3. Eligibility

To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you must:

  • be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer
  • have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days)
  • earn at least £112 (before tax) per week
  • tell your employer you’re sick before their deadline - or within 7 days if they don’t have one

Agency workers are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.

Exceptions

You won’t qualify if you:

  • have received the maximum amount of SSP (28 weeks)
  • are getting Statutory Maternity Pay

You can still qualify if you started your job recently and you haven’t received 8 weeks’ pay yet. Ask your employer to find out more.

Linked periods of sickness

If you have regular periods of sickness, they may count as ‘linked’. To be linked, the periods must:

  • qualify for SSP by lasting 4 or more days each
  • be 8 weeks or less apart

You’re no longer eligible for SSP if you have a continuous series of linked periods that lasts more than 3 years.

Fit notes (or sick notes)

You only have to give your employer a doctor’s fit note if you miss more than 7 days of work.

If you’re not eligible or your SSP ends

You may be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you’re not eligible for SSP or your SSP has ended or is coming to an end.

You do this using form SSP1, which your employer will give you:

  • within 7 days of you going off sick, if you don’t qualify for SSP
  • within 7 days of your SSP ending, if it ends unexpectedly while you are still sick
  • on or before the beginning of the 23rd week, if your SSP is expected to end before your sickness does