What is it?
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a statutory payment which can be paid to employees who are absent from work due to illness.
You can be paid it for up to 28 weeks.
Am I eligible?
To qualify for SSP you must:
- be classed as an employee (this includes agency workers)
- have done some work for your employer
- earn an average of at least £120 per week
- have been ill, self-isolating or ‘shielding’ for at least four days in a row (including non-working days)
How much is it?
The rate of SSP is £99.35 per week. You cannot get less than this statutory amount. You may get more if your company has a sick pay scheme (or ‘occupational scheme’). You should check your employment contract for details of such a scheme.
Who pays it?
SSP is paid by your employer in the same way as your normal wages, for example weekly or monthly. Tax and National Insurance will be deducted from your SSP. If you have more than one job you may get SSP from each employer.
You can get SSP from the fourth day you are off work sick.
How do I apply?
You should claim SSP from your employer. You must tell your employer that you’re unable to work before the deadline they set (or within 7 days if they have not set a deadline).
You should check with your employer what the deadline is and how you should tell them as you could lose some of your SSP if you do not tell your employer in time.
A self-certificate of sickness can be produced for the first seven days of sickness. You will have to give your employer a doctor's certificate, otherwise known as a FIT note, if you’re off sick for more than seven days in a row (including non-working days).
Is it National Insurance based?
No - but you must have earned an average of £123 per week.
How long does it last?
You are entitled to a maximum of 28 weeks of SSP per period of sickness.
If you have a period of sickness that starts within eight weeks of an earlier period of sickness it is treated as ‘linked’ and included within the same 28-week maximum entitlement to SSP. So, for example, if you had 28 weeks SSP and then returned to work but, six weeks later, had another period of sickness you could not be paid any SSP as you have the 28 weeks maximum SSP for this period of sickness as they are ‘linked’ periods.
If however, you have a period of sickness that starts more than eight weeks after a period of sickness it is not ‘linked’ which means you could get SSP again for a maximum of 28 weeks.
Does it affect any other benefits?
SSP overlaps with national insurance benefits which means you cannot be paid SSP in addition to contribution benefits.
It also counts in full as income for means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit.
Is it payable in the European Union?
Yes but only you work for a UK employer.
You will not qualify for SSP if:
- You have already received the maximum amount of SSP (28 weeks)
- you are getting Statutory Maternity Pay
- you have been put on ‘furlough’ by your employer
- you are self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason
- you have had a continuous series of linked periods of sickness that lasts more than three years. To be linked, the periods of sickness must last 4 or more days each time or be eight weeks or less apart
What can I claim if I do not qualify for SSP?
You may be able to apply for Universal Credit or new style JSA or ESA if you do not qualify for SSP. You could get Universal Credit in addition to new-style ESA or JSA if, for example, your rent your house or have children or a partner who does not work or has a low income.
If you do not qualify for SSP your employer must send you an SSP1 within 7 days of you going off sick.
What can I claim if my SSP ends and I am still too ill to work?
If your SSP is ending your employer must send you an SSP1 either:
- within seven days of your SSP ending, if it ends unexpectedly while you’re still sick
- on or before the beginning of the 23rd week, if your SSP is expected to end before your sickness does
You may then qualify for Universal Credit and/or new style JSA or ESA depending on your personal circumstances including who else lives with you and any other income you may have.
SSP and Coronavirus
If you’re self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus you can get an ‘isolation note’ online from NHS 111 if you’re off work for seven or more days.
You do not have to go to your GP or a hospital.
If you have been told to stay at home by the NHS or your GP because you’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, your letter is proof. Contact your GP if you do not have a letter and you think you should have been sent one.
If you’ve been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus, your notification is proof.
You cannot get SSP if you’re self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason.
Can I challenge the decision?
Talk to your employer if you think their decision not to pay you SSP is wrong or if you think you're not getting the right amount of SSP.
If you are still unhappy after speaking to your employer you can contact HM Revenue and Custom (HMRC) statutory payment dispute team on 03000 560 630.
You can also contact HMRC’s employees’ enquiry line on 0300 200 3212 if you think you should be getting SSP and have been refused it or think you should be getting paid more. You can visit the DWP website to find out more about challenging a decision about SSP.
If you are struggling to manage due to being on SSP and having a reduced income, or if you are worried about what to do when your SSP ends, contact the Financial Inclusion Team, who can carry out a benefit check and advise you about any benefits you may be eligible for.
How to contact us?
You can get in touch with the Tackling Poverty Team by emailing TPteam@northlan.gov.uk or by calling the team on 01698 332551.