Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide

Eligibility and form SSP1

To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) employees must:

  • have an employment contract
  • have done some work under their contract
  • have been sick for 4 or more days in a row (including non-working days) - known as a ‘period of incapacity for work’
  • earn an average of at least £120 per week
  • give you the correct notice
  • give you proof of their illness, only after 7 days off

Employees who have been paid less than 8 weeks of earnings still qualify for SSP. Use the sick pay calculator to work out how much to pay them.

An employee’s period of incapacity for work is not interrupted if they take annual leave during that time.

Employees can qualify for sick pay from more than one job.

They could also qualify in one job but be fit for work in another, for example if one job is physical work that they cannot do while ill but the other is office-based.

Coronavirus eligibility

Your employees qualify for SSP if they meet the criteria and cannot work if any of the following apply:

  • started self-isolating on or after 13 March 2020 because someone they live with has coronavirus
  • have been shielding since 16 April 2020
  • started self-isolating on or after 28 May 2020 because they were notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus

They do not qualify if they have been put ‘on furlough’ as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Exceptions

Employees do not qualify for SSP if they:

  • have received the maximum amount of SSP (28 weeks)
  • are getting Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance - there are special rules for pregnant women and new mothers who do not get these payments
  • are off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that their baby is due
  • were in custody or on strike on the first day of sickness (including any linked periods)
  • are working outside the EU and you’re not liable for their National Insurance contributions
  • received Employment and Support Allowance within 12 weeks of starting or returning to work for you

Use the SSP calculator to check eligibility.

Linked periods of sickness

If your employee has regular periods of sickness, they may count as ‘linked’. To be linked, the periods must:

  • last 4 or more days each
  • be 8 weeks or less apart

Your employee is no longer eligible for SSP if they have a continuous series of linked periods that lasts more than 3 years.

If an employee is not eligible or their SSP ends

Employees may be able to apply for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). They use form SSP1 to support their application.

If your employee’s SSP is ending you must send them form SSP1 either:

  • within 7 days of their SSP ending, if it ends unexpectedly while they’re still sick
  • on or before the beginning of the 23rd week, if their SSP is expected to end before their sickness does

If your employee does not qualify for SSP you must send them form SSP1 within 7 days of them going off sick.

If your employee thinks this is unfair, they can appeal to HMRC - the form tells them how to do this.

Long-term illness

You can complete form SSP1 before the end of SSP if you know an employee will be off sick for more than 28 weeks. This means they can apply for ESA before their SSP comes to an end.