How does sick leave and pay work in the United Kingdom?

Article author
Mika Komatsuzaki
  • Updated

In the United Kingdom, an eligible employee has the right to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). It is £99.35 a week for up to 28 weeks and paid by the employer.


To be eligible, an employee must:

  • have done some work for your employer
  • earn an average of at least £123 per week
  • have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days)

SSP is paid when the employee is sick for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days). You cannot count a day as a sick day if an employee has worked for a minute or more before they go home sick.

e.g. If an employee works a shift that ends the day after it started and becomes sick during the shift or after it has finished, the second day will count as a sick day.

  • No payment is made for the first 3 working days off sick unless the employee was sick and received SSP within the last 8 weeks.
  • Employers can only ask for proof of sickness if the employee is off work for more than 7 days in a row (including non-working days).
  • Employers and Employees can agree to more days of sick leave in the employment contract.
  • Employers do not need to keep records of SSP paid to employees. Employers can choose how to keep records of the employees’ sickness absence. HMRC may need to see these records if there’s a dispute over payment of SSP.

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