Statutory Sick Pay - Rules and Eligibility

Regularly, we are asked by clients to clarify whether or not their employees are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). More often than not the answer is yes however, there are ‘rules’ regarding eligibility.

There are conditions that must be met to qualify for SSP, you must:

·         have done some work for your employer and they must consider you as an employee

·         have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days)

·         earn an average of at least £116 per week

·         notify your employer within 7 days of being ill, or if they have a deadline they must know before then

The following rules are to be considered only if these conditions are met.

Agricultural workers

From 1st October 2013 Agricultural workers in England will be eligible for Statutory Payments.  However, they must meet the qualifying conditions and not be covered by the terms and conditions of the Agricultural Wages Board.

Casual, zero hour contract and agency workers

These workers are treated as employees for PAYE and NIC.  Agency workers are also covered.  The period for SSP depends on whether the employee has had 3 months continuous employment with the employer.  Qualifying conditions must be satisfied.

If your employee has had at least 3 months continuous employment with you:-

SSP entitlement will continue for the whole of the Period of Incapacity for Work.  Qualifying conditions must be satisfied.

If your employee has not had 3 months continuous employment with you:-

SSP entitlement will continue to the end of any assignment they had agreed to work. Qualifying conditions must be satisfied.

Educational term-time workers

Entitlement to SSP depends on the type of contract you have with your employee.

No contract outside of term-times

School holidays are outside of term-times.  Then a worker is not considered an employee.  If that worker becomes ill then they will not be entitled to SSP.


Mariners can get SSP if they or their employer have a place of business in the UK.

Employee with 2 contracts

When an employee has more than one contract with the same or different employers trading in association, and their earnings are aggregated for NICs purposes, they must be incapable of work under all contracts before they can be entitled to SSP.

Employee with more than one job with you

An employee must be incapable of work on all of their contracts, whether those contracts are with the same employer or a different one.  Theycan only get one amount of SSP

Employee working outside UK on first day of a PIW

Period of Incapacity for Work must be calculated in order to determine SSP entitlement.  Employer’s liability to NIC and the employee’s earnings should also be taken into consideration.


Companies incorporated after 1 October 2009

There are new regulations for companies incorporated after 1 October 2009.  There is no need to pass a resolution to determine the pay of a director.  Payments to a director are regarded as earnings for the purpose of SSP.

Companies incorporated before 1 October 2009

A resolution will be required to determine a director’s remuneration.  Any payments made in anticipation of the annual vote cannot be taken into account for calculating Average Weekly Earnings.