Whether you are employed by someone or you are self-employed, there may be times when you are unable to work, either through illness or perhaps an injury. At times when you are unfit to work, you may be wondering whether you are entitled to any sick pay. The criteria are different for self-employed people and employees and different types of sick pay may be payable dependent on your circumstances.
Employees are usually entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay which is payable in the same way as wages. There are qualifying criteria to fulfil before payment is made. An employee must have worked for an employer before taking any time off sick. You will only receive Statutory Sick Pay for the days you would normally work. An employee must inform their employer when they are sick and also provide evidence if required. There is a maximum amount of Statutory Sick Pay which can be paid for each Period of Incapacity for work. A Period of Incapacity for work is four days of illness or more and can include days when you wouldn’t normally work. For instance, if you are ill from Friday to Monday and don’t work weekends, Saturday and Sunday would still count as part of your Period of Incapacity for work.
Statutory Sick Pay is only payable from the fourth consecutive day of illness and nothing is paid for the first three days of the Period of Incapacity to work. If for any reason you aren’t entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, your employer will notify you and give you form SSP1. You can hand in this form to your Jobcentre Plus office to claim Employment and Support Allowance.
Your employer may operate a company sick pay scheme which may be more generous than Statutory Sick Pay. Typically, you will be eligible to be paid under the company sick pay scheme after a qualifying period, perhaps three months. The amounts paid can vary as long as they aren’t less than the minimum amount payable for Statutory Sick Pay. Usually, you will be paid your full rate of pay for an initial period and then your pay will be reduced to half for another specified period, before finally being reduced to nil.
If you are self-employed you won’t be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. If you don’t have any insurance to cover your loss of income while unable to work through ill health, you may be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance. You can apply for this benefit if you are unable to work through injury or ill health for four consecutive days or more. Weekends and public holidays are included in the four day period. If you have paid sufficient Class 2 National Insurance Contributions you may be eligible to claim contribution based Employment and Support Allowance. If you haven’t paid sufficient Class 2 National Insurance Contributions you may be entitled to income based Employment and Support Allowance. To qualify for this your savings must be less than £16,000 and if you have a spouse or civil partner, they must be employed less than 24 hours a week.
The initial 13 weeks of your claim is known as the assessment phase and you will receive the basic amount payable. During this time you will be invited to undergo assessments to decide whether you are able to work and to what extent. If you are unable to work you will enter the main phase from the 14th week of your claim and be paid an additional amount to the basic sum.
The criteria for claiming benefits are complex and advice from a professional should be sought.
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