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Statutory Sick Pay: OECD Countries

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL2286, tabled on 22 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the rate of statutory sick pay in the UK of £95.85 per week is lower than the average of other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; and when they plan they address this issue.

Answered on

29 July 2021

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. It is paid by employers at £96.35 per week for up to 28 weeks in any one period of entitlement. 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.

The costs of SSP are met in full by employers. It is therefore important to strike a balance between ensuring employees receive financial support when they are sick or incapable of work with the costs to employers of providing such support.

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, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their personal circumstances.

The government has previously consulted on reform to SSP, and as we learn to live with a new virus there is space to take a broader look at the role of SSP. The government maintains that SSP provides an important link between the employee and employer but that now is not the right time to introduce changes to the sick pay system.