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What is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and the SSP rate?

3-minute read

What is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and the SSP rate?
Sam Bromley

Sam Bromley

24 March 2020

Your employees are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they have time off due to illness. Find out more about the SSP rate and your responsibilities when staff are off sick.

What is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

An employee may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they’re ill and can’t work. Your employee needs to have been off work for four or more days in a row (including non-working days).

The first three days are called ‘waiting days’ and you start paying SSP from the fourth ‘qualifying day’ (the day your employee is usually needed to work).

A day doesn’t count as a sick day if they've worked for more than a minute that day before they’ve gone home ill.

You might have your own sick pay scheme, which gives you the ability to offer your employee more than the standard SSP rate. If you have one, you should write it into your employees’ contracts (schemes like this are known as ‘contractual’ or ‘occupational’ sick pay).

You should make sure you record details of your employee’s absence and their sick pay payments.

Statutory Sick Pay and coronavirus

The government has changed the SSP rules due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The emergency legislation means that your employees can get SSP if they’re self-isolating because of coronavirus. It also applies if your employee is caring for someone in the same household who’s self-isolating and has been advised to undergo a household quarantine. These changes apply from 13 March 2020.

Your employee will also be able to claim SSP from day one of being off work, rather than day four. They won’t need to have a physical sick note – instead, they can go to NHS 111 online and complete a form to get an “isolation note” without seeing a doctor.

The CIPD (the professional body for HR and people development) says that SSP is available to those who are self-isolating based on medical advice, or are ill and showing symptoms. SSP won’t generally be available to those who are self-isolating without written medical advice or have no symptoms.

Employees should also work from home where possible. On 23 March the government announced a nationwide lockdown, which means employees can only travel to work if it absolutely can’t be done from home.

Read more about coronavirus and what support is available for small businesses and the self-employed.

The SSP rate in the UK

For the 2019-20 tax year, the SSP rate is £94.25 a week for up to 28 weeks for employees who are too ill to work. In 2020-21, the SSP rate is increasing to £95.85 a week.

You can use a daily SSP rate if your employee isn’t off work for the whole week. The daily SSP rate depends on how many ‘qualifying days’ your employee usually works and how many days they’re off sick. You can see the daily SSP rate at gov.uk.

SSP calculator

Gov.uk has a Statutory Sick Pay calculator you can use to work out how much to pay your employees who are off sick.

Use gov.uk’s sick pay calculator here.

Sick pay eligibility

Gov.uk says that to qualify for SSP your employee should:

  • have an employment contract
  • have worked under the contract
  • have been ill for four or more days in a row, including non-working days
  • earn £118 a week on average
  • give you notice of their illness
  • give you proof of their illness after they’ve had seven days off

Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) says that agency, casual and zero-hour employees can get SSP if they meet the eligibility criteria.

But there are exceptions, which could mean your employee isn’t eligible for sick pay. These include employees who’ve already had the maximum 28 weeks of SSP and employees who are getting Statutory Maternity Pay (there are different rules in this situation). Read more about SSP eligibility and the exceptions at gov.uk.

What is form SSP1?

If your employee isn’t eligible for SSP or their SSP is ending, they might be able to claim other benefits like Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You need to send these employees form SSP1 so they can claim for these benefits.

For employees who aren’t entitled to SSP, you have to send them SSP1 within seven days of them taking time off sick.

If an employee is receiving SSP but their situation changes and they no longer qualify, you have to send them SSP1 within seven days of their sick pay ending. If their SSP is going to end before their illness does, you have to send them SSP1 on or before the beginning of the 23rd week of sick pay.

Is there anything more you’d like to know about Statutory Sick Pay and the SSP rate? Let us know in the comments below.

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