SSP changes on way for employers

Employers’ statutory sick pay (SSP) record-keeping requirements are to be abolished from next month.

From 6 April 2014, employers will instead be able to adopt a more flexible approach to SSP-associated record-keeping, although they will still need to maintain records for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) purposes and to show they are meeting SSP obligations.

The move comes at the same time as another significant change to the SSP regime. Under the percentage threshold scheme (PTS), employers can recover SSP if the total they pay in a tax month is more than 13 per cent of all their national insurance contributions in the same tax month.

The PTS will be scrapped from 6 April 2014, with funding from the scheme diverted to the government’s new Health and Work Service, designed to support employees who have been on sickness leave for four weeks to return to work and help employers improve sickness absence management.

Some experts have warned that small businesses could be hit hard by SSP costs. SSP rises from £86.70 to £87.55 from 6 April so the cost of one employee being off sick for 28 weeks, the maximum period for which SSP is paid, would add up to just over £2,450.

A clear and legally compliant sickness absence policy will set out for employees their employer’s approach and expectations and enable employers to manage absences fairly and consistently. Dismissals due to ill health are complex, so it is always advisable to seek advice from an employment lawyer.

The Palmers team can provide expert advice to employers relating to sickness absence management and advise on and draft policies and content for staff handbooks. We also offer an HR package that includes guidance, policies, sample documents, such as employment contracts, and other information for employers.

For more information, please visit our website or contact Lara Murray, Karl Barnes or Charlotte Woolven-Brown.