There are 2 potential sources of sick pay:
- Contractual/occupational sick pay which will be provided for under
your contract of employment; and
- Statutory Sick Pay
Contractual Sick Pay
If your employer has agreed to pay you in the event that you are
off sick, the amount and duration
of any sick pay should be stated in your contract of employment,
staff handbook or written statement of employment particulars.
The amount payable under a contractual sick pay scheme
can exceed the amount payable under the statutory
scheme (see limits below) but it cannot provide for
payment below the level of Statutory Sick Pay.
In the event that you become ill, your contract may specify what
you need to do in order to qualify for contractual sick pay. For
example, you may need to obtain a doctor’s certificate. If you fail/delay in complying
with any requirements set out in your contract, you may lose some or all of your
entitlement to contractual sick pay.
Statutory Sick Pay ("SSP")
Entitlement to SSP is not automatic and it is only payable
in respect of "Qualifying Days".
To qualify for SSP, you must:
- have been off sick for 4 or more days in a row (which included
weekends and any other days that you would not normally work); and
- have average earnings which are at least £95 per week before
tax and National Insurance are deducted; and
- notify your employer that you are sick.
Qualifying days are the days that you are required to work
under your contract of employment. SSP is not payable in respect
of the first three Qualifying days.
If, for example, your contract requires you to work from Monday to Friday and you
become sick on the Monday, your Qualifying Days would be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
If you are still sick on Thursday, you would qualify for payment of SSP from Thursday
If you work on a part-time basis, for example, Monday to Wednesday each week and
you become sick on the Wednesday, your qualifying days would be Wednesday and Monday
and Tuesday of the following week. If you are still sick on the Wednesday of that
following week, you would become entitled to SSP.
Notifying your Employer
If your employer is operating a Statutory Sick Pay scheme,
you need to comply with any obligations which are set out in your
contract to ensure that you obtain payment of Statutory Sick
Pay. If you are unsure of the position, ask your employer to confirm
what you need to do.
What should I do if my employer does not have set rules on sick pay?
If your employer does not have any set rules, then to ensure that you obtain payment
- As soon as possible and no later than 7 days after the
1st day of sickness, notify your employer that you are
sick. Note: if you delay, your employer does not need to pay you sick pay for the
days before you tell them you are sick.
- If requested, complete a self-certificate form for the first 7
days of illness and give/send it to your employer. You can download an "Employee’s Statement of Sickness" form here.
- If you are sick for more than 7 days, your employer can ask you
to provide medical evidence that you are sick. This means that
you may need to ask your GP for a medical certificate eg doctor's note.
How much will I be paid and how will I be paid?
The standard rate of SSP is £85.85 per
week(2012/2013). Payment is subject to deductions for tax and National Insurance
and is payable for a total of 28 weeks in any one period of sickness.
You should receive your SSP at the same time and in the same way you would expect
to receive your normal wages/salary.
What can I do if my employer does not pay me sick pay?
- Check that you have met all the necessary requirements to qualify for payment;
- Ask your employer to explain why they have not paid you sick pay and try and resolve
the matter amicably.
- Consider whether you wish to bring a claim (see below) to recover the payment due.
If you have met all the necessary requirements for payment
of sick pay, your employer’s failure to pay you may
give rise to a claim for Unlawful Deduction from Wages and/or breach of contract.
An Unlawful Deduction from Wages claim can be made to the Employment Tribunal.
The claim must be presented no later than 3 months less one day of the date upon
which you ought to have been paid. If there has been a series of failures
to pay, your claim can be presented within 3 months less one day of the date of
the last failure to pay. For example, if you should have been paid sick pay on 30
June, your claim should be presented to the Tribunal by no later than 29 September.
As an alternative, you could bring a claim for breach of contract in respect of
the failure to pay you sick pay. Such claims cannot be brought in the Employment
Tribunal unless your employment has ended, however, you can bring a breach of contract
claim in the Civil Court within 6 years of the failure to make payment.
Finally, employees seeking to claim SSP and who dispute the employer’s failure to
pay, can register a dispute with the HM Revenue & Customs Disputes Team on 0191
22 55 221.
What can I do if I do not qualify for SSP?
If you are not eligible for SSP your employer should provide
you with a completed SSP1 form. If they do not, ask your employer to
complete one and return it to you. You can download a printable version of the form here.
You can use the completed SSP1 form to support your claim for Employment and Support
Allowance from Jobcentre Plus. The telephone number for Jobcentre Plus is 0800 055
66 88. If you need to use a textphone, the contact number is 0800 023 48 88.
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