Sick pay law

Sick pay law

Sick employees must be treated fairly and are normally entitled to receive pay in their absence from work caused by illness.

Types of sick pay

There are two types of sick pay. These are:

  1. Statutory sick pay (SSP)

To be entitled to the SSP you need to be an employee who is sick for at least four days in a row (including weekends and bank holidays) and you have average weekly earnings of at least £102.

  1. Company or contractual sick pay

An employer can offer any sick pay scheme, as long as it is not below the legal minimum. The details of company sick pay should be included in the employment contract. It is important for the employer to ensure that sick leave is only taken when necessary and not treated as additional holiday.

How much will it be?

The SSP is paid at a set current rate of £81.60 a week for up to 28 weeks. It will be paid with the usual earnings on the normal payday. It is subject to tax and National Insurance.

The company sick pay varies depending on the employer’s sick pay scheme details. Some employers will only provide sick pay after a minimum period of service (such as a probation period) which means that in order to qualify for the sick pay scheme an employee must have worked for the company for a specified period of time. Some employers will use their discretion and make an exception to pay sick employees even if they do not qualify for the sick pay scheme.

How to claim it?

For the SSP the employee must inform their employer that they are sick and, if asked, provide medical evidence (such as doctor’s note) of illness from the eighth day of absence.There should be rules in place explaining how the employee should claim company sick pay. It could either be phoning the employer, sending them an e-mail or filling out a self-certification sick note.

What is the SSP 1 Form?

Employers use this form if an employee does not qualify for Statutory Sick Pay to explain the reasons why SSP has not been paid or if the SSP has come to an end.

It should also be given to an employee who has been receiving company sick pay for 28 days (or if the company sick pay is for a shorter period of time) and the employee is not entitled to SSP.

Disciplinary action

Employers have to be careful when assessing grounds for employees taking sick leave. If an employer has clear proof of employee’s repeated absence and if frequent sick leave affects employee’s abilities to do their job they might take disciplinary action against the employee. The justification for it is to prevent absenteeism and discourage employees from taking time off for extra holidays. Employers’ actions can however lead to a discrimination claim if a long-term illness of an employee is taken as a ground for dismissal.

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