News and legal updates for small businesses in the UK.

Employee needs to take some time off? Here’s some guidance on sick pay.

What is Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”)?

 All employees, irrespective of age, are entitled to claim SSP as long as they have average earnings of at least £112 per week (from 6 April 2016) and an employer has a legal duty to pay at least this amount to an employee who becomes ill and is absent from work as a result of that illness. 

Who is entitled to Statutory Sick Pay?

A person is entitled to SSP if he or she meets the following requirements:

  • An employee; and
  • Illness for more than 3 days (inclusive of weekends and holidays); and
  • Wages that are equivalent to the Lower Earnings Limit (earnings required to qualify for certain state benefits which is currently £112 per week) or more.

What constitutes an ‘employee’?

 For the purposes of eligibility for SSP, an ‘employee’ includes the following:

  • A person employed gainfully under a contract for service in the UK;
  • A person who pays Secondary Class 1 National Insurance Contributions;
  • An apprentice who is in employed earner’s employment;
  • An office holder (including elected office); or
  • An agency worker.

Are there any limits to how long an employee can claim SSP?

  • An employee can only claim SSP for up to a maximum of 28 weeks during the qualifying 3-year period in which a person is absent from work.
  • An employee cannot aggregate the amount of SSP against one employer which exceeds the maximum 28 weeks.

Protection of an Employee’s right to SSP

  • An employer cannot contract with an employee to limit, exclude or modify the employee’s right to SSP.
  • An employee cannot be required to contribute to an employer’s cost under its obligation to pay SPP.

So what is the rate of SSP?

The rate of SSP for the tax year commencing 2016 is £ 88.45 which is to be paid on a weekly pro rata basis. Income tax and national insurance contribution deductions still apply.

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