If an employee is too ill to work and they pay National Insurance, they’re legally entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). But what should you know as an employer? And what is the current SSP rate?
Find out what it is, how much SSP is in the UK and if your employees qualify for it.
What is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
Statutory Sick Pay, also known as SSP, is money given to an employee by an employer because they’re off work due to sickness. It makes sure that an employee continues to get paid if they're too ill to work.
The employee has to have been off work for three consecutive workdays (this can include weekends, bank holidays and non-working days) but less than 28 weeks. If you’re an employer, you will start paying SSP on the 4th day that the employee has not worked.
If the employee has worked longer than a minute before they stop working due to illness, it does not count as a sick day.
How much is statutory sick pay?
The SSP pay rate is subject to change year-on-year, so it’s recommended to keep checking. To work out how much you need SSP to pay your employees, you’ll use the current weekly SSP rate.
What is the current SSP rate in the UK?
The SSP rate for 2021-22 is £96.35 per week. This is slightly higher than the SSP rate in 2020, which was £95.85. You can find the statutory sick pay rates and thresholds for 2021-22 here.
You’ll see that the amount you need to pay an employee for each day they take sick days is dependent on the number of ‘qualifying days’ they work. A ‘qualifying day’ is any day the employee was sick from the 4th consecutive day. The first three days they’re off sick are called ‘waiting days’.
If you need to work out the SSP daily rate, this would be calculated by taking the weekly rate, dividing by seven and multiplying by the number of ‘qualifying days’ the employee had.
As an employer, you can increase the SSP rate yourself if you offer a sick pay scheme. But, the SSP rate should never be below the statutory rate of £96.35. If you have such a scheme, the details of it should be written in your employees’ contracts.
Is there a SSP calculator that I can use?
Yes, the UK government has a Statutory Sick Pay calculator. You’ll be asked a few questions about the timing and conditions of your employees' sick leave, such as:
- The dates the employee was sick
- How often they get paid
- How much they get paid
- Which days of the week they usually work
- The date of the last normal payday
To answer these questions accurately, you should keep up-to-date records detailing your employees’ sick leave and information, then keep this to hand when using the calculator.
Keep in mind that if your employee has irregular working hours, you’ll have to calculate their SSP manually.
Who is eligible for Statutory Sick Pay?
The government states certain eligibility factors for SSP. The eligible person must:
- Be classed as an employee and have completed at least some work for you
- Earn an average of £120 a week
- Have been ill or self-isolating for four days (including non-working days)
- Given proper notice
- Given proof, such as a sick note from a GP or hospital, if the employee has been off for more than seven days in a row
The employee can still be eligible if they are on furlough, have received less than 8 week’s pay or have taken annual leave in the time they were sick.
Are their exceptions to SSP?
Your employee will not qualify for Statutory Sick Pay if they:
- Have been off sick for longer than 28 weeks
- Are getting Statutory Maternity Pay
- Were in custody or on strike during the first day of their qualifying period
If the employee is not eligible or their SSP is reaching 28 weeks, they may be able to apply for Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance. To support the application, they can use the SSP1 form.
If the employee isn’t eligible, you have to send them the SSP1 within 7 days of their first sick day.
If the employee’s SSP will most likely end before their illness does, you have to send them the SSP1 form in the 23rd week of their SSP.
What is linked Periods of Incapacity for Work (PIW)?
If an employee is regularly off sick, their periods of sickness might be linked. If the employee was sick for four or more days more than once within eight weeks, this is called a linked Period of Incapacity for Work. If the previous sick leave period links to the current one, the employee might be entitled to a different amount of SSP.
The government has a table that you can download to check the linked Periods of Incapacity for Work for 2021.
Claiming Statutory Sick Pay using the coronavirus rebate scheme
If you're an employer, you may be able to claim back your employees' SSP if they were ill due to coronavirus.