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

Paying SSP

Starting payment

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 are paid SSP on their normal payday.

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, see pages 9 to 14 for the qualifying conditions, you can start paying SSP.

How much do I pay?

You should now work out how much SSP is 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, see page 1. So, if your employee works the same QDs each week, then you will pay the weekly rate of SSP for each full week that they are sick.

For periods of sickness lasting less than a week, then you will only need to pay SSP for part of a week using the daily rates table on page 6.

If your employee works on different days each week or has a rota covering two or more weeks you can come to an agreement 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 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
  • 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 SSP for 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 purpose. So the maximum you can pay is 28 times the appropriate weekly rate in any linked or unlinked PIW. The daily rates table on page 6 gives you the daily, or multiple daily rate of SSP, also guidance on and an example of how to use it.

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 (OSP) 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.

See Operating your own Occupational Sick Pay (OSP) scheme.

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 your employee will still have underlying entitlement to SSP and you must still keep enough basic sick records so that you can issue forms SSP1 to employees in appropriate circumstances, see page 22, ‘Employees who can’t get SSP from you’.

Paying SSP during a Phased return to work or altered hours after a period of sickness

If you and your employee agree a phased return to work after a period of sickness, you should pay SSP for the days that your employee is sick in the normal way. Any day for which SSP is paid will count towards the maximum entitlement of 28 weeks. Your employee must form a PIW before SSP is paid, see page 1.

Statutory Sick Pay Guide © Crown Copyright 2011

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