An employer pays Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to staff who are off sick. Most working people are covered by this scheme, but those who are not may qualify for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) when they are off sick.
Note: this leaflet gives a brief summary of SSP and is for guidance only. It does not cover all situations, nor is it a full statement of the law. Sources of further, more detailed information are given at the end of the leaflet.
When do you get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
- You must have been sick and unable to work for at least four days in a row (including weekends and bank holidays). So you do not get SSP for the first three days that you are unwell. However, if you were getting SSP sometime in the previous eight weeks, and go off sick again, the SSP will restart again from your first day off work.
- You must be earning, on average, £111 a week or more (April 2014). This is before deductions such as tax and National Insurance.
- You can get SSP for up to 28 weeks in one sickness episode.
- If you are still sick at the end of 28 weeks, you may be able to transfer to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
- SSP also stops if your job is terminated whilst you are off sick.
- If you have more than one job you may be entitled to SSP from each employer.
What proof of sickness do I need?
- You must inform your employer that you are sick within seven days, or by their deadline. Employers must accept notification if someone else makes it on your behalf.
- You must also provide a doctor's sick note as evidence of sickness. (Note: you only need a doctor's sick note if you are off sick for more than seven days in a row.) Your employer cannot ask for evidence of sickness to be produced more often than once a week.
Who cannot get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
You cannot get SSP if you:
- Are unemployed.
- Are self-employed. (You may be able to claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA) instead.)
- Are involved in, or affected by, a trade dispute at work.
- Are in legal custody.
- Have already had 28 weeks of SSP, gone back to work, but have gone sick again within eight weeks (but you may qualify for other benefits).
- Have been claiming ESA within the eight weeks before going sick.
- Are getting Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).
How much is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
SSP is £87.55 a week (April 2014 rate) and will be paid at a daily rate where appropriate. You may also be entitled to Income Support, depending on your circumstances.
SSP is paid by your employer, usually on the same day as you would normally get your wages or salary paid. SSP is a taxable income, and subject to National Insurance contributions.
Further help & information
Dr Tim Kenny
Dr Hayley Willacy