Guide to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) | ™
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Guide to Statutory Sick Pay

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. Here’s our guide to statutory sick pay.

What is statutory sick pay (SSP)?

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a payment that your employer is obliged to pay you by law if you have to take time of work (sick leave) due to an illness or injury that stops you from working. This payment, which is currently £116.75 a week (as of May 2024), is payable for the first 28 weeks of your illness as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, which are:

  • You must have been off sick for at least four days in a row (including non-working days)
  • You earn on average at least £123 a week, before tax
  • You have informed your employer of your illness within any deadline the employer has set or within seven days

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:

  • Are self-employed
  • Are in the armed forces
  • Earn less than £123 per week
  • Are receiving statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance
  • Have a pregnancy-related illness within the last four weeks of your pregnancy
  • Have already had statutory sick pay for 28 weeks and it ended within the last eight weeks
  • Have been put ‘on furlough’ by your employer because of the Coronavirus

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.

Find out more about making a work accident claim

Can I claim sick pay on a zero hours contract?

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.

Process for claiming sick pay

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.

Find out more about holiday sickness compensation.

What can you do if your employer doesn’t pay you SSP?

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 want to follow these steps:

Raise a sick pay grievance with your employer

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.

Contact HMRC’s Statutory Payments Disputes Team

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:

  • your name, address and national insurance number
  • your employer’s name and contact details
  • your payroll number
  • details of when you were off sick and what your employer said when asked for sick pay and the SSP1 form

If you follow this procedure and nothing comes of it, you might consider taking your employer to an employment tribunal.

Employment tribunal for sick pay

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.

Sick pay and personal injury

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 e.g. under your company sick pay scheme.

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:

  • Expensive medication
  • Specialist care for your recovery
  • Adaptions made to your car or home in the instance of disability

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.

To find out whether you could be eligible to claim compensation, or for free advice about securing compensation for an injury claim, get in touch with a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438, or request a call back, and start your claim process today.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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