.

The tables will help you work out if your employee’s PIWs link.

A quick example is:

  • your employee is sick from 21 August to 27 August and is entitled to SSP
  • this spell of sickness is four or more days, it forms a PIW and SSP may be due
  • the employee is sick again from 22 September to 24 September
  • the second spell of sickness is less than four days. It therefore does not form a PIW and is not covered by the SSP scheme
  • the employee is sick again from 23 October to 31 October
  • the third spell of sickness is four or more days so a PIW is formed. The gap between 27 August and 23 October is 56 days so the two PIWs link.


Employees who can’t get SSP from you

Some employees can’t get SSP from you when they are sick. You must give them form SSP1 explaining why they are not entitled to SSP. They may be able to claim a social security benefit instead.

Remember, if your employee cannot get SSP at the start of a PIW they will not be entitled to it in any later linking PIW.

They cannot get SSP if they are not sick for four or more days in a row as this does not form a PIW. Your employee cannot get SSP if, on the first day of the PIW they:

  • had Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) in the ‘set period’ below the LEL for National Insurance purposes. If they had any earnings in their set period that were included in a PAYE Settlement Agreement, see the tables
  • are within the 18/39 week disqualifying period due to pregnancy or recently having had a baby. See Incapacity and Deemed Incapacity for more details
  • have already had 28 weeks’ worth of SSP from you and this new spell of sickness links to their last one
  • are sick within eight weeks of receiving a social or security benefit
  • were not entitled to SSP the last time they were sick, for any reason, and this spell of sickness links to that one
  • started or returned to work for you after getting IB from Jobcentre Plus/SSA and are a Welfare to Work beneficiary who is sick within the first 104 weeks of starting, or returning to work for you. See Incapacity and Deemed Incapacity
  • are outside the UK and you are not liable to pay employer’s Class 1 NICs, and would not be liable even if their earnings were high enough
  • are a new employee and have not yet done any work for you.

If your employee is not entitled to SSP you must issue form SSP1:

  • no later than the seventh calendar day after the sickness has been notified, or
  • by the next normal pay day in the tax month after sickness has been notified.

If you know your employee will still be sick when their entitlement to SSP will be exhausted, issue form SSP1 as soon as appropriate after they have been paid 22 weeks of SSP as this will help them to claim Incapacity Benefit or ESA after Autumn 2008.

SSP1 issued by mistake

If you realise later that you have made a mistake and SSP is due, you should:

  • pay the SSP, and
  • inform your employee and contact the nearest Benefit Delivery Centre whose number is in the phone book under Jobcentre Plus or in Northern Ireland the Jobs and Benefits Office so that benefit isn’t wrongly paid.

Employee already had 28 weeks’ SSP from a previous employer

Your employee cannot get SSP if:

  • they give a leaver’s statement, form SSP1(L), which shows they have received 28 weeks’ SSP from their former employer, and
  • the gap between the first day of the PIW with you and the last day of SSP shown at, Date 2, on the form SSP1(L) is eight weeks, that is 56 consecutive days, or less.

See What is new about SSP1(L)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>