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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): general information - notification of sickness

For entitlement to SSP to be considered, an employee must tell their employer that they are absent from work due to sickness.

Employers can make their own rules as to when and how they are told that the employee is unfit for work but regulation 7(5) of the SSP (General) Regulation 1982 restricts these rules for SSP purposes.

Employers cannot insist that the employee tell them:

  • in person
  • earlier than the first QD of the PIW or by a specified time on the first QD
  • more than once every seven days during the PIW
  • on a document supplied by the employer
  • on a medical certificate, or
  • on a printed form.

If the employer has no rules about notification of sick absence, the employee or their representative must tell their employer of any day they are unfit for work within seven days. If they do this by post they are treated as having given notice on the day they posted it.

Prescribed time limits

The employer should accept that notification was given on time if:

  • the employee does not notify the employer within:

    • the time specified by the employer, or
    • seven calendar days of the start of the incapacity, and
  • the employer thinks there was good cause for delay, if it is given:

    • within one calendar month of the time specified by the employer, or if that is not practicable as soon as it is reasonable practicable, but
    • no later than the 91 days after the first qualifying day in the PIW.

Regulation 7(2) of the SSP (General) Regulation 1982

Withholding SSP due to late notification

The employer can withhold payment of SSP if the notification is given outside of the time limits if they deem there was no good reason for the delay. Section 156(2) of the SSCBA (152 in NI)

It is up to the employer to decide what a good cause is but examples could be:

  • an employee lives alone with no means of contacting the employer to tell them of their illness, or
  • an employee is seriously ill in hospital and there was no one who could tell the employer.

SSP can only be withheld for the number of qualifying days for which notification was late.

SSP withheld does not count towards the 28 week maximum for SSP. Section 156 of the SSCBA (152 in NI)