Employers are now no longer able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay from the government

Further to my previous blog post on 20th March 2014 concerning the Health and Work Service (http://employmentconnect.crippslaw.com/2014/03/health-and-work-service.html), the government has now made changes to Statutory Sick Pay.

Prior to 6 April 2014 an employer could reclaim payments of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which exceeded 13% of their organisation’s national insurance contributions in the month. This provision has now been abolished, on the basis that employers were not incentivised to encourage employees on long-term sick leave to return to the workplace.  Employers are now wholly responsible for funding sick pay paid to absent employees.

The £50million which this is expected to save the government will be put towards the new Health & Work Service which is due to start in 2015. The idea behind the Health & Work Service is that it will save employers money by helping them get sick employees back to work. The Health & Work Service will provide free Occupational Health Assessments for employees who are off sick for four weeks or more. It will also provide a website and a helpline which will give information and advice to employers. The government expects a minimum of 350,000 employees to be referred in the course of a year.

It is worth highlighting that with a free occupational health assessment available, it may be considered reasonable to expect every employer to refer an employee for an occupational health assessment before dismissing for ill-health. In addition, a failure to follow the recommendations given by Occupational Health may well constitute an unfair dismissal and/or a failure in the employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments.

Kayleigh Leonie