Contracts of Employment will often contain provision for payment in the event of ill-health. If those provisions are more generous than the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) the contractual terms will prevail.
Most employees are entitled to receive SSP. Exceptions include:
- those working on a fixed term contract of less than three months
- those earning less than the threshold for paying National Insurance contributions
- those who are on strike
- those aged over 65 years
Excluded employees may instead be entitled to claim State Sickness Benefit instead (there are different rules for agricultural workers).
All eligible workers will qualify if they:-
- Are too ill to attend work for 4 or more consecutive days including holidays and weekends.
- Notify their absence to their employer
- Provide evidence that they are too sick to work. This is usually a “self certification” for the first 7 days and after that a Doctor’s Certificate.
SSP is not payable for the first three days absence but after that becomes payable until either the employee is well and returns to work or the payment period expires – a maximum of 28 weeks. But the regulations as to how this is assessed are too complex to be set out in detail here.
SSP is payable on a standard weekly rate of £95.85 (2020)
Employers are under a duty to maintain written records of sick pay entitlement and to keep these for at least three years. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are entitled to inspect the records.
Any dispute between an Employer and an Employee concerning SSP is determined not by an Employment Tribunal but instead by the Inland Revenue unless the complaint is that the Employer admits liability to pay – but simply failed to make payment.
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