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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): general information - qualifying conditions for SSP

The qualifying conditions are laid down in

sections 151 to 156 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act (SSCBA) 1992 and

sections 147 to 152 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act (SSCB (NI)A) 1992 and

Schedule 11 of SSCBA 1992 and SSCB(NI)A 1992.

Under section 151/147 (in NI) an employee who satisfies all of the conditions set out in the Act is entitled to SSP from their employer.

Those conditions are that:

  • they must be unfit for work under their contract of employment due to physical or mental incapacity, or have been advised to refrain from work for precautionary or convalescent reasons. Or be a carrier of or have been in contact with an infectious or contagious disease and been issued with a statement from the appropriate medical officer advising them not to go to work
  • the employee must have been incapable for work for at least four calendar days in a row. This is called a period of incapacity for work (PIW). If PIWs are separated by a gap of eight weeks (56 days) or less they ‘link’, and are treated as one PIW. For more information on PIWs, see SPM110500. Section 152 (148 in NI)
  • the days of SSP must fall within a period of entitlement starting on the first day of incapacity. For more information on when a period of entitlement ends, see SPM110800. Section 153 (149 in NI).
  • they must have average weekly earnings (AWE) of not less than the LEL for NICs purposes, for the eight weeks prior to becoming sick. For details on how to calculate AWE, see SPM170100. Section 153 (149 in NI) which refers to Schedule 11 of SSCBA 1992 and SSCB(NI)A 1992
  • the days of SSP must be qualifying days (QDs). There must be a contract of service (employment) or deemed contract of employment between an employee and an employer. The employee must have done some work under their contract with the employer, even if they have worked only for a few minutes on their first day of work. Section 154 (150 in NI).
  • they must have advised the employer that they are sick and unable to come to work within seven calendar days of the first day of incapacity, or in accordance with the company rules, but for limits on rules employers can apply, see SPM110300 Section 156 (152 in NI).