Guidance

Work out your employee's Statutory Sick Pay manually

How to calculate your employee's Statutory Sick Pay if you cannot use the GOV.UK calculator.

Overview

You can usually use the GOV.UK calculator to work out how much SSP to pay to your employees. This guide explains how to manually work out how much SSP to pay when you cannot use the calculator (for example, if there has been more than one Period of Incapacity for Work).

You will need to know what the following terms mean to use this guide.

Period of Incapacity for Work (PIW)

This is 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
  • non-working days

If the period of sickness is less than 4 days in a row there is no PIW and you do not need to do anything.

Waiting days

SSP is not payable for the first 3 qualifying days in a PIW, these are called waiting days.

Waiting days are not always the first 3 days of the sickness absence, as an employee may be sick on non-qualifying days (for example weekends).

Qualifying days

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 which days will be qualifying days with your employee. If you and your employee cannot agree the qualifying days use one of the following:

  • the days which you and your employee agree that they are required to work under their contract
  • a Wednesday if there is no named day of work
  • every day of the week except those when none of the workforce are required to work

Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases

Employees who self-isolated before 13 March 2020

Waiting days still apply and you should start paying SSP from the fourth qualifying day.

Employees who self-isolated from 13 March 2020

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.

Waiting days do not have to be served.

Employees who are shielding on or after 16 April 2020

When an employee has a letter from the NHS or a doctor telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks (called ‘shielding’) start paying SSP from the first qualifying day an employee is off work, as long as they are off at least 4 days in a row.

Waiting days do not have to be served.

Employees who are contacted by the NHS through test and trace on or after 28 May 2020

When an employee has been told that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) start paying SSP from the first qualifying day they are off work, as long as they are off at least 4 days in a row.

SSP entitlement ends:

  • after 14 days from the date of the most recent contact with the person who tested positive
  • sooner if specified in the notification

Waiting days do not have to be served.

Someone in the employees support bubble (or extended household in Scotland or Wales) has coronavirus symptoms on or after 6 July 2020

When someone in an employee’s support bubble (or extended household in Scotland or Wales) has coronavirus symptoms, start paying SSP from the first qualifying day they are off work, as long as they are off at least 4 days in a row.

Waiting days do not have to be served.

You should link PIWs and treat them as one PIW if the gap between them is 8 weeks (56 days) or less.

If all 3 waiting days have not been used in the first PIW, use any remaining waiting days at the start of the next or series of linked PIWs.

Decide on the entitlement to SSP by applying the qualifying conditions to the first day on the first PIW. Do not use the start of any later linked PIW.

For example, if an employee qualifies for SSP in the first PIW but their earnings fall below the Lower Earnings Limit of £120, entitlement will continue during the second PIW, despite the fall in earnings.

If they do not qualify for SSP in a first PIW for any reason, they will not qualify in any later linked PIW.

Work out the Average Weekly Earnings (AWE)

AWE must include all earnings on which Class 1 National Insurance contributions are due, or would be due if the employee’s earnings were high enough.

SSP entitlement depends on your employee’s AWE in a relevant period. For the tax year 2020 to 2021 the AWE must be £120 or more.

All earnings paid in the 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. It must be at least 8 weeks before the end of the relevant period.

Example for an employee who is weekly paid

If the first full day of sickness for the employee was 17 June 2020 and their payday is every Friday, the last payday before the first day of sickness was 12 June 2020.

This means the payday at least 8 weeks before 12 June 2020 is 17 April 2020.

The relevant period is 18 April 2020 to 12 June 2020.

  1. Add up all the earnings paid during the relevant period.
  2. Divide the total by 8 (the number of weeks in the relevant period).

Do not round the figure up or down to whole pence.

Example for an employee who is monthly paid

If the first full day of sickness for the employee was 17 June 2020 and their payday is on the last day of the month, the last payday before the first day of sickness was 31 May 2020.

This means the payday at least 8 weeks before 31 May 2020 is 31 March 2020.

The relevant period is 1 April 2020 to 31 May 2020.

  1. Add up all the earnings paid during the relevant period.
  2. Divide the total by 2 (the number of months in the relevant period).
  3. Multiply by 12 (the number of months in the year).
  4. Divide by 52 (the number of weeks in the year).

Do not 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 does not link with the current contract.

An employee’s AWE is worked out differently when 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.

The employee has received an exact number of weeks pay

Work out the AWE by dividing the total earnings before the first day of sickness by the number of weeks in the relevant period.

If an employee received 5 weeks earnings, work out the AWE by dividing the total of the 5 weeks earnings by 5.

The employee has not received an exact number of weeks pay

Work out the AWE by dividing the earnings before the first day of sickness by the number of days in the relevant period.

If an 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.

When the PIW is before any earnings have been paid, use the employee’s 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 £120 or more they will qualify.

The employee has not been paid any wages throughout the relevant period

You must use your employee’s normal earnings as stated in their contract if they are not paid any wages that they are entitled to in the relevant period.

Not paying wages does not mean you are not liable to pay SSP.

Multiple or changed pay frequency in the relevant period

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

  1. Work out 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 an employee’s normal due date, for example due to a Bank Holiday.

A mistimed payment happens when the date of the actual payment of earnings is made earlier or later than the normal contractual payday, such as an annual holiday.

Do not confuse it with a payroll error, when a mistake made in the payroll means there is a shortfall of pay when working out the AWE.

Divide the total earnings 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 takes 2 weeks paid holiday, you pay them 3 weeks wages on the last payday before they take their leave. The employee then goes sick 6 weeks after their holiday.

The 8 week relevant period represents only 6 weeks wages. This is because the week before the relevant period you paid them their weekly pay plus another 2 weeks’ pay in advance of their holidays, which you would have normally made the payment in the relevant period.

Divide the total earnings you actually paid your employee in the relevant period by the number of weeks wages you paid, which is 6.

Overpaid or 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.

When over or under payments of wages happen within the relevant period, treat them in the same way as all other earnings paid in that period for working out AWE.

You should use the agreed earnings to work out an employee’s AWE if both:

  • the wrong earnings have been paid and there is a disadvantage for you or your employee
  • there is written evidence of an agreement between you and your employee of what the actual earnings that should have been paid were

When there is no evidence of an agreement, you should work out the AWE using the earnings actually paid.

Non-contractual benefits

Some schemes for childcare support that you provide and make available to your employees may be exempt from PAYE tax and Class 1 National Insurance contributions, for example childcare vouchers.

You must not deduct the value of childcare vouchers provided during a period of sickness from SSP.

When an employee agrees to accept childcare vouchers as part of salary sacrifice, their SSP entitlement will be assessed on their gross earnings on which National Insurance contributions are payable.

Salary sacrifice

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

Work out SSP, including rates

When you have worked out the AWE, calculate 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 on a Sunday and ends at midnight on the following Saturday.

The weekly rate for 6 April 2020 to 5 April 2021 is £95.85.

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 (the weekly rate divided by the number of agreed qualifying days in that week).

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

Daily rates table for days of sickness from 6 April 2020 to 5 April 2021

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

Unrounded daily rates Number of qualifying days 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
£13.6928 7 £13.70 £27.39 £41.08 £54.78 £68.47 £82.16 £95.85
£15.9750 6 £15.98 £31.95 £47.93 £63.90 £79.88 £95.85  
£19.1700 5 £19.17 £38.34 £57.51 £76.68 £95.85    
£23.9625 4 £23.97 £47.93 £71.89 £95.85      
£31.9500 3 £31.95 £63.90 £95.85        
£47.9250 2 £47.93 £95.85          
£95.85 1 £95.85            

Unrounded daily rates are shown for employers with computerised payroll systems.

Examples

Employee works Qualifying days in a week Period of sickness PIW Number of waiting days Number of days SSP is payable for Total due for that week
Monday to Friday 5 5 5 3 2 £38.34
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 3 3 0 0 0 £0.00
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 4 4 4 3 1 £23.97

Daily rates table for days of sickness from 6 April 2019 to 5 April 2020

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

Unrounded daily rates Number of qualifying days 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
£13.4642 7 £13.47 £26.93 £40.40 £53.86 £67.33 £80.79 £94.25
£15.7083 6 £15.71 £31.42 £47.13 £62.84 £78.55 £94.25  
£18.8500 5 £18.85 £37.70 £56.55 £75.40 £94.25    
£23.5625 4 £23.57 £47.13 £70.69 £94.25      
£31.4166 3 £31.42 £62.84 £94.25        
£47.1250 2 £47.13 £94.25          
£94.25 1 £94.25            

Unrounded daily rates are shown for employers with computerised payroll systems.

Examples

Employee works Qualifying days in a week Period of sickness PIW Number of waiting days Number of days SSP is payable for Total due for that week
Monday to Friday 5 5 5 3 2 £37.70
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 3 3 0 0 0 £0.00
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 4 4 4 3 1 £23.57

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

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

Unrounded daily rates Number of qualifying days 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            

Get help and advice

Contact the HMRC Employer helpline if you have any questions about working out SSP.

Published 14 March 2014
Last updated 11 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Information about when someone in the employees support bubble (or extended household in Scotland or Wales) has coronavirus symptoms on or after 6 July 2020 has been added.

  2. New guidance added for employees who have been contacted by NHS test and trace system.

  3. Rates and examples for the 2020 to 2021 tax year have been updated.

  4. We've added guidance for employers whose employees are 'shielding'.

  5. The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rates for 2020 to 2021 have been added.

  6. Information added on how to deal with Statutory Sick Pay for employees self-isolating due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

  7. Page has been updated with new tax year changes from 6 April 2019.

  8. Change to Average Weekly Earning for tax year 2018 to 2019.

  9. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2018 to 2019.

  10. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2017 to 2018.

  11. Clarification has been added to the section 'overpaid/underpaid earnings during the relevant period'.

  12. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2016 to 2017.

  13. From 27 April 2015 the address you send your completed SP32 forms to has changed.

  14. The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) daily rates from 6 April 2015 to 5 April 2016 for employers calculating SSP manually are now available.

  15. First published.