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do I have to provide statutory sick pay as a small business owner

Do I Have To Provide Statutory Sick Pay As A Small Business Owner?

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As a small business owner, budget is everything. You don’t have the finances of a larger corporation, so you need to ensure that you keep costs down in order to maximise your profits. When an employee calls in sick, you might be left facing additional costs to cover their absence. This could leave you asking the question ‘do I have to provide Statutory Sick Pay as a small business owner?’.

Whether you’re a small business or a multinational corporation, every UK business is obliged to pay Statutory Sick Pay, or SSP, to eligible employees. This means that even as a small business owner, you have to pay SSP to your employees if they are eligible.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about paying SSP as a small business owner. This includes how to tell if your employee is entitled to receive SSP and whether you can claim the payments back from HMRC.

Who Is Entitled To Statutory Sick Pay?

Most employees are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay for up to 28 weeks if they are off work due to illness or injury for four or more days in a row. To be eligible for SSP, employees must meet the following conditions:

  • Have a contract of employment
  • Work for your company under this contract
  • Have been sick for four or more consecutive days, including non-working days
  • Have earned an average of at least £123 per week during the eight weeks before the period of illness began
  • Provide medical proof of their illness or injury
  • Follow the documented procedure for reporting their absence

Looking for advice on Statutory Sick Pay?

Fill out our contact form or call us on 01244 893776

Can An Employer Refuse To Pay Statutory Sick Pay

Can An Employer Refuse To Pay Statutory Sick Pay?

If an employee meets all of the conditions that are listed above, you have a legal obligation to pay Statutory Sick Pay for up to 28 weeks of sickness absence. This means that you cannot pay the employee any less than SSP, which is currently set at £99.35 per week.

You do not have to pay the employee for the first three days of absence – SSP becomes obligatory from the fourth day of sickness absence. This means that you only need to pay SSP to employees who have been off work ill for four consecutive days or more.

However, those four days do not all need to be working days. For employees that work Monday to Friday, this means that if the absence begins on the Friday, you’ll need to start paying SSP from the following Monday if they are still absent from work.

It’s important to note that employees can “self-certify” for the first 7 days of absence, but any further absence must be supported by medical evidence of their illness or injury. This will usually be in the form of a sick note which they will obtain from their GP. So, if your employee doesn’t provide evidence of their illness, they will not be entitled to receive SSP.

Who Pays SSP: Employer Or Government?

Statutory Sick Pay is an entitlement that most employees will be able to receive if they are off work due to illness or injury for four or more consecutive days. But is this benefit paid directly by the government or by the employer?

Employers are responsible for paying SSP to eligible employees during periods of absence due to illness or injury. This applies whether it’s a small business or a multinational corporation – it remains the employer’s responsibility to pay SSP when required.

Can A Small Business Reclaim SSP?

In the past, small businesses were able to reclaim some of the SSP that they paid to their employees. However, this scheme ended in 2014. This means that all employers are now liable to pay the full amount of SSP to their employees and cannot claim any of this back from the government, regardless of whether they are a small business or a large corporation.

Looking for guidance on Statutory Sick Pay?

Fill out our contact form or call us on 01244 893776

How To Reduce Employee Absence

How To Reduce Employee Absence

Some absences are unavoidable, for example, if an employee requires surgery or has a genuine injury or illness that prevents them from doing their job. However, there are some things that you can do to reduce the level of absence in your business and deter any non-genuine absences.

Here are some practical steps that you can take to reduce employee absence in your business.

1.     Have A Clear Absence Policy

Every business, regardless of its size, should have a clear and comprehensive absence policy. This should set out what constitutes a genuine absence and the process an employee should follow if they need time off work due to illness or injury.

2.     Hold Return To Work Interviews

When an employee returns to work after a period of absence, it’s best practice to hold a return to work interview. This doesn’t need to be a formal meeting – an informal chat between the employee and their line manager or an HR representative is often sufficient.

The return to work interview is a good chance for the employee to discuss their absence and to raise any issues at work that may have contributed to their absence. You can also discuss whether there are any adjustments that could be made to facilitate their return to work and reduce the likelihood of further time off work in the future.

3.     Encourage Work Life Balance

Employees who have a good work life balance typically report a greater sense of wellbeing. Not only does this enable them to perform better at work, but it also reduces the chance that they’ll need to take time off work. Promoting a good work life balance such as ensuring that employees take lunch breaks and are able to work flexibly wherever possible can help to reduce absence levels.

4.     Communication Is Key

As with anything, communication is key. By maintaining an open channel of communication with your employees, you can find out what is contributing to employee absence and work to improve conditions within your business.

In Summary

When you own a small business, every penny counts. This leaves many small business owners asking the question ‘do I have to provide Statutory Sick Pay as a small business owner?’. We hope that this guide has helped to answer your question, as well as giving you some ideas of how you can reduce absence levels in your business and get the most out of your employees.

If you need any further advice on managing employee absence in your small business, we’re here to help. Give us a call to find out how we can assist you in reducing sickness absence and promoting an efficient and positive working environment.

Need advice on managing employee sickness absence?

Fill out our contact form or call us on 01244 893776

About The Author.

James Rowland

James Rowland

James is the Commercial Director at Neathouse Partners. He is responsible for all Account Management, Sales & Marketing within the company. Having gained a BSc in Psychology and further study for his post-grad Law degree, James embarked on his legal career in 2014. Since then, he has become an Associate Director at a national Employment Law boutique, studied for a Masters in Marketing, and as of 2018, been a Director at Neathouse Partners. Outside of the office, James is a keen cricketer, playing very badly (he calls himself a Batsman but averages single figures) in the Cheshire League for Nantwich CC. He also loves watching his childhood football team, Crewe Alexandra, and is an avid lover of cinema (his favourite film being Pulp Fiction). Feel free to connect with James on LinkedIn.
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