When staff are sick, occasionally it can have a significant impact on the business output and productivity, therefore it is important to understand the concept behind Statutory Sick Pay. (SSP). Please note the below refers to SSP UK.
SSP is the amount that you would pay to staff when they are too sick to work. This period begins after four days of sickness in a row which is the “period of incapacity for work”.
The below guide answers the questions you may have about statutory sick pay and sick pay entitlements, with advice from employment law solicitors at KLG.
Is sick pay a legal requirement?
If you work and not self-employed, you are legally entitled for SSP or sick pay entitlements if you:
- Have started work with your employer
- Are sick for 4 full days or more in a row (including non-working days)
- Earn on average at least £120 per week (before tax)
- Are not in one of the ineligible categories
- Follow your employer’s rules for getting sick pay
SSP is under the following legislation:
- Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982
- Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992
SSP for part time workers
Even if you work part-time or on a fixed-term contract you still would be eligible for SSP.
To calculate what you owe to a part-timer, you would need to divide the weekly rate of £95.85 by the number of qualifying days in a week.
You then multiply that by the number of days an employee has entitlement to.
How does sick pay work?
If an employee is off sick more than four days in a row, they would be legally entitled to claim sick pay from their employer.
Typical company sick pay schemes
The typical company sick pay scheme will vary from for different employers. Typically, the sick pay scheme would start after a minimum period of service. This could be for example after a three-month probationary period. You may receive normal pay during a certain period and the employer is likely to pay half for another period before it becomes unpaid.
Can I dismiss an employee who is off sick?
If the employee is constantly sick or has any long-term illness that prevents them from doing their job, you may be able to end their contract of employment. This would need to be handled in the right manner and ensuring there are no legal complications. It is important that the employee is dismissed in a fair manner.
It is also important for businesses to set up a sickness absence policy, this would be beneficial in establishing the point where the member of staff would need a formal review if the employee breached procedures.
When dismissing an employee on long term sick leave, it would be in your legal rights to do so. Long term sickness is usually a period of four weeks or more. ACAS suggests if an employee is off sick and they are able to attend disciplinary meetings the employer would need to make these reasonable adjustments. This can be by even meeting the employee at their home. Employees would still be able to appeal this decision.
Sick notes and sick note rules
Staff are able to self-certify themselves for the first seven days. If the absence is longer than seven days, employees can ask the employee for a sick note, also known as a fit note from the GP or hospital doctor.
If the illness exceeds the maximum 28 weeks, the employee can revert to their annual leave days.
The employee can also receive benefits from the government—you should make sure your employee knows this is the case. Always refer them to the benefits calculator if they need assistance.
How can KLG hep?
KLG is an employment law firm offering employment law services for employers and employees. Our services include a service called ‘HR at your doorstep’, enabling us to give HR legal advice on all aspects of HR related matters including staff sickness.
We would be able to help draw up workable contracts for sickness pay and conditions. Please call us on 0330 221 0684for immediate help, or contact us via our website for more guidance from employment law specialists.
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