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Understanding Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) In The UK

Feeling sick can stress you out, especially if it means missing work. Did you know in the UK, there’s something called statutory sick pay (SSP)? Our guide explains how SSP helps by giving money to employees who can’t work because they’re ill.

Keep reading to find out all about it.

Eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

A female employee at her desk appears unwell and is planning maternity leave.

To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you need to meet certain criteria as an employee in the UK. This includes considerations for part-time or agency workers, those on maternity leave, and individuals with zero-hour contracts.

Criteria for employees

To get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in the UK, employees must meet certain requirements. First, you need to be working for an employer and have been ill for more than 4 days in a row. This includes non-working days.

Your average earnings should also be at least £116.75 per week before tax. SSP is a help from your boss when you’re too sick to work and is paid for up to 28 weeks.

Employees who are on maternity leave or those who work part-time can still qualify for SSP if they meet these criteria. Even workers with zero-hour contracts can get SSP as long as their earnings are enough and they’ve been off sick for the required time.

National insurance contributions do not directly affect eligibility but having your national insurance number handy speeds up the process with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Remember, whether you get this pay depends on how much you earn and your job situation.

Maternity leave

If you are on maternity leave, you can’t get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) because maternity pay covers this time. Your employer pays you to stay home with your new baby for a set amount of weeks.

This is because the law sees sickness differently during maternity leave.

After your baby arrives and your maternity pay stops, you might qualify for SSP if you’re too sick to work. You need to meet the same rules as other workers. These include having worked for your employer for a certain time and earning enough money.

Check the latest rates and rules on SSP to see if you qualify after returning from maternity leave.

Part-time or agency workers

After discussing maternity leave, it’s crucial to cover rules for part-time or agency workers. These employees also have rights to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as long as they meet certain conditions.

Part-time or agency workers need to earn at least £116.75 a week to qualify for SSP. This rule ensures that even those who don’t work full-time can get financial help if they’re too ill to work.

For those working through an umbrella company or on zero-hour contracts, the situation is similar. They must prove they’ve been ill for more than four days in a row, including non-working days, to start receiving SSP from their employer.

The support lasts up to 28 weeks and provides a safety net regardless of the contract type or hours worked. This setup shows the UK Government’s commitment to worker welfare by extending this benefit across different types of employment statuses.

Zero-hour contracts

People with zero-hour contracts can also get SSP if they meet certain conditions. They must earn at least £116.75 a week on average and have been off work sick for more than 4 days in a row.

This includes their time off, not just scheduled hours. It’s important for workers on these contracts to keep track of their earnings and sickness days.

Applying for SSP involves talking to your employer and filling out some forms. Your employer might ask you to prove you’ve been sick by getting a note from your doctor after 7 days off work.

Keep all documents safe as you might need them later.

Applying for Statutory Sick Pay

To apply for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), understand the pay and sick leave while working fewer hours, returning to work after maternity pay, hospitalisation with multiple employers and rights during a strike.

Learn about pension implications and international matters. For further detailed information on SSP applications, read our blog post!

Pay and sick pay while working fewer hours

If you work less because of sickness, your pay might change. Your employer must pay you £116.75 per week if you’re too ill to work full-time. This rule is for up to 28 weeks of sickness absence from jobs in the UK.

To get this sick pay, your usual earnings need to be high enough over a certain period.

In some cases, like with zero-hours contracts or part-time work, figuring out SSP can be tricky. The law says all employees have the right to SSP if they meet the conditions, no matter how many hours they normally work.

You will receive SSP based on the days you usually work and how much you earn.

Next, we look at what happens when returning to work after receiving maternity pay.

Returning to work after receiving maternity pay

After getting maternity pay, you can go back to work. Your job must be the same as before or very similar. Talk to your employer about when you will return. You should do this early to plan better.

If you worked part-time before, you have the right to go back to part-time work.

Sometimes, health issues might make going back hard after having a baby. If so, SSP is there for you. Check how much SSP you can get and for how long. Also, look into other help like income support if needed while adjusting back to work life.

Hospitalisation and multiple employers

Moving from maternity leave back to work, another important topic is what happens if you’re hospitalised and have jobs with more than one employer. If you find yourself sick enough to go to the hospital and you work multiple jobs, it can be tricky.

You must tell each of your employers about your situation as soon as possible. Each job might treat your sick leave differently based on their policies.

To get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you need to qualify at each job you have. This means checking if your earnings are enough and if you meet other rules like how long you’ve been ill.

Sometimes, being in the hospital can affect how SSP gets worked out. You might still get SSP from one employer but not another, depending on these details. It’s key to know that SSP is paid by employers for up to 28 weeks, giving some financial help when needed most.

Receiving pension or on strike

If you’re receiving a pension while employed, you can still be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you meet the criteria. Your SSP will be based on your average weekly earnings before falling ill, up to a maximum of £116.75 per week.

However, if you get more than the basic state pension amount, it may affect your entitlement to SSP. Similarly, if you are on strike and fall sick during this time, you may still qualify for SSP as long as other eligibility requirements are met.

After evaluating key factors such as weekly income and pension amounts in conjunction with government guidelines regarding SSP eligibility during retirement or strikes , it is vital for individuals in these situations to review their specific circumstances to determine potential impact on entitlements and apply accordingly.

Disputes with Employers

If your employer refuses SSP, you have rights to challenge their decision. You can appeal a tax ruling if it affects your sick pay entitlement.

What to do if your employer denies SSP

If your employer denies SSP, you can seek advice from ACAS, a free and impartial advisory service. Additionally, consider contacting the Health and Safety Executive if there are concerns about workplace safety leading to illness or denial of SSP.

It’s essential to keep records of all communication with your employer regarding SSP denial for potential future resolutions.

Moving forward, understanding your rights and the available recourse is crucial in such instances.

Next: Other Implications of SSP

How to appeal a tax decision

If you disagree with a tax decision, you can appeal to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You must do this within 30 days of the decision. Provide any evidence or documentation that supports your case.

If unsuccessful, you can take your appeal to the First-tier Tribunal Tax Chamber. This is an independent body that hears appeals against HMRC decisions. Ensure you have all necessary paperwork and understand the deadlines for each stage of the appeals process.

Keep in mind that tax laws and regulations are subject to change, so seek up-to-date advice from a qualified professional or use official government resources when appealing a tax decision.

Rights for workers in the gig economy

Expanding on the rights for workers in the gig economy, it’s essential to recognise that individuals engaged in this sector are often considered self-employed. This means they aren’t entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) as provided by traditional employers.

Instead, gig workers must rely on other forms of support such as contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if they have paid enough National Insurance contributions. Furthermore, workers in the gig economy should consider obtaining appropriate insurance coverage or seeking alternative financial protection arrangements during periods of illness.

Moreover, it’s imperative for gig economy workers to stay abreast with tax implications and seek professional advice regarding access to benefits like Universal Credit during sickness absence.

Understanding these aspects is crucial for their financial security when unable to work due to illness; therefore, staying informed about legal entitlements and avenues for support can significantly benefit individuals working within the dynamic landscape of the gig economy.

Other Implications of SSP

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) may affect your tax contributions, impact your eligibility for National Insurance credits, and have implications on your state pension. Find out more about these effects by delving into the details of SSP.

Tax implications for employees

Employees receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) may have tax implications. The SSP is subject to both income tax and national insurance contributions (NIC). If the employee’s total income, including SSP, falls below their personal allowance level, they may not have to pay any tax on it.

However, NICs are payable once the employee earns above a certain threshold.

Moreover, employees in receipt of SSP can still receive National Insurance credits toward their State Pension if they meet specific criteria. It’s essential for employees to understand how SSP affects their overall taxation and pension entitlements.

NIC credits for employees

Employees on Statutory Sick Pay in the UK can receive National Insurance credits, which count towards their State Pension eligibility and other benefits. These credits help maintain an employee’s National Insurance record when they are off work due to illness, ensuring that their entitlements for benefits and the State Pension are protected.

For instance, if an employee is receiving SSP due to illness or incapacity and has been employed before falling ill, they will continue to receive NIC credits for as long as they are off sick.

This means that even though employees may not be earning enough to pay National Insurance contributions while on SSP, their ability to qualify for certain state benefits such as the State Pension is safeguarded through these NIC credits.

Additionally, it should be noted that receiving NIC credits while on SSP can have implications for qualifying for other state benefits such as Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Child Tax Credits, or Working Tax Credits.

Therefore, every eligible individual on SSP should carefully consider how obtaining NIC credits could affect their entitlements to these government provisions.

State pension and international matters.

Now, let’s discuss how Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) affects state pension and international matters. Regarding the state pension, it’s important to note that receiving SSP counts as a National Insurance contribution for your state pension if you earn over £120 per week.

For international matters, if you are working abroad but still paying Class 1 NICs in the UK – for example, if you work on a ship or for a European employer – then your contributions can count towards your eligibility for certain social security benefits in the country where you’re working.

It’s advisable to seek advice from the relevant authorities both in the UK and internationally to understand how SSP may affect your entitlements.


Understanding statutory sick pay (SSP) eligibility and application process is crucial. It provides financial assistance to employees unable to work due to illness up to 28 weeks. The minimum payment by employers is £116.75 weekly, but the amount can change.

As disputes with employers regarding SSP can arise, knowing your rights is essential. Additionally, being aware of tax implications and NIC credits linked to SSP is vital for employees in the UK.


1. What is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in the UK?

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is a type of pay that workers can receive if they are too ill to work. It’s part of the payroll and PAYE system.

2. How does SSP affect my tax residence status or liability?

Receiving SSP doesn’t directly impact your tax residence or liability, but it may be considered when calculating income-based taxes like capital gains or dividend income.

3. Does SSP apply to different types of employment contracts, including zero hours contracts?

Yes, all employees have a right to SSP regardless of their employment contract – even those on a zero-hour contract are eligible pro rata.

4. As an employer, do I need to consider anything else apart from SSP for my employees’ payroll?

As an employer, you should also take into account pensions and holiday pay in addition to statutory payments like SSP and statutory maternity pay while managing your payroll.

5. Are there any other legal considerations related to employee sick days and payment?

Apart from understanding double taxation rules and performing criminal record checks where necessary; employers must ensure they comply with general register office guidelines when handling employee records related to sick days.