Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide

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Notice and fit notes

The employee should tell you they’re sick within the time limit set by you, or 7 days if you do not have one. You cannot insist they tell you in person or on a special form.

You do not have to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for any days the employee was late in telling you (unless there’s a good reason for the delay).


An employee is sick from Monday 6 June. They usually work from Monday to Friday.

You’ve set your time limit at 5 days’ notice, but they only tell you they’re sick after 7 days (on Monday 13 June).

You do not have to pay them SSP for the 2 days they were late telling you.

You start paying SSP on Thursday 16 June - on the fourth ‘qualifying day’ (days an employee usually works on) after they told you they were sick.

Fit notes and asking for proof

You can only ask for a fit note if your employee is off work for more than 7 days in a row (including non-working days).

You cannot withhold SSP if the employee is late sending you a fit note.

If your employee is off sick frequently or for a long time, HMRC has information about getting medical advice.

Fit notes

A fit note (sometimes called a sick note) must be issued by one of the following healthcare professionals:

  • GP or hospital doctor

  • registered nurse

  • occupational therapist

  • pharmacist

  • physiotherapist

The note can be printed or digital.

Other proof of sickness

If you agree, the employee can give you a similar document from a physiotherapist, podiatrist or occupational therapist instead of a fit note. This is called an Allied Health Professional (AHP) Health and Work Report.