Changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): self-certification extension

By Chloe Aitken | 4th January 2022 | 1 min read

Did you catch the December changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

Employers need to be aware that for a limited period, the Government has changed the sickness self-certification period.

To make sure your business stays compliant, we’ve covered the changes.

How has sickness self-certification changed?

A temporary measure has been brought in, extending the number of days an employee can take off for sickness without obtaining a Statement of Fitness for Work (fit note) from their GP.

From 10 December 2021 to 26 January 2022, if an employee is off due to illness, you cannot ask them for proof of sickness until they have been off for 28 days or more.

Prior to this change, employees were only allowed seven days of self-certification when claiming Statutory Sick Pay before requiring a fit note.

What exactly is a sickness self-certification?

Sickness self-certification is when an employee decides that they are too unwell to work and informs their employer accordingly, without the need to provide any further medical evidence.

When an employee returns to work after their self-certification sickness absence, the employer can ask them to confirm they’ve been off sick, which can be done by filling in a form or sending details of the leave by email.

Speculation: why has legislation changed?

No official reason has been provided for the self-certification extension; however, many speculate it is a temporary measure to ease pressure on the NHS during the winter period and assist GPs to focus on the COVID-19 booster programme.

What’s next?

While the measure is temporary, businesses need to adapt their payroll to accommodate – see how IRIS can help.

Should there be additional changes or extensions to the self-certification sickness absence guidance, we’ll be sure to post an update article on our blog page.

Looking for more information on Statutory Sick Pay? Check out gov.co.uk here.