Statutory Sick Pay Guide for Employers (2011-2012)

Example - Weekly paid employee

This Sick Pay Guide is reference only. For the most up-to-date advice see the Statutory Sick Pay Guide for Employers (2012-2013)

Operating the SSP Scheme

Periods of Incapacity for Work (PIW)

How long has your employee been sick?

They must be 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 version, so that they can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from Jobcentre Plus or in Northern Ireland the Jobs and Benefits Office.

Linking Periods of Incapacity for Work (PIW)

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, so your employee must be sick for at least four or more days in a row (non-working days and non-qualifying days count) otherwise there is no later PIW to link with the earlier one. The PIWs do not have to be for the same sickness or incapacity for them to link.

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

The tables on pages 35 to 38 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 and no Waiting Days would need to be served for the third spell of sickness.

Statutory Sick Pay Guide © Crown Copyright 2011

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