Defining the process for statutory sick pay

Defining the process for Statutory Sick Pay

Defining the process for Statutory Sick Pay
When a worker takes time off work due to sickness, there is legislation that governs how much pay they are entitled to. Employment contracts will often have details of a sick pay policy, which will determine the employee’s responsibilities and rights in the events of a sickness. Whether an employer chooses to provide additional contractual sick pay or not, the minimum legislated pay must be paid - this is called statutory sick pay (SSP).
For an employee to qualify for SSP, they must have done some work for the employer, and given valid notice and evidence where necessary. Legally, they can self-certify their sickness for the first week, but after this the employer can demand evidence for the sickness, such as a fit note from a doctor. The other main qualifying factor is how much the employee earns. They're average weekly earnings (AWE) must be at least the lower earnings limit (LEL), which in the current tax year is set at £123 per week. The relevant period to calculate the AWE is 8 weeks, ending with the last pay day before the sickness episode starts.
SSP is payable at £99.35 per week for a period of 28 weeks. The daily rate depends on which days the employee would have normally worked. For someone who works 5 days a week for example, they will be due £19.87 for each day they are off sick. For a sickness episode to be valid for SSP purposes, it must have a period of incapacity (PIW) to work of at least 4 days (including non-working days).
The first three working days of a valid sickness episode are referred to as waiting days and no pay is due on these days. SSP will start on the fourth working day and continue to be payable for up to 28 weeks. After this, the employer must give the employee an SMP1 form and explain that they no longer must pay them sick pay. The form has other options for why the employee is not eligible for sick pay, Employees can use this form to claim support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
If a PIW starts within 8 weeks of the last day of a previous PIW, the two sickness periods will be linked. In this case, the new sickness episode will not include any waiting days and the previous sickness duration will be included in the 28 payable weeks. When there are linked PIWs, the eligibility criteria (like AWE calculation) from the first episode will always be used. If the gap between the two episodes is longer than 8 weeks, the new episode will start with waiting days and a new set of 28 weeks will be payable.
Employees do not qualify for SSP if they:
• Are in receipt of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Statutory Maternity Allowance (SMA) - there are special rules for pregnant women and new mothers who do not get these payments
• Are absent from work because of a pregnancy-related illness in the four weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that their baby is due – in this case maternity leave will start early and they will be paid Statutory maternity pay (SMP)
• Are working outside the EU and the employer is not liable for their National Insurance contributions
• Received Employment and Support Allowance within 12 weeks of starting or returning to work for their employee.
In any of the above cases, the employer must fill in and send an SSP1 form to the employee, within seven days of being informed of the sickness.