Understanding statutory sick pay

What is statutory sick pay and who gets it?


COVID-19: Temporary change to SSP

In Northern Ireland, if the employee cannot work while self-isolating because of coronavirus they could get SSP for every day they are in isolation, from day one. They must self-isolate for at least four days to be eligible. This provision applies in Northern Ireland until 24 September 2022.

Statutory sick pay (SSP) provides a measure of earnings replacement for employees who are off work through illness. Employers must pay this to their employees who satisfy all the qualifying conditions.

You do not have to pay SSP to your employee if you pay wages or occupational (contractual) sick pay to your employee for the same days that they would be entitled to SSP if it is more than, or the same as, the current rate of SSP.

Qualifying conditions for SSP

You must pay SSP to your employee if they satisfy all of the following conditions.

They must:

  • have notified you of their sickness within your own time limits or, if you haven't informed them in advance of any time limits, no later than seven days after the first day of sickness
  • be employed by you and have done some work for you under their contract
  • be sick for four or more days in a row, including weekends and bank holidays - this is known as the period of incapacity for work (PIW)
  • have average weekly earnings equal to or more than the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contribution (NIC) purposes - read about earnings-related qualification for statutory sick pay
  • be an employed earner, ie have earnings on which you are liable to pay employer's Class 1 NICs, or would be liable to pay but for their age or level of earnings

Part-time, temporary, agency or casual workers may also be entitled to SSP, if they satisfy all of the qualifying conditions for payment.

In any one PIW, SSP is payable to the individual up to a maximum of 28 weeks.

Read SSP - GOV.UK guidance.

See Labour Relations Agency (LRA) advice on managing sickness absence.