Self-Certification for SSP extended to 28 days

Changes to legislation relating to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) have been rushed through Parliament so the period that an employee can self-certify their sickness absence is now 28 days (previously 7).

The change came into effect on Friday 17th December and has been introduced as a temporary measure (presumably to alleviate pressure on GPs and the NHS) which will last until 26th January 2022.

Employees only need to attend a GP for a “fit note” if they have been ill for more than 28 days and have taken sick leave.  This includes non-working days, such as weekends and bank holidays.  It applies to periods of sickness absence that commenced prior to 17th December but has not lasted more than 7 days (fit note not yet required) and ends at midnight on 26th January.

This could mean a surge in requests for fit notes at that time if employees have been absent for more than 7 days at that point.

We understand that the qualifying period for SSP still pertains (unless absence is COVID related) which means that employers do not pay SSP until the fourth qualifying day (normal working day).