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Guide to UK Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) 🤒

PAYE tax paid late

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees

If an employee is unable to work due to illness for at least 4 days in a row then the employer is usually obliged to pay Sick Pay at the current statutory minimum rate.

An employer may choose to pay more under their own company sick pay scheme but they cannot pay less.

If the employee remains ill, then SSP is payable for up to a maximum of 28 weeks.

To be paid SSP an employee must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be an employee and have done some work for their employer

  • Earn an average of the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) weekly threshold

  • Have been ill for at least 4 days in a row

  • Notify their employer that they're unable to work within 7 days

HMRC's SSP Guide for employers can be found at:

Does HMRC fund SSP?

No. Since 6 April 2014 HMRC do not repay employers for SSP paid to employees. The cost of SSP is borne by employers, not the UK government.

Can a Company Director claim SSP?

Yes, but in the case of small owner-managed businesses, SSP is a cost to the employer the same as paying a regular wage. Meaning that there is no benefit to a Company Director adjusting their salary to pay SSP.

For example, imagine a Director who is paid the current optimum tax-efficient salary. Let's say that's £1,000 per month. A Director that wishes to claim SSP would only need to reduce their current monthly salary by whatever is payable in SSP in order to maintain the same tax-efficient gross salary of £1,000 (e.g. £400 SSP paid + reduced salary £600 = usual £1,000).

Our recommendation is that small Company Directors do not pay or claim SSP.

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