There is often confusion regarding sick pay during notice periods, this blog will help employers to understand their legal obligations better. Employees qualify for statutory sick pay (SSP) if they are employed under a contract of employment, are incapable of working for a period of 4 or more consecutive days (also known as a ‘period of incapacity for work’) and earn at least the lower earnings level for national insurance contributions, currently set at £118.00 per week.
The rules surrounding sick pay are complex and go beyond the scope of this blog. Did you know that legally employers cannot request medical evidence for the first 7 days of sickness absence?
Employees are entitled to receive SSP for a maximum of 28 weeks in respect of one period of incapacity for work, however, this may be linked to another period if it falls within 56 calendar days. Currently, the rate paid for SSP is £94.25 per week.
Employees will only be entitled to more than the current rate of SSP if an employer provides for this in their contract of employment. If this is the case, the contract must be clear in respect of the details and payment due to the employee.
Some employers believe that if an employee is receiving SSP and is on notice that they will receive sick pay during notice, however, this is not always the case. The Government website informs employees that they are entitled to full pay during their notice period and employees will check their rights!
So what payment is an employee entitled to during their notice period? It all depends on the wording in the employee’s employment contract.
The right to full pay will not apply if the employee’s contractual notice periods exceeds the statutory notice period by at least one week.
Statutory Notice Periods
After one month’s employment, an employee is entitled to one week’s notice period for each complete year of service up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
These are two simple examples; employers must be careful to read the wording of the contract and apply that correctly when making payment to an employee during their notice period.
Contractual notice period exceeds the statutory notice period
An employee has been employed for 3 years and contractually is entitled to 8 weeks’ notice. The statutory notice period is 3 weeks and the contractual period exceeds that by 5 weeks, therefore the employee is not entitled to full pay during their notice period.
The employee will still be entitled to SSP payments during their notice period if they have not been exhausted. If SSP has been exhausted then no payment will be due to the employee.
Contractual notice period is less than the statutory notice period
Where an employee is only entitled to the statutory minimum notice period and is in receipt of SSP or has exhausted all of their entitlement to SSP – the employee is entitled to normal pay for their notice period.
If you have the responsibility of HR in addition to your current role, why not consider outsourcing to us? We offer a tailored HR service to suit your requirements at a fraction of the cost of an HR Manager, and this will free your time to focus on what you do best. Have a look at our Retained HR service today.
For further information or help on this topic please contact us on 01455 231982 or 07716918272 alternatively you can complete a quick contact form