Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide

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Entitlement

The weekly rate for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is £95.85 for up to 28 weeks. It is paid:

  • for the days an employee normally works - called ‘qualifying days’
  • in the same way as wages, for example on the normal payday, deducting tax and National insurance

Use the SSP calculator to work out the actual amount, for example for a daily rate.

Some employment types like agency workers, directors and educational workers have different rules for entitlement. You may still have to pay SSP even if you stop trading.

You cannot force your employees to take annual leave when they’re eligible for sick leave.

When to start paying SSP

SSP is paid when the employee is sick for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days).

You cannot count a day as a sick day if an employee has worked for a minute or more before they go home sick.

If an employee works a shift that ends the day after it started and becomes sick during the shift or after it has finished, the second day will count as a sick day.

If your employee is off sick or self-isolating because of coronavirus or has tested positive for coronavirus

From 13 March 2020 you start paying SSP from the first ‘qualifying day’ an employee is off work, as long as they are off for at least 4 days in a row. This includes non-working days.

If an employee was off sick with coronavirus symptoms before 13 March, you start paying SSP from the fourth qualifying day.

If an employee was self-isolating before 13 March because someone they live with had symptoms, you start paying SSP from 13 March.

If an employee is self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus, you start paying SSP from 28 May.

If an employee was self-isolating before 6 July because someone in their support bubble (or extended household in Scotland or Wales) but not their own household had symptoms or tested positive for coronavirus, you start paying SSP from 6 July.

If an employee is self-isolating because they’ve been advised to do so by a doctor or healthcare professional before going into hospital for surgery, you start paying SSP from 26 August.

If your employee is ‘shielding’ because of coronavirus

From 16 April 2020, you start paying SSP from the first qualifying day an employee is off work. You do not pay SSP for any shielding that took place before 16 April 2020.

If your employee has more than one shielding period, you should pay SSP for each period.

If your employee is off sick for another reason

You start paying SSP from the fourth qualifying day.

You do not usually pay SSP for the first 3 days (‘waiting days’) unless the employee has been off sick and getting SSP within the last 8 weeks.

When to stop paying SSP

SSP stops when the employee comes back to work or no longer qualifies.

Record keeping

You’ll need to keep records of SSP you’ve paid to an employee who was off work because of coronavirus if you want to reclaim it.

You’ll need to keep the following records for 3 years after the end of the tax year you paid SSP:

  • the dates the employee was off sick
  • which of those dates were qualifying days
  • the reason they said they were off work
  • the employee’s National Insurance number

You do not need to keep records of SSP paid to employees who are off sick for another reason.

You can choose how you keep records of your employees’ sickness absence. HMRC may need to see these records if there’s a dispute over payment of SSP.