An employment law guide to statutory sick pay

24th of January, 2012 Bookmark and Share

Statutory sick pay is the bare minimum a company is legally bound to pay a staff member if they are too ill to work. It can last for up to 28 weeks, and the present standard rate is £81.60 per week. Company sick pay – which must be higher than the statutory minimum – is now offered by many businesses as an alternative.

All of your employees who have a contract, even new starters and temps, are eligible for sick pay. They need to formally tell you that they are sick, and continue being sick for at least four days running – not necessarily working days. Their normal weekly pay must also be at least £102.

After eight days of sick leave, the employer is entitled to ask for evidence of illness. Contracts should stipulate the terms and requirements of company sick pay if you offer it. After four weeks, you can obtain a professional medical report if the employee permits it. In special circumstances employers can also end long term sick pay using the SSP1 form, so the individual can qualify for Employment and Support Allowance from the government instead.

Reducing and managing absences

In their hour of need, those suffering from a genuine illness or injury can keep their heads above water thanks to statutory sick pay entitlement. Unfortunately, there will always be individuals who try to cheat the system. Absence management procedures could prove invaluable for employers who need to tell the two apart.

One of the first steps to simple absence management is to install HR software, as provided by Peninsula, to monitor the dates of every absence and the reasons given. Employers can in this way easily spot any cause for concern, and act on it by talking to the employee, and initiating your company policy regarding absences. The calendar also monitors holiday leave taken by employees and ensures they have not exceeded their allocated holiday pay entitlement.

Work related stress can be a huge drain on company resources, because it's one of the most common causes of long term absence. An employee assistance programme can be very useful to employers, providing counselling to improve employee wellbeing, and advice for employers on helping their staff cope.

Absence management and statutory sick pay requirements are not all about making savings for your company – it means the money goes to the employees who need it most.

If you're a member of the media and require any more information, would like to discuss case studies for a particular feature, or be added to our media contact list, feel free to contact Sammual-James McLoughlin, Head of Media, Press and Public Relations at Peninsula Business Services.


Sammual-James McLoughlin
Sammual-James McLoughlin is Head of Media, Press & Public Relations at Peninsula Business Services ( If you are a member of the media and need any further assistance, feel free to contact me.