What is statutory sick pay?

Understand how much your employees receive when off ill.

First published on Wednesday, Jun 24, 2020

Last updated on Monday, Apr 08, 2024

Your employees will be off sick from time to time. It’s an unfortunate thing, but a part of modern working life.

While it can damage your business’ productivity, it’s also essential to have a healthy and happy workforce.

After all, ill staff members can’t do their job to the best of their abilities. And they may even affect those around them.

So, you should be clear about your sickness policy and where your employees stand.

That includes pay during sick days, which we’re taking a look at below.

What is statutory sick pay in the UK?

It’s the amount you pay to an employee while they’re off from work ill. You must, on a legal basis, provide statutory sick pay (SSP) to your employees for up to 28 weeks.

So, how much is statutory sick pay?

Under employment law, statutory sick pay in the UK is £116.75 per week. The amount is subject to annual reviews, so this may change in the future.

How does sick pay work?

There are statutory sick pay rules. When an employee is ill for at least four days in a row (and that includes non-working days), then they qualify for SSP.

Employees won't receive SSP for the first three days, unless they’ve had a period of sick time off work in the previous eight weeks and did not recieve SSP for the first three working days at that time.

Statutory sick pay amounts don’t vary and you staff can’t receive less SSP pay than the statutory amount. If your business is offering a sick pay scheme, then what you pay may be higher than the standard amount.

That’s up to your business, however. You can explain all of that in your contracts of employment on a relevant workplace policy.

The law on being sick from work

There are two sets of legislation that govern how you must handle sickness absences. These are the:

  1. Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982.
  2. Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1985.

To receive sick pay from work, your staff must meet a set of criteria. This includes:

  • Being legally classed as an employee and have started working for you
  • They earn at least £123 per week on average
  • Being sick for at least four days in a row (and that includes non-working days)

They can self-certify for the first seven days, but after that you can request a certification of sickness/medical proof.

If an employee has worked for at least a minute before going home sick, that day cannot be counted as a sick day. However, if an employee becomes sick during a shift that ends the day after it started, or after it has ended, then the second day will be considered a sick day.

It’s for these reasons you need to establish a clear and fair absence policy to help manage any issues relating to employee sickness absences.

Get help with statutory sick pay from BrightHR

Statutory sick pay is a crucial aspect of employment law that employers must comply with. It is essential for you to understand your obligations and responsibilities when it comes to providing sick pay to your employees. Having a smart absence management system can help ensure that you are in line with the law, especially when backed by 24/7 employment law advice.

If you have any more questions about SSP, why not ask BrightLightning and get your answers instantly?

Or you can read more about employee sick leave entitlement to understand what your workforce can claim.

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