Employers are responsible for paying statutory sick pay (SSP) to
employees who are absent from work due to sickness or disability.
SSP is due for the first 28 weeks the employee is off work.
Entitlement to SSP does not depend on the sick employee's National Insurance contribution record.
The SSP scheme does not affect an employee's right to occupational sick pay (see EIM06400). But SSP can be offset against any occupational sick pay payable for the same period. Where the occupational sick pay is greater than the SSP, the employer will only pay the rate of occupational sick pay. If the SSP is greater than the occupational sick pay, the employer will pay the rate of SSP. Both SSP and occupational sick pay are taxable.
SSP is not a social security benefit funded by the State. It is
a mandatory provision under Social Security law. Broadly SSP is a
measure of earnings replacement paid by employers to employees
whilst they are unable to work through illness administered and
mainly funded by employers. Section 151 of the Social Security
Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 requires the employer to make
the payments. This means that payments of SSP are charged to tax as
employment income. SSP is not payable after an employment ceases
except in rare circumstances.
The employee’s right to receive SSP depends on statute rather than the contract of employment. In very limited circumstances HMRC pays SSP direct to the sick employee. EP1171 explains what to do when this happens. Where payments of SSP are not made by the employer, for example when HMRC take over payments, Section 660 ITEPA 2003 ensures that the payments are charged to tax as social security income.
National Insurance contributions are payable on SSP.