Statutory Sick Pay in Northern Ireland

When an employee is unable to attend work due to ill-health in Northern Ireland, they may be entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the Employer for all or part of their absence.

Employers are now fully responsible for meeting SSP payments to their eligible employees, and there is no mechanism in place for such sums to be recouped from the Government.

SSP is not payable for the first 3 days of absence in each period of absence. These are known as waiting days. SSP is therefore payable from day 4 onwards.

In Northern Ireland, GPs often do not issue Statements of Fitness for Work for sickness which lasts less than 7 days. Therefore, it is not necessary for the employee to produce such a Statement on day 4 to qualify for SSP. Self-Certification is sufficient at that stage. However, in order for SSP to continue from day 7 onwards, a Statement from the GP must be produced by the Employee.

Currently, the rate for SSP is £89.35 per week, which is payable for 28 weeks per period of absence. Entitlement for part-time Employees is pro-rata. Once the 28 week period has expired, entitlement to SSP for that period of absence ceases. The Employee may be entitled to benefits from the Government at that point.

Two or more instances of absence are linked and considered to be within the same period of absence where they occur within 56 days of each other. In these circumstances, waiting days are not served again, and the 28-week pay-limit continues to apply. Where instances of absence occur more than 56 days apart, a new period of absence begins, and the 28-week entitlement refreshes.

In Northern Ireland, an Employee qualifies for SSP if they meet the following criteria:

  • The person must be employed under a contract of employment;
  • They must have been absent due to ill-health for 4 consecutive days in the period of absence;
  • They must have complied with the Employer’s absence notification policies & procedures;
  • They must be liable to pay Class 1 National Insurance Contributions; and
  • They must earn at least £113 (before tax) per week.

Employees who do not meet these criteria are not entitled to receive SSP.

Employers are at liberty to offer enhanced Company Sick Pay should they wish to do so, but there is no obligation to provide same.

If you have any issues or queries relating to sick pay in Northern Ireland, please contact the advice line on +44 (0)28 9032 5495

Book a call with a consultant

Complete the form below and a consultant will call you as soon as possible.

Book a call with a consultant

Complete the form below and a consultant will call you as soon as possible.

Latest Resources

Probationary periods and employment contracts affected by new rules

As January is a quiet time for many business owners, it can be a good time to do some HR jobs that have been put […]

Handling employee resignation and notice periods in Ireland

Employee resigning with documents and belongings
How to handle employee resignation and notice periods in Ireland From time to time, an employee resigns to pursue a career outside of your organisation. […]

Employer’s guide to the Organisation of Working Time Act

Employer’s guide to the Organisation of Working Time Act The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. What does this legislation set out to do and […]

Nora Cashe

Peninsula

Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

Genos International Europe

Deiric McCann leads Genos International Europe – The EU division of a world-leading provider of emotional intelligence solutions. 

With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

Rhiannon Coyne

Graphite HRM

Rhiannon Coyne is a Senior HR Consultant at Graphite HRM and will be providing an overview of best practice on how to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace. 

With a number of recent updates to employment laws, Rhiannon will take a closer look at employment equality and how it is interlinked to Health & Safety and what employers can learn from recent case laws.

David Begg

Workplace Relations Commission

David Begg was appointed Chairperson of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in January 2021.

David is also a professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences. Mr Begg’s extensive history in the trade union movement included leading the ESB Officers Association and Irish Congress of Trade Unions, stepping away from the latter in 2001 to chair international aid agency Concern.

David Begg was also previously a director of the Central Bank of Ireland between 1995 and 2010.