Coronavirus sick pay: How much is statutory sick pay in UK? Will self-employed get SSP?

The Government has moved to its second phase of their response to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, and will no attempt to “delay” the spread of the deadly virus. Three new cases of coronavirus in Scotland have brought the total number of positive tests in the UK to 90.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Thursday Britain is moving into the second of four phases in its battle plan against the deadly disease.

He said: “The original plan was very much predicated on the idea of ‘if it could be controlled in China and contained everywhere else, this virus might go away’.

“I think the chances of that happening are now very slim. Slim to zero.”

Prof Whitty added: “For the early stages of delay, contain and delay are very similar, not quite the same.


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“They are largely around finding early cases, isolating them, following their chains of transmission, where necessary isolating those people.”

The Government has said up to a fifth of Britain’s workforce may be off sick during the peak of a coronavirus epidemic in the UK.

However, they promised people who are off work sick or are told to self-isolate the outbreak continues will receive sick pay from “day one”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week: “I can today announce that the Health Secretary will bring forward, as part of our emergency coronavirus legislation, measures to allow the payment of statutory sick pay from the very first day you are sick instead of four days under the current rules, and I think that’s the right way forward.

“Nobody should be penalised for doing the right thing.”

How much is statutory sick pay in the UK?

Statutory sick pay (SSP) is normally paid to employees who are too unwell and unable to work for a period of four days or more.

However, the Prime Minister announced this week workers who are off due to the coronavirus will receive SSP from day one.

Currently, the SSP rate for employees who are eligible is £94.25 per week, for up to 28 weeks.

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To put that into context, average weekly earnings in the UK in December 2019 stood at £544 a week.

This statutory amount can be increased if an employer offers a sick pay scheme, however the SSP rate will never be any less that £94.25 per week.

To be eligible for SSP, you must earn a minimum of £118 weekly and be counted as an employee before taking ill.

According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) two million workers are not eligible for SSP and it’s not clear whether they will now be covered.

Will self-employed people get sick pay?

As a general rule, employees are entitled to sick pay and self-employed are not.

In the UK, there are about five million people who are self-employed.

HR body the Chartered Institution for Personnel and Development has called on the Government to set up a compensation or hardship fund to help individuals in position where they are not eligible for sick pay.

These groups include the self-employed, temporary or low-paid staff not eligible for sick pay or paid leave.

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