Changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Effective April 2024

From April 2024, the rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase from £109.40 to £116.75 per week. SSP offers financial support for up to 28 weeks to employees unable to work due to illness, provided they have been sick for at least four consecutive days and earn a minimum of £123 per week before tax.

While the rate increase is, of course, a step in the right direction, some believe further reforms are necessary to make SSP more effective and inclusive. A report by the Work and Pensions Committee has called for SSP to be increased to align with Statutory Maternity Pay and for the eligibility criteria to be expanded. This would ensure that all employees, regardless of their income level, have access to SSP, providing a more substantial safety net for those most in need during periods of illness​. The committee's recommendations are part of broader discussions about enhancing worker protections and supporting public health efforts by ensuring that employees are not financially penalised for taking necessary health or medical-related leave.

For small businesses, adapting to these changes is vital. Here's how to prepare:

  1. Stay Informed: Keeping up-to-date with changes helps ensure legal compliance and provides employees with the most current benefits.

  2. Review and Update Policies: Employers should review their current employment policies to align with the new SSP rates and conditions. This may involve updating payroll systems, sick leave policies, and employee handbooks.

  3. Employee Communication: Clear communication about these changes is crucial. Employers should inform their teams about the new SSP rates and any other adjustments to company policies. Regular updates can be shared through emails, meetings, internal newsletters or intranet.

  4. Training and Support: While not all small businesses have an HR department, it's important for those responsible for employee management to understand the new SSP regulations. Provide training for team leaders or those who handle payroll and employee issues to ensure they are up to date with the latest changes. This could involve online courses, attending webinars, or consulting with HR professionals. Adequate training will enable your team to manage employee inquiries competently and maintain compliance with the new laws.

Adapting to these recent changes not only supports employee well-being but also protects businesses from potential legal issues and enhances the company's reputation as a supportive and responsive employer. If you would like support in updating your policies or reviewing any other legislative changes then please get in touch.

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