Qualifying for SSP – are you entitled?
SSP covers all employees who are aged over 16. It used to end at 65, but not now age discrimination rules have changed. You need to earn sufficient to pay Class I National Insurance contributions. This is often called the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) and this figure goes up each April. You may still qualify for SSP if you are an Agency worker.
If you are self employed, you do not qualify for SSP. You cannot claim SSP if you were on strike before falling ill.
- There is no minimum service qualification, if you work part-time you may still be entitled to SSP, it depends on your earnings. From October 2002, employees on short term contracts can get SSP. Previously if your contract was for less than 3 months you were excluded.
- From 1 October 2006 you can claim SSP if you have continued to work beyond the age of 65. Prior to this date if you were 65 you were excluded from SSP.
- You are not entitled to SSP for the first 3 days of sickness absence – these are called “waiting days”.
- However if you have had a period of sickness in the last 8 weeks (56 days), this could well “link” with your current absence. If the 2 absences do link you will not have to wait 3 days on the second occasion, as your original 3 waiting days still count.
- Employees whose average earnings are below the point at which National Insurance is payable are also excluded
- Employees who have recently drawn a state benefit may well be excluded. You will also be excluded once you have started to claim any Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance.
- Statutory sick pay lasts for a maximum of 28 weeks in any one single period. In order to qualify, you must be absent from work for reasons of sickness or injury for 4 consecutive days.
- Employers are required by law to maintain their records of SSP payments for at least 3 years after the end of the tax year they were paid in.
- If you are off work for more than 28 weeks in one spell, your entitlement to SSP will end. You may be entitled to claim another form of state benefit – contact the DSS for further advice
If you think you have been dismissed because your employer wants to avoid responsibility for paying SSP, this could be an unfair dismissal. Claims can be made to an employment tribunal and you do not require 1 years service. If you need further help Contact our Advice Line
If you have a question about your SSP entitlement, give us a call, talk to your employer or seek advice from the DSS.