Guidance

Statutory Sick Pay: manually calculate your employee’s payments

Use this guide if your payroll software or GOV.UK calculator doesn't calculate your employee’s payments.

Check that your employee is eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Terminology explained

Period of Incapacity for Work (PIW)

A period of sickness lasting 4 days or more in a row. All days of sickness count towards the total number of days in a PIW, including bank holidays, weekends and non working days. If there are less than 4 days in a row there is no PIW and you don’t take any action.

Qualifying days (QDs)

These are the only days that you can:

  • pay SSP for
  • count as waiting days

They are the days that your employee normally works - their contracted working days. You can decide not to use contracted working days, for example if your employee works a varied or alternative working pattern each week. You must agree them with your employee.

Waiting days (WDs)

SSP is not payable for the first 3 QDs in a PIW - these are called Waiting days (WDs). They are not always the first 3 days of the sickness absence as the employee may be sick on non-QDs, for example weekends. In the examples below, the employee is sick for 1 week Monday to Sunday.

Employee works (QDs) PIW Number of waiting days Number of QDs SSP is payable for
Monday to Friday 7 3 2 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are WDs SSP due for Thursday and Friday)
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7 3 0 (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are WDs)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 7 3 1 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are WDs, SSP due on Friday)

Linking PIWs

Link PIWs and treat as 1 PIW if the gap between them is 8 weeks (56 days) or less. If all 3 WDs haven’t been used in the first PIW, use any remaining WDs at the start of the next or series of linked PIWs.

Entitlement to SSP is decided by applying the qualifying conditions to the first day on the first PIW, not the start of any later linked PIW.

So if for example, an employee:

  • qualifies for SSP in the first PIW, but their earnings fall below the Lower Earnings Limit of £116, entitlement will continue during the second PIW, despite the fall in earnings

  • didn’t qualify for SSP in a first PIW for any reason, they wouldn’t qualify in any later linked PIW

Calculate Average Weekly Earnings (AWE)

AWE must include all earnings on which Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) are due, or would be due if they were high enough. SSP entitlement depends on your employee’s AWE in a relevant period. For the tax year 2016 to 2017 the AWE must be £112 or more. All earnings paid in that relevant period are divided by the number of days, weeks or months in that relevant period.

The relevant period

The end of the relevant period is the last normal payday before the first complete day of sickness.

The start of the relevant period is the day after the last normal payday falling not less than 8 weeks before the end of the relevant period.

Example for an employee who is weekly paid where the first full day of sickness is 21 January 2018.

Payday Last payday before the first day of sickness Payday at least 8 weeks before 19 January 2017
Weekly, every Friday 19 January 2017 24 November 2017

The relevant period is 25 November 2017 to 19 January 2018.

Add up all the earnings paid during the relevant period and divide by 8 (the number of weeks in the relevant period). Don’t round the figure up or down to whole pence.

Example for an employee who is monthly paid where the first full day of sickness is 21 January 2018.

Payday Last payday before the first day of sickness Payday at least 8 weeks before 31 December 2017
Monthly on the last day of the month 31 December 2017 31 October 2017

The relevant period is 1 November 2017 to 31 December 2017.

Add up all the earnings paid during the relevant period and:

  • divide by 2 (number of months in the relevant period)

  • multiply by 12 (number of months in the year)

  • divide by 52 (number of weeks in the year)

Don’t round the figure up or down to whole pence.

New employees who have not had 8 weeks earnings yet

Employees may not have worked for you for long enough for the normal AWE rules to apply, or have worked for you before in a previous contract which doesn’t link with the current contract.

An employee’s AWE is calculated differently where the last normal payday before the PIW is known and either:

  • there are no previous paydays covering at least 8 weeks pay
  • the new employee falls sick before they have their first payday

The relevant period becomes the period represented by all the earnings paid under the contract, before the first day of sick absence.

Your employee has received an exact number of weeks pay

Calculate the AWE by dividing the total earnings before the first day of sickness by the number of weeks in the relevant period. So if the employee received 5 weeks earnings the AWE is calculated by dividing the total of the 5 weeks earnings by 5.

Your employee hasn’t received an exact number of weeks pay

Calculate the AWE by dividing the earnings before the first day of sickness by the number of days in the relevant period. So if the employee received 2 weeks and 3 days earnings (17 days), divide the earnings by 17 (days) and multiply by 7 regardless of the number of days a week the employee is expected to work

Where the PIW is before any earnings have been paid, use their contractual earnings to see if they earn enough to get SSP. Work out how much a week they will earn based on the rate of pay for their job. If their AWE will be £116 or more they will qualify.

Employee not paid any wages throughout the relevant period

You must use your employee’s normal earnings as stated in their contract if your employee isn’t paid any wages that they are entitled to in the relevant period. Failing to pay wages doesn’t discharge your liability to pay SSP.

Multiple or changed pay frequency in the relevant period

An employee may have both weekly and monthly paydays, or change from weekly to monthly paid within the relevant period.

  1. Calculate the unrounded AWE in each pay pattern separately.
  2. Add all of the AWEs together.
  3. Divide the total by the number of pay patterns in the relevant period.

This will give you the AWE for the whole of the relevant period.

Mistimed payments

This only applies to regular payments of earnings not made on their normal due date, eg due to a Bank Holiday.

A mistimed payment:

  • occurs when the date of the actual payment of earnings is made earlier or later than the normal contractual payday, such as an annual holiday

  • shouldn’t be confused with a payroll error, where a mistake is made in the payroll resulting in a shortfall of pay when calculating the AWE

The total earnings are divided by the number of weeks wages that you have paid rather than the number of weeks in the relevant period.

Example:

A weekly paid employee is taking 2 weeks paid holiday so you pay them 3 weeks wages on the last payday before they take their leave. They then go sick 6 weeks after their holiday. The relevant period for SSP starts on the first day of their holiday. Divide the total earnings actually paid in the relevant period by 6. The earnings represent only 6 weeks wages as you had paid their wages for the first 2 weeks before the start of the relevant period.

Overpaid/underpaid earnings during the relevant period

AWE are always based on all earnings actually paid to the employee within the relevant period, regardless of any over or underpaid wages in that period. Where over or under payments of wages occur within the relevant period, they are treated in the same way as all other earnings paid in that period for calculating AWE.

If incorrect earnings have been paid, which would produce a situation that worked to the disadvantage of either the employer or employee, and there is documentary evidence of an agreement between both parties as to the actual earnings that should have been paid, you should use the earnings agreed to calculate an employee’s AWE.

Where there is no evidence of an agreement, you should calculate the AWE using the earnings actually paid.

Non contractual benefits

Some schemes for childcare support provided by you and made available to your employees may be exempt from PAYE tax and Class 1 NICs such as childcare vouchers. You must not deduct the value of childcare vouchers provided during a period of sickness from SSP. Where an employee agrees to accept childcare vouchers as part of salary sacrifice, their SSP entitlement will be assessed on their gross earnings on which NICs are payable.

Salary sacrifice

If you provide benefits under a salary sacrifice scheme, calculate their AWE using the amount of earnings actually paid to your employee during the relevant period, minus the salary sacrifice.

Calculate SSP including rates

When you have calculated the AWE, work out how much SSP is due and pay it on the same day that you would normally pay wages and for the same period.

A full week for SSP purposes begins with a Sunday and ends at midnight on the following Saturday. The weekly rate for 6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019 is £92.05. If your employee works on the same qualifying days each week, you will pay the weekly rate of SSP for each full week that they are off sick.

For periods less than a full week, pay SSP for a part week, using a daily rate of SSP (weekly rate divided by the number of agreed QDs in that week).

The amount payable that week is the unrounded daily rate multiplied by the number of QDs the employee is sick in that week (not including WDs).

Daily rates table for days of sickness from 6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019

You can either use the SSP calculator or the table below to work out your employee’s sick pay.

Unrounded daily rates Number of QDs in week 1 day to pay 2 days to pay 3 days to pay 4 days to pay 5 days to pay 6 days to pay 7 days to pay
£13.1500 7 £13.15 £26.30 £39.45 £52.60 £65.75 £78.90 £92.05
£15.3416 6 £15.35 £30.69 £46.03 £61.37 £76.71 £92.05  
£18.4100 5 £18.41 £36.82 £55.23 £73.64 £92.05    
£23.0125 4 £23.02 £46.03 £69.04 £92.05      
£30.6833 3 £30.69 £61.37 £92.05        
£46.0250 2 £46.03 £92.05          
£92.0500 1 £92.05            

Daily rates table for days of sickness from 6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018

Unrounded daily rates* Number of QDs in week 1 day to pay 2 days to pay 3 days to pay 4 days to pay 5 days to pay 6 days to pay 7 days to pay
£12.7642 7 £12.77 £25.53 £38.30 £51.06 £63.83 £76.59 £89.35
£14.8916 6 £14.90 £29.79 £44.68 £59.57 £74.46 £89.35  
£17.8700 5 £17.87 £35.74 £53.61 £71.48 £89.35    
£22.3375 4 £22.34 £44.68 £67.02 £89.35      
£29.7833 3 £29.79 £59.57 £89.35        
£44.6750 2 £44.68 £89.35          
£89.3500 1 £89.35            
  • Unrounded daily rates are shown for employers with computerised payroll systems.

Examples:

Employee works QDs in a week Period of sickness PIW Number of WDs Number of days SSP is payable for Total due for that week
Monday to Friday 5 5 5 3 2 £36.82
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 3 3 0 0 0 £0.00
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 4 4 4 3 1 £23.02

Daily rates table for days of sickness from 6 April 2016 to 5 April 2017

Unrounded daily rates Number of QDs in week 1 day to pay 2 days to pay 3 days to pay 4 days to pay 5 days to pay 6 days to pay 7 days to pay
£12.6357 7 £12.64 £25.28 £37.91 £50.55 £63.18 £75.82 £88.45
£14.7416 6 £14.75 £29.49 £44.23 £58.97 £73.71 £88.45  
£17.6900 5 £17.69 £35.38 £53.07 £70.76 £88.45    
£22.1125 4 £22.12 £44.23 £66.34 £88.45      
£29.4833 3 £29.49 £58.97 £88.45        
£44.2250 2 £44.23 £88.45          
£88.4500 1 £88.45            

Examples:

Employee works QDs in a week Period of sickness PIW Number of WDs Number of days SSP is payable for Total due for that week
Monday to Friday 5 5 5 3 2 £35.38
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 3 3 0 0 0 £0.00
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 4 4 4 3 1 £22.12

Help and advice

You can ask a question using HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) email query service.

Alternatively, you can get advice from HMRC’s Employer Helpline.

Published 14 March 2014
Last updated 6 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2018 to 2019.
  2. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2017 to 2018.
  3. Clarification has been added to the section 'overpaid/underpaid earnings during the relevant period'.
  4. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2016 to 2017.
  5. From 27 April 2015 the address you send your completed SP32 forms to has changed.
  6. The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) daily rates from 6 April 2015 to 5 April 2016 for employers calculating SSP manually are now available.
  7. First published.