The government has passed regulations which temporarily extend the period in which an individual can self-certify, before they get a doctor’s certificate, for the purposes of claiming statutory sick pay (SSP). Generally, an employee can self-certify for 7 days, however, for sickness absences beginning between 10th December 2021 to 26th January 2022, the self-certification period has been increased to 28 days.
The reason for this change is to free up GP time for covid vaccinations, so this is, at present, only a temporary measure. Employers can, of course, still require additional medical evidence for occupational sick pay purposes, in accordance with any agreed procedures but, for SSP, self-certification of illness must be allowed for the first 28 days.
This change comes at a time when there are increasing calls for a review of the rate paid for SSP, currently just £96.35 per week, amounting to just under 11 hours work at the current National Living Wage. A recent CIPD survey suggested that just under 2/3rds of employers think that SSP rates should be increased. However, SSP is a cost that must be borne by the employer and, unlike other statutory payments such as maternity or paternity pay, is not recoverable from government. An increase in the rate may therefore be welcomed by employees and provide a better standard of living. However, without any increase being accompanied by a recovery mechanism, or offset against national insurance contributions, at least for SMEs, any increase may cause a significant uplift in engagement and supply costs.
About the author
Peter Lappin is Senior Legal Consultant at the recruitment and employment law specialists Lawspeed.
Lawspeed group corporate clients benefit from immediate up to date advice on staff engagement and related regulation; employment status; client, IR35, PAYE and umbrella contract templates; contract review/negotiation; self-employment and CIS contract templates; trade membership and government representation; accreditation services and a state of the art digital contract management platform