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Statutory Sick Pay – Your Responsibility From Day One

Statutory Sick Pay – Your Responsibility From Day One
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Managing Director

Statutory Sick Pay has always been the responsibility of the employer and it's always been payable to eligible workers after 3 days of sickness that results in absence from work. That is, 'always' until coronavirus came along and changed it all. However, those changes are now wearing off and things are returning to normal. Are you ready?

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a mandatory payment made to employees for time taken away from work as a result of sickness. Traditionally, it is paid after a third  day off sick, but during the pandemic, if the worker was sick with COVID, they were entitled to SSP from the first day of absence. Until recently, the government carried the burden of that cost. However, things have now changed.

To be eligible for SSP, a worker must be classed as a worker and have completed some work for the employer, earn a minimum of £120 per week, and been off work for three consecutive days. There are some exceptions to this, such as if the worker is on Maternity Pay or is having to self-isolate due to returning to the UK from abroad, in which case, they are not eligible for SSP.

SSP is paid out at £96.35 per week for up to 28 weeks. The cost of SSP has historically been borne entirely and solely by the employer. In an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, the government brought in legislation that meant workers with COVID symptoms would be eligible for sick pay from the first day of their illness rather than the fourth and would allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim some if not all of the SSP paid out. This was known as the coronavirus statutory sick pay rebate scheme (SSPRS). On the 30th of September, the government SSPRS came to an end, and the onus of payments returned to the employers. However, the three-day waiting period has yet to be reintroduced, so employers are still required to pay SSP from Day 1 of the illness/absence from work. The three-day waiting period is not due to be reinstated until the 25th of March 2022.

It is vital to note; employers only have until the 31st of December 2021 to claim back SSP paid out to staff who were off sick with COVID before the 30th of September. Therefore, any claims made after the 31st of December will not be valid.

The 30th of September saw a range of other coronavirus support packages come to an end, including the furlough scheme, requiring businesses to start paying the total cost of their wages bill once more. To support the leisure and hospitality sector, which the lockdowns had so significantly impacted, VAT had been lowered to 5% for food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation, and entry fees to attractions. On the 30th of September, VAT on these items was raised to 17.5%. Given workers in this sector are also significantly more likely to be exposed to viruses and bugs than office-based workers due to their proximity to multiple people over extended periods, the 30th of September will have been rather a black day for employers in this sector.

In many ways, the world is starting to get back to ‘normal’ after the complete oddity that was 2020 and clearly, we have some ways to go. Changes to legislation were made so frequently, and with such pace, it was tricky keeping up with them when they were being implemented. Now, the challenge will be to keep track of those changes being reversed and the implications of it all. For example, if your payroll software has been amended to include the payment of SSP from Day 1, you’ll need to remember to move it back to Day 4 when the time comes! Then, of course, it could be the rules around SSP may change again specific to coronavirus should it continue to be the virulent and dangerous force it has proven so far. All we can do is watch this proverbial space!


If you would like some help as we head off to the ‘new normal’, why not join me on the Weekly Employer’s HR Conference Call each Wednesday at 11 am for one hour? It’s a free forum where business owners and HR Managers get together to discuss the latest topics in HR and share their challenges and experiences. Email: [email protected] for your link. Additionally, each Thursday at 10 am, Kimberly Bradshaw and myself present HR in 10, a ten-minute run-down of the week’s most important events happening in HR. HR in 10 airs live on YouTube, and the recording is there to watch afterwards should you miss it.

ASL Recruitment was established in 1999 and has been serving Hastings and the surrounding area ever since, placing temporary and permanent roles across various sectors including Industrial and Manufacturing, Legal, Finance, Marketing, Technology and Office Support, from junior up to board level. Our co-founder and Managing Director, Jason Perry, is an HR specialist and a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. For further information on our recruitment or consultancy services, email [email protected] or call us on 01424 452999.