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Statutory Sick Pay: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL12157, tabled on 14 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports of ‘long’ COVID-19, what plans they have to make changes to statutory sick pay.

Answered on

27 January 2021

This government has a strong safety net that helps people who are facing hardship and are unable to support themselves financially and we have taken steps to strengthen that safety net as part of the government’s response to the pandemic.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. Employers are legally required to pay SSP to eligible employees who are off work sick or incapable of work, where employees meet the qualifying conditions. Some employers may also decide to pay more, and for longer, through Occupational Sick Pay.

To receive SSP employees must tell their employer that they are off sick before the deadline the employer has set (or within 7 days if they have not set one). Individuals can self-certify for the first 7 days of an absence, without the need to provide their employer with any medical evidence. Where an employee cannot work for 7 or more days’ employers can request medical evidence of their employee’s sickness.

SSP is payable for up to 28 weeks per sickness absence. Sickness absences which are less than 8 weeks apart count as the same period of sickness. In a new period of sickness, employees are eligible for 28 weeks of SSP. As such, where individuals remain sick or incapable of work as a result of coronavirus, they will be eligible for SSP, subject to the usual qualifying conditions.

For those who are sick, self-isolating or shielding due to coronavirus, SSP is now payable from the first day of work missed, rather than the fourth

SSP is just one part of our welfare safety net and our wider government offer to support people in times of need. Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, for example where they are not eligible for SSP, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their personal circumstances.