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)

Overview of the SSP Scheme

Frequently asked questions

How do I calculate SSP?

There is a quick and easy method to calculate SSP which is available on our website, go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/employers

The SSP calculator will help you to work out if you have to pay SSP and how much you must pay to your employee, for a period of sickness of at least four or more days in a row. It will also help you to work out how much SSP you can recover for each tax month.

See the SSP daily rates tables.

What records should I keep?

You must keep records of all dates of employees’ sickness lasting four or more days in a row and all payments of SSP and record any unpaid SSP with reasons. All records must be kept for at least three years after the end of the tax year to which they relate. For more information see Keeping records.

What happens if my business becomes insolvent?

If you become insolvent whilst your employee is sick, HMRC will take over payment of SSP. They will do this when you have been formally declared insolvent and your employees contract has ended.

For any ongoing sickness following termination of the employee’s contract, you or the liquidator must complete form SSP1 for your employee to claim ESA.

You are still liable for any payments of SSP due before the day of insolvency. Your employee should be advised to contact the Statutory Payments Disputes Team on 0191 22 55 221. For more information on insolvency where the employees contract has not ended at the date of insolvency see You become insolvent.

My employee has been made redundant so do I still have to pay them SSP?

Entitlement to SSP ends when the employee’s contract ends. You must issue form SSP1 so that the employee can contact their local Jobcentre Plus or in Northern Ireland the Jobs and Benefits Office to claim ESA.

Can I recover any of the SSP?

SSP may be recoverable under the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS) which is designed to help employers who have a high proportion of their workforce sick at any one time and is not restricted to small businesses. Unless you qualify under the PTS you are not entitled to recover any of the SSP paid to your employees. For more information see Recovering SSP.

What if I don’t have enough money to pay SSP to my employee?

If you are entitled to recover SSP under the PTS, as above, you can apply to your Accounts Office for payment.

For more information see Recovering SSP.

My employee is pregnant and is off work with a pregnancy related absence – do I pay SSP or SMP?

This depends on when the baby is due and the length of absence. SSP is payable up to the start of any Maternity Pay Period but SSP is not payable during the 18/39 week disqualifying period. For more information see Employee pregnant – the disqualifying period.

I operate an Occupational Sick Pay (OSP) scheme – do I still have to follow the rules for SSP?

Even if you operate your own occupational or work based sick pay scheme you need to be aware that the provisions of the SSP Scheme still need to be taken into account when deciding when you need to give an employee form SSP1 or if you are able to make a recovery under the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS).

If your scheme makes OSP payments to your employees that are as much as or more than the SSP rate for each day that your employee is sick and their entitlement to OSP can continue for at least 28 weeks, then you do not need to operate all aspects of the SSP Scheme and your record keeping requirements are reduced. For more information see Operating your own Occupational Sick Pay (OSP) scheme.

My employee has previously been sick in the last few weeks – will this affect what I pay now?

Where a 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. For more information see Linking Periods of Incapacity for Work (PIW).

My employee has been with me less than eight weeks. How do I calculate their Average Weekly Earnings (AWE)?

There are special rules for new employees who have not worked for you long enough for the normal AWE rules to apply. These employees fall into two groups, employees who have not received payment covering at least eight weeks at the time the PIW begins and employees who have not received any payment at the time the PIW begins. For more information see New employees who have not had eight weeks earnings yet.

My employee has returned to work following the birth of her child and her husband is in receipt of ASPP for the remainder of her MPP. However, my employee has now gone on sick leave for 4 weeks. Do I pay her SMP or SSP?

The guidelines for entitlement to SMP have not changed in that, where your employee has returned to work within her MPP, and then goes sick, you should pay her SMP and not SSP. Her husbands’ employer will continue to pay him ASPP during both her sickness and the remaining MPP period.

My employee works different days each week. How do I calculate the Qualifying Days?

For simplicity you may want to have the same days each week as QDs, but you must first reach agreement with your workforce or their representative(s) about which days will be QDs. There must be at least one QD in each week running from Sunday to Saturday. For more information, see page 1.

My employee has sent me a ‘fit note’ from his GP, advising that he ‘may be fit for work’ if he can undertake some lighter duties for a while. Do I have to accommodate this advice?’

If it is not possible to follow the advice of the GP, you do not have to. However, if you do follow the GP advice, SSP is not payable for any work done in a day. You must pay your employee their normal pay under their contract for the hours worked. For more information on fit notes, go to www.dwp.gov.uk/fitnote

My employee is sick and her latest fit note suggests that she may be fit for work if she can initially work less hours. I need all my employees to work full time and have employed a temporary worker to do my employees job until she is well enough to return full time. Is it unlawful to continue employing the temporary worker instead?

If the doctor recommends that your employee ‘may be fit for work’, and it is not possible for the employer to facilitate a return to work on shorter hours, the statement will function as if it were a ‘not fit for work’ statement. It is not a breach of contract to employ someone else while your employee is sick despite the recommendations of their GP.

Statutory Sick Pay Guide © Crown Copyright 2011

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