As an employer, you have a legal obligation to pay your employees when they are unable to work through illness. You must pay statutory sick pay (SSP) for the first 28 weeks of absence in a 3 year period. You may, however, be able to recover SSP paid through your National Insurance Contributions to the extent that SSP paid exceeds 13% of your liability to pay NI Contributions in the income tax month in question.
An employee normally qualifies for SSP if he is incapacitated for four or more consecutive working days.
Employees may self-certify their illness but if their absence exceeds 7 days their employers will be entitled to ask them to obtain a Statement of Fitness for Work (Fit Note) from their GP.
For effective management of these systems you should introduce and maintain good procedures for certification / notification by the employee. You should also be prepared to carry out an investigation if certain employees appear to have ongoing or repetitive sickness problems.
Records as to SSP must be kept for three years from the end of the tax year. Details of your sick pay scheme must form part of the Terms and Conditions of Employment.
The latest rates of SSP can be found on the government website: