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Statutory Sick Pay goes up to support staff

The rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has increased from April 2021 by 50p, to reflect a change in wages. 

The SSP, which has provided a vital lifeline to those required to call in sick due to the COVID-19 crisis, increased from £95.85 to £96.35.

Employees should receive SSP if they are too ill to work or are requested not to come into work due to a contagious condition, such as the Coronavirus. 

SSP is paid by employers for up to 28 weeks, but in the last year, many employers have been able to reclaim the costs of SSP via the dedicated Coronavirus rebate scheme. 

Despite the recent increase, many unions, including the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Unite, say sick pay is too little to live on.

They have called on the Government to increase the rate of sick pay in line with the National Living Wage, which also increased at the start of April. 

According to the OECD, the UK has one of the lowest statutory sick pay rates of any developed country, as a proportion of the average worker’s earnings. However, its coverage lasts longer than in most European nations.

The TUC is calling for the level of SSP paid to be raised in line with the National Living Wage, which stands at £8.91-per-hour for workers aged 23 and over.

Despite calls for the rate to be increased further, a Government spokesman said that there was a “comprehensive package of financial support in place for workers who need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of Coronavirus”.

The spokesman added: “That includes a £500 payment for those on the lowest incomes who have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

“Many employers pay more than the minimum level of statutory sick pay and employers with up to 250 staff can be reimbursed the cost of up to a fortnight’s statutory sick pay.”

The current rules about staff receiving SSP due to COVID-19 are as follows: 

  • You could get SSP if you’re self-isolating because you or someone you live with has Coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive
  • You’ve been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you’ve been in contact with someone with Coronavirus
  • Someone in your support bubble has Coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive 
  • You’ve been advised by a doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery.

If you would like assistance with managing your payroll in light of these changes, please contact your Seymour Taylor representative today or email enquiries@stca.co.uk or call 01494552100 to speak to one of our Payroll team.

This blog is for guidance only, professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. The information was correct at the time of publishing 20 April 2021.