What is Statutory Sick Pay?

Definition of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is the minimum amount of sick pay that an employer must pay to employees who cannot work due to illness.

Employers must currently pay eligible employees a minimum of £95.85 per week Statutory Sick Pay for a period of up to 28 weeks. The government website has more information on who is eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.

Employees must receive at least the statutory minimum and may be paid more if their employer has a sick pay scheme.

Statutory Sick Pay for the self-employed

Limited company directors who are employees of their own company are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). In order to qualify for SSP you must:

  • have been ill for at least four days in a row (including non-working days)
  • earn an average of at least £118 per week

Sole traders and partners in a partnership are not eligible for SSP, but may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

If your illness is not related to coronavirus (see below), you can receive SSP from the fourth day you are off work due to illness. More information is available in our guide on sick pay for the self-employed.

Claiming SSP because of coronavirus

The government has made a few temporary changes to the rules on claiming and paying out SSP in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

Employees (including limited company directors) who cannot work because of coronavirus may be eligible for SSP if they are:

  • self-isolating because they have coronavirus symptoms
  • self-isolating because someone they live with has coronavirus symptoms
  • self-isolating because the NHS or other authority has notified them that they may have come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • staying at home due to a high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

In any of these circumstances, payments will be made from day one of illness, rather than day four.

Companies with fewer than 250 employees are able to reclaim SSP for employees who are unable to work due to any of the above criteria. The refund will be up to two weeks per employee and is paid through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. More information is available in our guide to claiming sick pay during the coronavirus crisis.

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