If an employee is off work due to sickness for 4 days or more consecutively they may be entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). 

Not all employees will be entitled to received SSP - it will be dependent on their earnings as it is only payable on earnings above an average of £123 per week.  If the employee is off sick for 4 days consecutively they will receive, if eligible, SSP from the fourth day of sickness - the first 3 days being unpaid.

SSP is £99.35 per week (£19.87 per day) and is paid based on the number of days each week the employee works.  SSP is not recoverable from HMRC but replaces their normal pay for the days the employee is absent.  It is paid as part of monthly or weekly pay and is subject to tax and NI deductions.  SSP is payable for up to 28 weeks for a single period of sickness or linked periods of sickness.

If you have a company sick pay scheme SSP is not payable in addition to this.  You should refer to your employees' contract of employment to identify whether the employee should be paid SSP or is entitled to more enhanced sick pay.  

If an employee attends work and then goes off sick the first day of sickness is counted from the following day.

Employees can request that they use their holiday during periods of sickness instead of receiving sick pay.  However employees can't request to take holiday they haven't yet accrued.  So, whilst holiday entitlement is calculated from the first day of working, the employee will not have accrued a day's holiday immediately they start working.  It would therefore be discretionary for the employer if they wanted to allow holiday to be taken instead of sickness absence.

Employees should provide self-certification sick notes for the first 7 days they are off sick and then a doctor's sick note for any subsequent periods of sickness.  As an employer you are not obliged to pay SSP if your employee does not produce a doctor's note for each period of sickness after the first 7 days.

SSP eligibility and the payment due is calculated based on earnings and previous pay.  There are several rules around eligibility and what to do if your employee is not eligible.

If this is one area of your payroll that you find confusing we can help by managing your payroll for you and ensuring your employees receive only what they are entitled to and you don't continue paying normal wages when you don't need to.

Contact us to see how we can support you with managing your payroll and giving you peace of mind.