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Am I entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP)?

If you're unable to work following an accident, you could be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP). This guide explains your right to sick pay and how it can impact a personal injury claim.

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Statutory Sick Pay

If you have suffered an injury or illness, you may not be able to return to work until you recover. That may lead to a loss of wages and financial strain. However, you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) during your time off work.

The government regulates this type of payment, which is a legal requirement for employers in the UK. You must fulfil certain requirements to be eligible for SSP, such as being classed as an employee and on sick leave for at least four consecutive days.

In addition to SSP, you may also be entitled to make a personal injury claim for compensation if you are on sick leave due to someone else’s negligence. If you would like to learn more about Statutory Sick Pay or start a claim for compensation, please don’t hesitate to call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back for a free consultation with an experienced legal adviser.

What is Statutory Sick Pay?

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a form of financial support provided to employees who cannot work due to illness or injury. It is a statutory entitlement established by the government to ensure that employees receive a basic income level during periods of sickness or injury.

You must fulfil several criteria to be eligible for SSP, such as being classified as an employee and being ill for at least four consecutive days. The current SSP rate is £109.40 a week, which your employer is legally obliged to pay you.

This amount is paid for up to 28 weeks in the same way and at the same intervals as your regular wages, such as weekly or monthly. If you continue to be unfit for work beyond this period, you may need to consider other forms of financial support, such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

statutory sick pay

Can I claim Statutory Sick Pay and personal injury compensation?

If you have suffered an injury or illness due to someone else’s negligence, you can still claim personal injury compensation even if you get SSP. That is because the personal injury claim will cover all the damages you would not have suffered had the accident not occurred, such as:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional and psychological trauma
  • Costs of care and assistance
  • Prescriptions and private treatments
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate a disability
  • Lost wages or income

When calculating lost wages or income caused by your accident, the amount of SSP or any other sick pay you receive will be taken into account. For example, if you were unable to work for four weeks, your solicitor would work out the difference between what your usual wages would have been during that period and how much you actually received in SSP. The shortfall in your income would be included in your compensation claim.

A personal injury solicitor will be able to let you know whether you are entitled to compensation and how much you could receive. If you want to discuss your potential claim during a free case assessment, call 0800 678 1410 or use our online claim form to receive a call back.

How much is Statutory Sick Pay?

By law, your employer must pay you SSP if you cannot work for more than four days in a row. The minimum amount of sick pay required by law is a fixed amount of £109.40 per week, paid for a maximum of 28 weeks. However, it will not cover the first three days you were away from work, known as waiting days.

All eligible employees will get the same amount of SSP, regardless of their regular wages and how many days per week they work, as long as their weekly wages are at least £123.

While SSP is a weekly rate of £109.40 starting from 6th April 2023, it is usually worked out daily and amounts to £21.88 per day (£109.40 divided by 5). If you are off work from Monday to Friday, you will only receive SSP beginning from Thursday. Thus, you will receive £43.76 for the two days you could not work.

In addition to SSP, your employment contract might also provide a contractual sick pay scheme. If your employer is willing to, they may still pay you your total wages when you are absent during illness. Or, you may receive your regular salary less the amount of statutory sick pay. There may also be some eligibility criteria for contractual sick pay, such as having worked for at least six months for your employer.

Usually, statutory and contractual sick pay is treated as earned income, so you may have to pay tax and National Insurance on it.

Do I qualify for SSP?

Not every person who has suffered a personal injury and cannot work is entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. You will only receive the £109.40 per week SSP payment if:

  • You are classed as an employee and have already done some work for your employer
  • You have been ill and could not work for at least four days in a row, with non-working days included
  • Your income is at least £123 a week before tax, on average
  • You informed your employer about your injury or illness within seven days or any other reasonable deadline they have set

If you are eligible for SSP, you can receive this payment for up to 28 weeks. It will be paid for all the days you’re off sick, but you would have been expected to work under the terms of your employment contract, minus the first three days you were away from your job (known as waiting days). Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from the first day you take off work only if you are self-isolating due to coronavirus.

How to claim SSP?

To claim Statutory Sick Pay, you must inform your employer as soon as possible that you need to take time off work. You’ll need to do this within the time frame specified by your contract. It is essential that you stick to your company’s policies to avoid any consequences that might interfere with your eligibility.

Your employer may ask for certain information, such as the nature of your illness, the expected duration of your absence, and any other relevant details. If you are off work sick for less than seven days, you can give a self-certification to inform your employer of your condition.

If you are absent for more than seven days in a row, non-working days included, you must give your employer a fit note. This document, which is also called a sick note, could be printed or digital, and you could get it from the following healthcare professionals:

  • Your general practitioner (GP)
  • A hospital doctor
  • A registered nurse
  • An occupational therapist
  • A pharmacist
  • A physiotherapist

If you meet all the eligibility criteria for Statutory Sick Pay, you should start to receive the payment from the fourth day you are sick.

Am I entitled to SSP?

What can I do if my employer doesn’t pay me SSP?

If your employer decides you don’t qualify for SSP, they must provide you with form SSP1, which explains the reasons for the decision. They must provide this form within seven days of your leave and also return any doctor’s notes you gave them.

If you are unhappy with their decision and believe you should get Statutory Sick Pay, you might consider taking the following steps:

  • Try to talk to them and settle the issue directly with your employer.
  • If this doesn’t work, you should raise a grievance with them according to the procedure they have in place, for example, by writing a letter. Your contract should specify your company’s policies on grievance procedures.

The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will also be able to advise you on what to do next. They can let you know whether your employer’s decision not to pay you SSP is fair or an unlawful deduction of wages. You have to reach out to HMRC’s Statutory Payments Disputes Team within six months of when you should have started receiving SSP (you can contact them on the gov.uk website or by calling 0300 200 3500). The HMRC may need the following information from you:

  • Your name, address and national insurance number
  • Your payroll number
  • The name and contact details of your employer
  • The SSP1 form
  • Details of your illness and your employer’s answer

If your employer still refuses to pay you the money you feel you are owed after following the procedures above, you are entitled to take them to an employment tribunal. You must notify the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and try to settle this out of court before proceeding with a trial.

Do I qualify for SSP if I am on a zero-hours contract?

A zero-hours contract is a type of work where the employer does not guarantee a minimum number of working hours for the employee. In other words, the employer is not legally required to provide regular or guaranteed work hours; you are only paid for the actual hours worked.

This arrangement allows employers to bring in workers when needed and gives employees the freedom to work when it suits them. As a zero-hours employee, you are also not obliged to accept every work you are offered.

Employees on zero-hours contracts still have certain employment rights, such as the right to the national minimum wage and paid holidays. You can also claim Statutory Sick Pay if you work on a zero-hours contract and must take some time off due to an injury or illness. That is if you meet the abovementioned requirements regarding minimum weekly earnings, number of days off sick, etc.

However, if you rely on more than one employer to reach £123 per week, you may not be eligible for SSP, as this quota must come from a single employer. On the other hand, you can still receive the payment if you just started your job and have not received eight weeks’ pay yet.

Can I claim benefits while on SSP?

Even if you get sick pay, you could also get Universal Credit to top up your income. This government benefit scheme is available for those who are low on income or unable to work. The main eligibility criteria are:

  • Live in the UK
  • Be over 18 years old, although there are some exceptions for 16 and 17-year-olds
  • Have less than £16,000 in savings and investments
  • Be under the state pension age

The payment you will receive depends on your specific case, such as how much you earn, whether you have children and your savings. Universal Credit is paid monthly, and you could receive:

  • £292.11 if you are single and under 25
  • £368.74 if you are single and 25 or over
  • £458.51 if you live with your partner and are both under 25
  • £578.82 if you live with your partner and either one of you is 25 or over

If you have children, you will get an extra monthly award of £315.00 if they were born before 6th April 2017 or £269.58 if they were born on or after this date.

You may also be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), but only if you are not entitled to SSP. You can apply for ESA if you worked as an employee or were self-employed and paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last two to three years. You could also get Universal Credit at the same time.

When am I not entitled to claim Statutory Sick Pay?

There are strict rules for claiming Statutory Sick Pay if you are unable to work following an injury or illness. Unfortunately, not everyone is entitled to receive the weekly payment. You are not eligible for SSP if you:

  • Do not earn at least £123 per week
  • Are self-employed and do not classify as an employee
  • You have already received SSP for the 28-week limit, and it ended within the past eight weeks
  • Are a member of the UK armed forces
  • Are an agricultural worker
  • Your contract of employment came to an end
  • You are no longer sick
  • Were taken into legal custody
  • You are receiving Statutory Maternity Pay or allowance
  • Are taking time off for an illness related to pregnancy within the four weeks before the baby is due
  • You have given birth in the last fourteen weeks (or eighteen weeks if the baby was over four weeks early)
  • Have been put ‘on furlough’ by your employer because of the coronavirus
  • You were on strike on the first day of illness
  • You have received employment and support allowance during the last 12 weeks

Even if you do not meet the requirements for SSP, there are other benefits you may be able to claim to help you cope with your injury or illness. A personal injury solicitor could also help you claim compensation if your condition was due to someone else’s negligence.

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Nick

Last edited on 17th Jun 2024

With over 15 years in the legal industry, Nicholas Tate has a wealth of knowledge and experience covering all types of personal injury and clinical negligence claims.