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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): general information - when entitlement ends

An employee’s entitlement to receive SSP ends for a number of reasons, such as:

  • they are fit for work (see below) or no longer produce evidence of incapacity SPM110400
  • they have exhausted their entitlement (total 28 weeks) SPM110500.
  • their contract of employment ends, see below.
  • the start of the exclusion period due to pregnancy, see below.

For Agency workers or Short Contract workers, see SPM190200.

If an employer defaults, or is unable to pay SSP because they are insolvent, see SPM181200, liability to pay SSP passes to HMRC. See SPM181100.

Employee no longer incapable of work

SSP is not due after the last qualifying day of sickness.

This is normally when the employee is again fit for work under their contract of employment.

However, they may be deemed incapable for work after they are fit for work, in which case SSP will still be due.

Incapacity may be deemed if a registered medical practitioner states that the employee should not work for:

  • precautionary reasons
  • convalescence
  • they are a carrier of, or been in contact with, an infectious disease.

If an employee returns to work with their employer, for example on a part-time basis, for therapeutic reasons, the days they work cannot be treated as days of incapacity for SSP.

They may, however, still be unfit for work and entitled to SSP with one employer but be working for another employer, depending on the sort of work they are doing.

An employee may be employed part time under medical supervision on supported permitted work as part of their rehabilitation whilst off sick from their own employment. If they do any days of supported permitted work for their own employer, they cannot get SSP for those days. If they do the supported permitted work for another employer they can still get SSP from their own employer.

Contract of service ends

No SSP is due for days of sickness after the end of a contract of service or deemed contract.

For agency workers, see SPM190200.

However, if it can be proved that an employer’s main reason for ending the employee’s contract is to avoid SSP liability, regulation 4 of the SSP (General) Regulations 1982 provides that SSP remains payable until liability ends for some other reason. For example the employee is no longer sick or the maximum 28 weeks SSP has been paid.

SSP during Pregnancy

There is no entitlement to SSP during the Maternity Pay Period(MPP) or Maternity Allowance Period (MAP). This is known as the ‘disqualifying period’.

Incapacity starts outside a period of exclusion but within the maternity leave period

If a woman becomes incapable for work during a period of additional maternity leave (AML) which is unpaid because the MPP/MAP is finished, consider whether she is employed when the incapacity starts.

If she is considered to be employed at the point she became incapable for work, her entitlement to SSP will be decided by applying other qualifying conditions in the normal way, such as her average weekly earnings (AWE) during the unpaid leave period.

While on unpaid leave a person will not normally be required to be available for work so they are unlikely to have any qualifying days for SSP under Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act (SSCBA) 1992, section 154(2) and SSP would not therefore be payable.

If a woman is not considered to be under a contract of service (gainfully employed) there will be no entitlement to SSP as she will not have met the first requirement under SSCBA 1992, section 154, that there is an employer with whom she has a contract of service to pay SSP.

SSCBA 1992 section 163 covers contract of service and who is treated as an employee.

Any days of certified incapacity during the disqualifying period count towards the period after which long term Employment Support Allowance is payable.

Once a woman has agreed a date to return to work (she will be gainfully employed under a contract of service with her employer) her maternity leave period will be bought to an end on her return to work.

However her MPP or MA period will continue to run until the full 39 weeks have expired, even though she may have returned to work. Therefore, if the her first day of incapacity is the day she is due to resume work her entitlement to SSP will be decided by applying the qualifying conditions in the normal way.

The employer will need to ensure that her MPP has expired and that her period of incapacity for work (PIW) did not start within the MPP before deciding SSP is payable.

SSP is not payable if she is still within her MPP and the payment of SMP or MA can be reinstated for any full working week that she is incapable for work.

SSP liability/entitlement ends but the employee is still sick

If an employee’s sickness continues after their right to SSP ends, they can claim ESA.

To make the transfer to the social security benefit as smooth as possible, the employer is required under regulation 15 of the SSP (General) Regulations 1982 to give the employee a completed ‘change over’ form SSP1, or their own computerised version of the form with a blank SSP1, seeSPM110700.

This should be issued:

  • not more than 7 days after the day entitlement ended, if SSP ends unexpectedly and the PIW continues,
  • on or before the beginning of the 23rd week, if SSP entitlement is expected to end before the PIW ends.

They must complete the following details on form SSP1:

  • the first day they were/are no longer liable to pay SSP, and
  • the reason why SSP entitlement has/is ending