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Am I entitled to sick pay from the state when I am absent sick?

Most workers qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if their employer does not offer occupational sick pay, either at all or, for example, in their first period of service. But SSP is based on a number of rules, including:

  • You must be off sick for 4 or more consecutive days. This is called a Period of Incapacity for Work. All the days you are sick count towards these 4 days, including weekends, holidays and any other days when you would not normally expect to be working.
  • Any 2 periods of incapacity for work that are separated by 8 weeks (56 days) or less are linked, that is, they are treated as one whole period for SSP purposes.
  • Qualifying days are the only days for which SSP can be paid. These are the days you normally work, or are rostered to work.
  • SSP is not paid for the first 3 qualifying days in any period of incapacity for work. For example, if you are sick from Sunday to Friday, and you normally work from Monday to Friday, then the qualifying days are only the 3 normal days of work, that is, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This means you receive just 2 days' SSP that week.
  • You must earn more than what is called the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) for National Insurance Contributions (NICs). If your average earnings before deductions such as tax and National Insurance (NI) are £109 a week or more, the SSP rate is £86.70 a week from April 2013.
  • Part-time workers are entitled to SSP.
  • You must show your employer some evidence that you are sick. For a few days' absence, most employers only require what is called “self-certification”, that is, you complete a form provided by your employer stating when you were off sick, and the nature of your illness.

Your employer can recover the cost of any SSP payments they make to you from the government.