Provided they meet the qualifying conditions, all employees are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for days off owing to illness. This means that so long as the employee earns a minimum of £112 gross per week, they are entitled to receive up to £88.45 per week. SSP is only paid following the fourth consecutive qualifying day of sickness.
However, the CIPD has recently published an article detailing that SSP may face an overhaul under new Government plans. The proposed changes are expected to include increased flexibility in relation to 3 key areas: 1) phased return to work periods, 2) the requirement for long-term sick employees to produce regular sick notes, and 3) a reduction in working hours owing to fitness to work. Guidelines over how Fitness to Work is determined and evidenced is also expected to change.
The Government’s decision to review SSP and workplace practice for dealing with sickness comes in response to its new focus on the wellbeing of the disabled and the long-term sick in work. The Work Capability Assessments Regime is currently absorbing a huge portion of a GPs time. New plans would alleviate this strain by introducing the following practice: Those with long-term conditions would no longer need to be continually reassessed, and disabled people who do not work would be able to keep their benefits while they received help through job centres.
Work and Pension Secretary Damian Green claims reforms of the current system could help 1.5million disabled people back into work. However, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams has pointed out that under the current Government, the disability employment gap has increased and referred to Damian’s predictions as ‘ridiculous’.
What do you think the Government needs to change in relation to SSP and Employees evidencing their sickness? Let us know in the comments below.