Statutory sick pay is calculated on a weekly basis. There is a standard rate of SSP currently set at £89.35 per week. This daily rate is calculated by dividing the appropriate weekly rate by the number of days in the week that the employee normally works. For SSP purposes, a week always begins on Sunday.
SSP is the minimum level of sick pay employers are obliged to pay to most employees who have been off sick for four or more consecutive days. The employer pays SSP as if it were normal pay, having deduced tax, national insurance contributions and any other deductions normally made from pay, e.g. pension contributions, trade union subscriptions and attachment of earnings.
When is SSP Payable?
Statutory sick pay is only payable for ‘qualifying days’. These are usually the days the employee normally works. However, the employer and the employee can agree which days count as qualifying days, including non-working days.
Statutory sick pay is not paid for the first three qualifying days in any period of incapacity for work (PIW) – these are also called waiting days. It is paid for the fourth qualifying days and for up to 28 weeks in any PIW. If an employee has two periods of incapacity which are separated by eight weeks (56 calendar days) or less, these are ‘linked’, i.e., they are treated as one PIW.
Note: With linked periods of incapacity there is no waiting period before SSP is paid in the second period (provided the three waiting days were served in the first PIW).
If an employee is still sick after 28 weeks (linked or unlinked) they can claim Employment and Support Allowance from the Department of Works and Pensions, i.e. the burden transfers from the employer to the state.