Employed, off sick or self-isolating: Claiming Statutory Sick Pay

If you’re an employee and you’re unable to work because you’re sick, or having to self isolate because you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, or you’re shielding because you’re in a high-risk group, you might be able to receive Statutory Sick Pay.

Need to know

To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you must:

  • be an employee, or worker, earning at least £120 a week / £520 a month / £6240 a year before tax in the 2020/21 tax year.
  • have been ill, self-isolating or shielding (and not able to work from home) for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days).

How much will you get?

  • £95.85 per week paid up to 28 weeks in 2020/21.

From when?

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  • If sickness related to Coronavirus (Covid-19) or you are self-isolating - SSP is paid from the first day of sickness/self-isolation. You must tell your employer your absence is Coronavirus related.
  • If you are self-isolating because you have been advised to do so by a doctor or healthcare professional before going into hospital for surgery then SSP is paid from the first day you start to shield OR 26 August 2020.
  • If you are ‘shielding’ because you have a medical condition which defines you as ‘high-risk’ and have received a letter advising you to shield from the NHS or your GP – SSP is paid from the first day you started to shield OR 16 April 2020. This was the date the rules were changed to include people who are shielding.
  • If sickness NOT related to Coronavirus - SSP is paid from the fourth day of sickness.

How do I get it?

  • Your employer will pay you the SSP you’re entitled to. It should be clearly shown on your payslip as SSP.

Useful to know

  • You are entitled to receive SSP even if you work flexibly or irregular hours, providing you earn more than £120 a week/£520 a month/£6240 a year.
  • If you’re self-isolating because someone you live with has coronavirus or symptoms, or you’re shielding, but you feel well enough to work, ask your employer if you can carry on working from home. If you can, you won’t need to claim SSP and can be paid your normal pay. You won’t need to provide an isolation note unless your employer asks for one. If you can’t work from home, you may need to get an isolation note to send to your employer. You can get this from the NHS website or NHS 111 online.
  • SSP is a state benefit paid for by National Insurance contributions. The government has said that smaller employers (with employees of 250 or less) can now reclaim any SSP they pay. So even if your employer is struggling you can still receive SSP.
  • SSP is taxable but if your only income is through SSP you will be below the tax-free amount of £12,500 in 2020/21 you are allowed to earn before you have to pay tax.
  • There are different sick pay rules for some Agricultural workers.

Action to take

  • Look at your employment contract - SSP is the minimum statutory requirement for employed people who are sick or self-isolating. Many employers have sick pay schemes which pay more than just SSP.
  • Talk to your employer – Let your employer know that you are ill or self-isolating or shielding and provide your NHS 111 isolation note or the letter from your GP or NHS advising you to shield.
Find out more about SSP and benefits you might be able to claim if you’re an employee.

Not eligible?

  • If you are employed but not eligible for SSP you may be able to claim Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit.
  • If you are self-employed you’re not eligible for SSP, but you might be able to access the income support scheme and other benefits.
Learn more about the income support scheme and benefits you might be able to claim if you’re self-employed.
  • A lot of the help available is based on your employment status. If you’re not sure, it’s important you find out.
Discover more about the different kinds of employment status.

Test and Trace Support Payment

From 28 September (24 September in Wales), if you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace system, can’t work from home and are claiming:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit

You will be entitled to a payment of £500.

This payment will be made by your local authority, and is expected to be in place by 12 October 2020.

If you are told to self-isolate after 28 September, but before the scheme has been set up, payments will be backdated.

You will have to show proof of your employment (or self-employment) to qualify and checks will be carried out to check you’re unable to work from home.

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