Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is paid to employees who are unable to work because of illness. SSP is paid at the same time and in the same way as you would pay wages for the same period.
As an employer you're responsible for paying SSP to employees who meet certain qualifying conditions.
You'll need to:
Employers may choose to opt out of fully operating the SSP Scheme in favour of their own Occupational Sick Pay scheme.
Period of Incapacity To Work
SSP is only payable if there's a period of incapacity for work (PIW). This is a period of four or more days in a row when the employee can't work because they're sick or incapacitated.
The days that make up a PIW don't need to be working days. If an employee normally works from Monday to Friday and they're sick on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday - then that's a PIW. Similarly if they only work Tuesdays and Fridays but are sick on both of these days and also sick on Wednesday and Thursday then a PIW exists.
The first three qualifying days (days the employee normally works for you) of a PIW are called 'waiting days' and SSP isn't payable for these waiting days. SSP is payable from the first qualifying day after the three waiting days. However, if several PIWs are linked, the waiting days only apply to the first PIW.
These are the employee’s contractual or normal working days. SSP is paid for each qualifying day after the waiting days. You can however decide not to use the contracted working days if, for example, your workforce operates a varied work pattern each week but for simplicity you may want to have the same days each week as the QDs.
Calculating Average Weekly Earnings
The calculation of an employee’s average weekly earnings for SSP purposes simply determines if the employee is entitled to SSP and not how much. In order to qualify for SSP an employee must have weekly average earnings of at least the LEL for NIC, which is currently £123.00 per week.
The current weekly rate of SSP for tax year 2023-24 is £109.40.
Recovery of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
The SSP reimbursement scheme known as the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS) was discontinued with effect from 06th April 2014.
To access this utility, simply click 'Payroll' and select the employee’s name on the left:
If existing payment records have not been recorded in BrightPay or there is insufficient historical payroll data to determine the employee's AWE, the automatic calculation performed by the program after completing the above may be inaccurate or not possible. Where the user otherwise determines that the employee does qualify for SSP, they may override the AWE by doing the following:
The same weekly SSP rate applies to all employees. However, the amount you must actually pay an employee for each day they’re off work due to illness (the daily rate) depends on the number of ‘qualifying days’ (QDs) they work each week.
In the event that a payroll operator is notified of an employee's sick leave status after the pay period in which it falls has been finalised, BrightPay facilitates a retrospective adjustment to be made to the employee's calendar record which will simply pay or refund any SSP difference in the following (or later) pay period.
Examples of scenarios:
Making an SSP adjustment in BrightPay to already finalised pay periods:
BrightPay will then compare the total SSP that should have been paid in previous pay periods against the total SSP that was actually paid in previous pay periods, and will calculate the difference. This difference will then be added to the employee's current open payslip as an SSP carry-over or refund amount.
In addition, any previous payslips which has had some or all of its SSP carried forward to a future pay period will show a green alert explaining what has happened and will reference the amount carried forward.
In the event you don't wish the SSP amount to carry forward, but instead wish to re-open the previous payslip and apply the SSP to this:
Managing sick leave can be a challenge for every employer. It is essential that businesses find the balance between supporting those employees who are genuinely sick and minimising unnecessary absences in order to reduce costs.
Guidance for employers on how to manage sickness absences can be found here.
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