Statutory Sick Pay – Simplification of proceduresMonday, July 14th, 2008
Amendments have been made to the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982 that make it possible for the administration of SSP to be simplified in two respects from 27 October 2008.
1. Requirement to provide SSP history on form SSP1. Exclusion form SSP1 is completed by an employer and given to a sick employee when the employee does not qualify for SSP or has been receiving SSP but no longer qualifies to receive it. The information that the employer has to enter on the form to enable the employee to make a claim for incapacity benefit (IB) is specified in the Regulations. In order to determine entitlement to IB, the employer has to provide detailed information about the SSP already paid to the employee, the employee’s qualifying days and SSP payment history.
From October 2008, IB will start to be replaced by a new benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). It will be paid to individuals who
- have an illness or disability,
- have not claimed IB within the past 2 years, and
- are not entitled to SSP or are no longer entitled to SSP.
However, unlike IB, the level at which ESA is paid will not depend on the length of an employee’s sickness absence.
ESA will be paid to new claimants from 27 October 2008 but IB will continue to be paid to individuals who retain entitlement to it under the linking rules. As a result, form SSP1 is being amended from October 2008 so that ongoing entitlement to IB or ESA is shown as the reason why the employer cannot pay SSP. As the employee’s SSP history is no longer relevant for ESA, the new form will no longer require the employer to enter the history details. The amended Regulations, therefore, require the employer to provide simply
- the reason why SSP cannot, or can no longer, be paid, and
- the date of the last day for which the employer was liable to pay SSP to the employee.
2. Requirement to issue form SSP1(L) to pass to new employer. If an employee falls sick after starting work for a new employer and had been paid SSP by the previous employer within the 8-week linking period, the new employer is required to take into consideration the length of the earlier period of sickness so that payment of SSP stops when the 28-week maximum is reached. To enable this to happen, the previous employer is required to issue a form SSP1(L) Leaver’s Statement of Statutory Sick Pay if the employee asks for one. As the highest rate of IB is more than the rate of SSP, it would be in the interests of some employees to have their period of sickness with the previous employer included so that they can receive the higher rate of IB earlier than they would otherwise receive SSP.
However, as it is not beneficial to most employees to ask for a form SSP1(L) and give it to their new employer, the form is hardly ever used. As a result, the government has decided to discontinue its use altogether from 27 October 2008. Any period of SSP with the previous employer will no longer be used by the new employer. An employee’s maximum 28-week entitlement to SSP will depend entirely on periods of incapacity for work with the new employer.
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