If you’ve suffered an accident at work, you might be wondering whether you’ll be entitled to sick pay to help financially whilst you’re recovering.
Statutory Sick Pay (also known as SSP) is a payment that your employer is obliged to pay you by law if you have to take time of work due to an illness or injury that stops you from working. This payment, which is currently £95.85 a week (as of February 2021), is payable for the first 28 weeks of your illness as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, which are:
If you are eligible for sick pay, you’ll be paid this from the fourth day of your illness or injury onwards – or, if you’re self-isolating due to contracting Coronavirus, you should be paid SSP from the first day you’ve taken off work. You won’t qualify for SSP if you:
If you’re not entitled to SSP, there may be some other benefits available to help support you during your illness or injury such Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You can use form SSP1 to support your application.
SSP is payable whether you are an employee or a worker – including a casual or zero-hours worker. If you’re an agency worker who has been working for an agency for at least three months, you should be entitled to SSP in the usual way. If you’ve been there less than three months, you should be entitled to sick pay until the end of the last assignment you’d been working on.
Whilst the rules for sick pay in the UK are the same across the whole country, your workplace likely has their own process for reporting sickness – it’s important that you check your contract and stick by your company’s policy to be eligible for sick pay and to avoid repercussions that might be in breach of your employment contract.
For the first week you’ve taken off work, you’ll be able to “self-certify” – this means you won’t need a doctor’s note or similar to prove your illness or injury, but any time after this you’ll need one to be eligible for sick pay.
Generally, if you return to work after an illness or injury and have to take time off again for the same issue, it’s unlikely that you’d need to wait the four days to receive sick pay again as the two cases are linked.
In some cases, your employer might refuse to pay your Statutory Sick Pay, simply through human error or because they’ve questioned whether you’re entitled to it.
If your employer says you’re not entitled to sick pay, you should ask them to give you a written explanation of their reasons. They should give you this on a form called ‘Statutory Sick Pay and an employee’s claim for benefit’ (SSP1). They should give you this within seven days of you going off sick, and they should also return any doctor’s notes you gave to them.
If you still feel that your employer has made the wrong decision and you’re unable to resolve this with them directly, you might like to follow these steps:
The first step is always to try and settle the issue directly with your employer. You should always raise a grievance in line with any grievance procedure your employer has in place, for example by writing a letter.
You’ll be able to find your company policy on grievance procedures in your employment contract, but there are several sources you can turn to for information and advice if you’re not sure what steps you need to take.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will be able to give you advice on what to do next. You’ll need to contact them within six months of the date you should have started getting statutory pay. They’ll be able to tell you whether your employer’s refusal to pay you counts as an “unlawful deduction of wages”.
If you can’t get form SSP1 or a written statement from your employer, they’ll be able ask your employer why they think you’re not entitled to SSP. You’ll need to have this information ready when you to talk to HMRC:
If you follow this procedure and nothing comes of it, you might consider taking your employer to an employment tribunal.
If you follow your employer’s grievance procedure, have gotten HMRC involved and they still won’t pay you money that you feel you’re owed, you’re entitled to take your employer to an employment tribunal.
You’ll need to notify the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (also known as Acas) and go through an “early conciliation” procedure to try and resolve this outside of court. If this fails, you’ll receive an early conciliation certificate and may need to take your employer to a tribunal.
If you’re receiving sick pay, you might wonder whether you’ll be able to make a compensation claim on top of this. Put simply, you will still be able to make a claim for an injury that wasn’t your fault, even if your wages or salary are already covered by sick pay that you receive from your employer.
This is because serious injuries often lead to costs that would not usually be covered even if you were able to work; for example, if you’ve had to pay for:
A specialist injury lawyer will be able to help you understand how much compensation you might be eligible for, and whether your claim is likely to be successful. They’ll also consider how much SSP you’ve received, and account for this in the guideline amount that they think your claim might be worth.
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