Statutory sick pay is the absolute minimum a company is legally bound to pay an employee if they are too ill to work. Currently, the standard rate is £87.55 per week. Many companies have their own sick pay programme – known as company sick pay – which will offer more than the statutory minimum.
Who is entitled to sick pay?
- Any of your employees who have a contract, including temps and new employees
- They must have been sick for at least four days in a row – not necessarily working days
- They must earn at least £102 per week (as of April 2011)
- They must formally tell you that they are sick
- Statutory sick pay can last for up to 28 weeks
What are the employer’s rights?
You are entitled to ask for evidence of illness after eight days of sick leave. If you offer company sick pay, the terms and requirements must be stipulated in contracts. With the employee’s permission, you can obtain a medical report after four weeks. In some circumstances employers can also end long term sick pay using the SSP1 form, so the individual can apply for Employment and Support Allowance from the government instead.
Absence management and reduction
Statutory sick pay entitlement is vital to staff suffering from genuine illness or injury, helping to keep their head above water in times of great need. Unfortunately, there will also be individuals who try to cheat the system. So, your challenge is to tell the difference – a task made much easier by absence management procedures.
One of the first steps to effective absence management is to invest in HR software, as provided by Peninsula, to record the dates of each absence and the reasons given. Employers can therefore easily spot any cause for concern, and act on it by talking to the employee, and initiating your company policy regarding absences.
It’s important to bear in mind that one of the most common causes of long term absence, and therefore a big drain on company resources, is work related stress. An employee assistance programme can be very useful to employers, offering counselling to improve employee wellbeing, and advice to employers on helping their staff cope.
Absence management and statutory sick pay requirements are not just about saving money for your company – it ensures the money goes to the employees who need it most.
Sick pay entitlement and holidays
There has been a lot of discussion recently surrounding employee holiday pay entitlement and sick leave. In June 2012, an EU court ruling determined that if an employee falls ill just before or during their planned holiday leave, they can apply to convert it to statutory sick leave. The paid holiday leave can then be taken at a later date. However, employees will need to satisfy all the usual requirements to obtain statutory sick pay, including medical evidence of illness.
A new service from Peninsula can help employers stay on top of each employee’s holiday leave and statutory sick pay entitlement – no matter how large your organisation. BrightHR is the new cloud-based service that allows authorised personnel to access a holiday and absence management calendar from wherever they are in the world.
Statutory sick leave and holidays can be sorted by department, time period or individual, so the manager or team leader can see the relevant staffing levels in just a few clicks. Staff can also be authorised to input their own absences and holiday leave requests, and everything is updated in real time so managers elsewhere can keep track. Finally, confidential annotations can be made, and HR advice can be obtained from Peninsula if you have any concerns.