What are your views of flexible SSP?

07 March 2017


In support of the Green Paper Improving Lives – the Work, Health and Disability, the DWP have produced a short survey to gather views for a flexible Statutory Sick Pay system so that it better encourages supportive conversations and phased returns to work.

The survey can be accessed directly and will close on 10 March 2017.


Currently, Statutory Sick Pay is paid by employers only when a person does no work at all, meaning either that:

  • employees may be discouraged from a taking a phased return to work as they won’t qualify for statutory sick pay; or

  • that they may return to their usual hours too early, potentially leading to further absence or falling out of work altogether.

A potential reform would be to allow phased returns so that where an employee would earn less than Statutory Sick Pay, in returning on their reduced hours, the employer would be able to ‘top up’ their wages to the Statutory Sick Pay level or above (depending on the model adopted).


Flexible SSP

There are two current proposals in this space:

  1. An employee works 25 hours a week for £7.20 per hour or £180 per week. If they went on a period of sickness absence they will need to return to work for at least 13 hours in order to compensate for the loss of £88.45 in Statutory Sick Pay(13 hours x £7.20 = £93.60).

    If the employer and employee came to an agreement for a partial return to work of 10 hours per week, the employer would ‘top up’ the salary to the Statutory Sick Pay level.

    For example, the employer would pay £72 in wages (£7.20 x 10 hours) plus £16.45 to ‘top up’ to the Statutory Sick Pay rate of £88.45.


  2. Employee would get £72 wages (40% of total, matching the time she works) plus around £53 of her SSP (60%), and it would be worth her while to return to work.

    From her employer’s point of view, they could either pay £88.45 for the employee to do nothing, or pay a total of around £125 to have her at 40% capacity, and the knowledge that she will return to work completely, so no replacement costs.

    This would mean that the maximum amount of Statutory Sick Pay and/ or pay spent by employers and received by employees during a period of transition back from sickness remains constant.


The paper Improving Lives - the work, health and disability is available to read in full, via GOV.UK.


DWP really need your help in understanding the detailed implications of flexible SSP and you have the right expertise to provide this detail – thank you. The survey can be accessed directly and will close on 10 March 2017.

Any additional comments would be welcomed to policy@cipp.org.uk.