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Apr 9 2024

An employer’s guide to statutory sick pay (SSP)

As an employer, there are many eventualities that you simply can’t predict but must be prepared for regardless. Of these, one that occurs every year without failure is staff absences due to sickness. An important accounting consideration here is determining whether to allocate statutory sick pay and the correct amount. This guide on statutory sick pay will give you all the information you need as an employer.


Overview of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in the UK

At the time of writing in the UK, employees can be eligible for £109.40 per week as SSP for a maximum of 28 weeks. This is the smallest amount that employers must offer, however, you can offer more through a company-specific sick pay scheme if you wish. If this is the case, it will need to be outlined in the employment contract. An employee is entitled to statutory sick pay for the days they would have worked (qualifying days), excluding the first 3. This means that those with irregular working patterns will likely need to discuss with their employer how SSP will be paid.

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Eligibility criteria for SSP

According to the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982, SSP must be paid by the employer and included on the employee’s payslip. This is a right held by any employee who:

  • Has been unable to work at least 4 days in a row because of sickness.
  • Has notified their employer of their illness within 7 days, or the deadline set by the employer.
  • Earns an average of at least £123 pre-tax.

Employers have the option of asking for employees to produce a fit note (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) before they grant SSP. Although a fit note becomes a requirement if someone has been off sick for more than 7 calendar days in a row.

Who can claim SSP?

As long as they meet the above eligibility requirements, any full or part-time employee can claim SSP. Although the amount they are entitled to might depend on any policies and procedures within the business. This is why information sharing is important for accurate accounting and payroll.


When are employers not obliged to pay SSP?

There are some notable exceptions that give employers the option not to pay SSP. This includes if an employee:

  • Has been off sick for more than the 28 week SSP allowance.
  • Has been off sick for 3 days or less.
  • Has received Employment and Support Allowance within 12 weeks of starting work.
  • Earns less than £123 a week.
  • Does not follow proper internal procedures when notifying you of their absence.
  • Is already receiving Statutory Maternity Pay.


What happens when SSP ends?

When an employee comes to the end of their 28 week limit, there comes the potentially awkward moment where employers need to decide what to do. It’s best to notify the employee in advance of this date, as it gives them time to apply for Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit. Do note that this will require sending them a SSP1 form. Even if payments to an employee stop altogether, be mindful to check in and refer to your sickness policy. The contract of employment still exists between your company and the employee.


Chartered Accountants for small business operations

Managing staff absences can be tricky enough without having to worry about how much pay your employees are entitled to each month. Jan McDermott Chartered Accountants will ensure your payroll considers unique requirements such as SSP. We are a firm committed to helping businesses of all sizes achieve financial efficiency. Our services also extend to sole traders, start-ups, and property landlords. Get in touch today to have a chat about your financial management needs.