Statutory sick pay can be a confusing topic for employees and if working in payroll, you can expect to be asked about it on a regular basis. This is why it is important to know what you are talking about and to be prepared to answer these kinds of questions. Statutory sick pay is the money paid by the employer when the employee is off sick and most employees will have eligibility to receive this. It is also taxable, just as the salary would be.
Some of the points to remember regarding eligibility of SSP are:
- The employee must have a contract and must have done some work.
- The sickness must last for 4 days or more.
- The employee must provide proof when the sickness has lasted over 7 days i.e. sick line from the doctor.
- Minimum earnings of £112 per week.
- Agency workers and contract workers are also eligible for SSP.
When to start paying SSP.
Statutory sick pay should be paid when the employee has been off for 4 consecutive days and from the 4th day of absence. Prior to the 4th day, the employee would be paid at their normal rate. However, this would not be the case if the employee has had SSP within the last 8 weeks. If the employee goes off sick after working for any part of the day, the day would not count as a sick day. It would be the day after if they are off for the full day.
The value of SSP.
The current eligibility for SSP is £88.45 per week, although this changes so it is important to keep on top of it. The duration of SSP is for up to 28 weeks. If in doubt about what you should pay in terms of SSP, use this official calculator to work it out. Some employers will choose to pay more than the SSP allowance and this is known as contractual sick pay. This should be more than the SSP but not less and the terms of this will be in the employee’s contract.
How to pay it.
You would pay the SSP in the same manner as wages, via the employee’s bank account on the same day as their salary or wages would normally go through.
Employment and Support.
If the employee has exhausted the SSP by being absent for more than 28 weeks or they do not meet the eligibility criteria, they may be eligible for employment and support allowance. You can find more about this here. It is a good idea to point them in this direction, so they know what options are available to them.
Rules for employees
Employees should adhere to certain rules when it comes to phoning in sick, such as calling in before the working day starts and providing a sick line, however, the employer cannot hold back SSP. This may be breaking the terms of the contract though and it may lead to disciplinary action.