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SSP is taxable.

There are no additions for dependents.

Unemployed and self-employed people cannot get SSP. If you cannot get SSP, you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance instead. Agency workers are entitled to SSP.


To qualify for SSP you must:

  • Be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer
  • Have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non working days)
  • Earn at least £118 per week (before tax)
  • Tell your employer you're sick before their deadline - or within 7 days if they don't have one

If you are eligible for SSP your employer must give you an SSP1 form within 7 days of your illness. You can use this to apply for ESA instead.


The first qualifying condition for SSP is that there must be an SSP 'period of incapacity for work' (PIW). This means that you must be incapable of doing your job you're employed to do because of sickness or disability for at least 4 days in a row. Weekends and public holidays count - therefore, every day of the week can count towards an SSP PIW, including days when you wouldn't have worked anyway even if you had been fit.

SSP PIWs that are separated by 8 weeks or less are 'linked' and count as one PIW.

Your employer is entitled to ask for reasonable evidence of your incapacity for work.

There are some situations when you will qualify even if you are not actually sick on a particular day. You can be treated as incapable of work for days when you are under medical care in respect of some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and a doctor has advised you not to work for precautionary or convalescent reasons, provided you do not work those days.

You are also treated as incapable of work if you are excluded, abstain from or cure prevented from working (having received the due notice in writing) because you are a carrier of, or have been in contact with, an infectious disease (including certain types of food poisoning).


This just means the actual period of time when you are entitled to SSP. It begins with the start of the SSP PIW and ends when your employer's liability to pay you SSP ends.

Your employer's liability to pay SSP ends if:

  • You are no longer sick; or
  • You have had 28 weeks of SSP, either in one go or linked; or
  • Your contract of employment comes to an end (unless your employer has dismissed you solely or mainly to avoid paying you SSP); or
  • For pregnant women, you are at the start of the 'disqualifying period', which is the 39 weeks during which you are entitled to statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance. If you are entitled to neither, there are two possibilities depending on whether or not SSP is being paid to you: You are taken into legal custody; or You are taken into legal custody; or
    • If you are getting SSP, it cannot be paid beyond the day your baby is born or, if earlier, beyond the first day you off work sick with a pregnancy-related illness on or after the start of the 4th week before the expected week of confinement
    • If you are not getting SSP, it cannot be paid for a period of 18 weeks from the the earlier or either the start of the week your baby is born or the start of the week you are first off sick with a pregnancy-related illness if this is after the beginning of the 4th week before your expected week of confinement; or
  • You are taken into legal custody; or
  • Your linked SSP PIW has spanned 3 years

SSP will also end if your employer no longer considers you to be incapable of work. In this case, you can appeal against the decision.


SSP is only paid for days that are 'qualifying days'. These are normally the days you would have been required to work under the terms of your contract if you hadn't been sick - but they don't have to be.

If your working pattern varies from one week to another, you and your employer can come to some other arrangement as to which days will be qualifying days. As long as you and your employer reach an agreement, you have a free choice of qualifying days - as long as they are not fixed by reference to the actual days you are off sick, and that there is at least one qualifying day in each week.

If you can't reach an agreement with your employer, the qualifying days are the days your contract would have required you to work if you hadn't fallen sick. If it isn't clear which days would be working days in a particular week, the law says that the Wednesday of that week will be a qualifying day regardless.

If there are any doubts about qualifying days, it is important to sort this out with your employer.


SSP is not paid for the first 3 qualifying days of an SSP PIW; these are known as 'waiting days'. However, you do not need to wait another 3 days if you re-claim SSP and your second spell of sickness starts no more than 8 weeks after the end of the first PIW. The different PIWs are linked together and count as one continuous PIW. If different PIWs are linked in this way, your right to SSP in the later linked PIWs depends on your circumstances at the start of the first one.


2019/20 Rates

SSP is £94.25 per week. There are no additions for dependents. To qualify, your average weekly earnings must be at least the level of the lower earnings limit.


This means letting your employer know you are sick and incapable of work. To get SSP you must provide evidence that you are incapable of work if your employer requires you to do so.

These are the rules on notification of sickness laid down in the law and your employer's SSP procedures must conform to them. If you also get occupational sick pay, you'll have to keep to the rules of that scheme to safeguard those payments.

Your employer has to make the rules clear to all the workforce in advance.

Your employer cannot demand notification before then end of the first qualifying day of a period of incapacity for work.

Your employer cannot demand notification in the form of medical evidence. But if you use medical evidence to notify your employer, it should be accepted.

Your employer can't insist you use a special form.

If you post you notification, your employer should treat it as having been given on the day it was posted.

Your employer can't demand notification more than once a week during a spell of sickness.

Your employer must accept notification from someone else on your behalf.

If your employer doesn't make any rules about notification of sickness absence, or the rules don't conform with SSP law, your employer must nevertheless accept notification of sickness on a qualifying day, if it's given in writing no later than 7 days after that day.

Late notification - If your notification of sickness is late according to your employer's rules (and these rules comply with SSP law) you could be disqualified from SSP for any day of incapacity notified late. But SSP can be paid if your employer accepts you have 'good cause' for late notification provided this is given within one month of the normal time limit. This can be extended to 91 days from the day of incapacity if the employer accepts that is was not reasonably practicable for you to contact them within one month. After that time, your employer need not pay SSP for that day even if you have good cause for late notification. If your employer withholds SSP because they do not accept there is good cause for late notification, you can ask the HM Revenue and Customs for a decision.


If you are still sick at the start of the 23rd week of your period of entitlement to SSP, your employer has to complete and send you DWP SSP1 (the changeover form) to help you transfer to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

For more information contact the HMRC Employee's Enquiry Line on 0300 200 3500 (textphone 0300 200 3212) or visit www.gov.uk.


DIAL Disclaimer
Whilst all the information given in this document was correct at the time of going to press, DIAL Doncaster cannot be held responsible for any subsequent changes.


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