Consultation begins into changes to statutory sick pay
The Government has launched a consultation which could see up to two million workers entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) for the first time. Current rules dictate that employees must earn at least the equivalent of 14 hours at minimum wage per week to qualify for SSP, but the Government is looking at extending eligibility to those earning below this threshold.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We need to remove the barriers that stop people with disabilities or health conditions from reaching their full potential – these steps will help us achieve that.” According to the Department for Work and Pensions, the proposed updates would also cover workers on freelance or short-term contracts, who are often entitled to little or no sick pay under the current rules.
In efforts to reduce the number of people quitting work after an extended period of sickness, the Government is also looking at making statutory sick pay more flexible and allowing phased returns to work while recovering workers continue to receive some statutory sick pay. “This part of the consultation is interesting, because it also proposes offering a rebate to small businesses who help employees return to work,” explains Justin Murray of Norwich accountancy recruitment company, Big Sky Additions. “The Government is also considering changes to legal guidelines which would allow employers to intervene early during an extended period of absence. Employees may even be given the right to request changes to their working patterns, similar to the rules which cover flexible working, to help ease them back into the workplace,” continued Justin, who recruits for full time and part time accountancy jobs in Norfolk and Suffolk. The consultation will run until October 2019 and will assess the impact of the proposed ideas on individuals, businesses and occupational health professionals.
- To qualify for statutory sick pay (SSP) you must be classed as an employee
- Agency workers are also entitled to SSP
- You need to earn at least £118 per week to be eligible for SSP
- You need to have been ill for at least four days in a row (including non-working days) to claim SSP
- SSP is £94.25 a week (July 2019). Some employers offer their own sick pay schemes which may pay more
- The maximum amount of time you can claim SSP for is 28 weeks