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Do we have to pay Statutory Sick Pay?

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Michael Legge

There have been a number of email enquiries to the SME Club about Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and whether small businesses can have their own rules and procedures about paying SSP.

It is often something SMEs are unsure of or don’t yet have in place if they are new to hiring staff. In this article, Michael Legge of JMW Solicitors answers this question and confirms when SSP should be paid…

In summary, all employers have to pay SSP if the employee meets the eligibility requirements as set out under Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 as amended. Employees are eligible for SSP if:

The only time SSP is not payable is:

Employers can ask for “reasonable evidence” of incapacity after the first 7 calendar days of sickness absence. Evidence of incapacity can be a Doctor’s Fit Note or a self-certification form confirming the duration of the sickness absence. The employer can determine what is reasonable evidence and is up to the employer to decide whether to accept alternatives to Fit Notes. However, employers need to be aware that they cannot withhold SSP for late receipt of medical evidence only for late notification of sickness.
SSP entitlement will end on the earlier of:

Employers can agree to also pay contractual sick pay which is over and above their SSP entitlement. This is purely a decision for employers to make if they may wish to do so to attract candidates to their business. There is no legal requirement to pay contractual sick pay.

Therefore, employers do not have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to paying SSP unless the individual falls under one of the reasons for not paying SSP as set out above.

February 27th, 2018

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