When your employee is sick, the first thing to check is the contract of employment. In most cases, this will state that the employer will only pay Statutory Sick Pay. In some cases, the contract may promise full or half pay up to a maximum number of days off.
If the contract says SSP only, we would normally deduct a day’s pay for each sick day. If the employee has long service, and has never been sick before, you may decide to pay in full anyway.
SSP could run for up to 28 weeks, during which time we can put a temp on the payroll, normally at no extra charge.
If your employee is sick for 4 or more calendar days in a row, Statutory Sick Pay might be payable. We can calculate the entitlement for you as soon as we have the dates. If this is the first time sickness has arisen, the following rules normally apply:
- SSP is only payable for normal working days.
- The first 3 working days of absence are normally unpaid. These are called ‘Waiting Days’.
- SSP kicks in on the 4th day of absence (but see special rules below for Coronavirus Covid-19).
The amount of SSP payable is currently £95.85 per week for everyone, regardless of the number of days normally worked, provided normal earnings are at least £120 gross per week. If earnings are below £120, no SSP is payable. Instead, we give the employee an SSP1 form to take to their local benefits office.
If your employee is ill again for 4 or more calendar days within 8 weeks of this first absence, SSP will kick in right away. Waiting days will not apply.
SSP Rules if COVID Related
If your employee is clinically extremely vulnerable and cannot work because they have received a notification advising them to shield, you can furlough them under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if you are eligible to do so. As a minimum, you must pay them SSP, where they are eligible.
You must pay SSP from the first day of your employee’s absence from work if they are self-isolating due to COVID-19. This could be because:
- They are displaying symptoms of, or have tested positive for, COVID-19
- Someone in their household (including linked or extended household) is displaying symptoms of, or has tested positive for COVID-19
- They have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.
Your employee may be required to self-isolate multiple times. Each time they are required to self-isolate “provided all eligibility criteria are met” they must receive SSP for the duration of their absence. Small and medium employers can reclaim up to two weeks of SSP paid per employee for absences related to COVID-19.
The get an isolation note service was introduced to reduce pressure on GPs by avoiding the need for employees to contact their GP unnecessarily for evidence relating to self-isolation. We strongly suggest that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence where an employee is advised to self-isolate in accordance with public health advice. Employers can check an isolation note is valid by using the check an isolation note service.
All employees can sign themselves off for the first 7 calendar days. After that, you can request a doctor's note if you want. It is good practice to ask for sick notes, although employers can use their discretion.