Money Wellness
category iconcost of living
calendar icon03 Apr 2024

Calls for statutory sick pay to be increased

The Work and Pensions Committee said statutory sick pay (SSP) should be extended so all employees are eligible, not just those earning above the lower earnings limit which is £123 per week since April 2022.

Stephen Timms MP, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “Statutory sick pay is failing in its primary purpose to act as a safety net for workers who most need financial help during illness. With the country continuing to face high rates of sickness absence, the Government can no longer afford to keep kicking the can down the road on reform.”

 The committee is made up of cross party MPs. They said that the UK is experiencing high rates of sickness absence and ill health, including high rates of mental health problems among young people, noting that 185.6 million working days were lost to sickness or injury in 2022. They say significant minority of employers only rely only on SSP, which isn’t nearly enough as occupational sick pay.

What’s more, is that not everyone is  entitled to SSP because they don’t earn enough, or because their period of sickness absence lasts fewer than four days. The committe finds this unfair, and something that adds to the problem of financial and economic risk.

The other group of people who don’t get any form of SSP are the self-employed.

The committee said: “We recognise that self-employed people cannot be made eligible for SSP, but we strongly believe the Government must do more to ensure they are no worse off financially during periods of sickness than employees on SSP.

“We therefore conclude that the Government should establish a contributory sick pay scheme for self-employed people to provide them with the same level of income protection as would be available under SSP.”

Research found in January revealed that 1.3 million people do not earn enough to qualify for SSP – and 70% are women.

It’s also been found that sick leave lasting four or more weeks are having a serious impact on the nation’s personal finances. This type of sick leave makes up for 20% of total sickness workplace leave in the UK.

 Financial help if you’re on sick leave

If you’re currently on a longer term of sick leave, there may be some financial help available. Firstly, check if you’re eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.

Your employer may also offer other forms of sick pay- it’s best to check with them.

Statutory sick pay usually lasts for 28 weeks, and is paid at a rate of £109.40 a week.

If you’re eligible for sick pay but haven’t been paid anything from your employer, make sure you ask them to.

If you're self employed and temporarily unable to work due to illness, check if you have made enough national insurance contributions to qualify for New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

If your employer refuses to pay you

Contact the HMRC Statutory Payment Dispute Team.

If your Statutory Sick Pay has run out, you might be able to claim certain benefits.

There might also be some help available in the way of grants. Check if you’re eligible.

Check what benefits you’re eligible for.

Debt help

Our free debt advice is available to people all over the UK, online or over the phone. We’ll go through your finances in detail and explain your options. 

Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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