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New inquiry: Work and Pensions Committee to examine Statutory Sick Pay

9 November 2023

The Work and Pensions Committee will examine the effectiveness of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and how it might be reformed to better support the recovery and return to work of people who claim it.

The inquiry will look at whether the current level of SSP is sufficient and whether changes should be made to eligibility criteria in terms of earnings and length of sickness absence. It will also explore the best way for the Government to support businesses to help staff return to work and what lessons the UK might learn from the experiences of other countries.

SSP is the basic minimum statutory payment an employee is entitled to for periods where they are unable to work because of illness. A person is eligible for SSP from the fourth day they are off sick. They must be classed as an employee and earn an average of at least £123 per week (the lower earnings limit).

The Government published a consultation in 2019 on proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss, including several ideas for reforming SPP. In 2021 however the Government reported that the questions needed further consideration and the pandemic was not the right time to introduce changes to the sick pay system.

Chair comment

Rt Hon Sir Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“For many years those in Parliament and beyond have been vocal in questioning whether statutory sick pay has been working as well as it should, amid concerns that it lacks flexibility, is too low and that some people who need it are missing out altogether.

Our inquiry will look to identify improvements to ensure that SSP both provides effective support during times of need and helps people return to work. We also want to consider the role of employers in the system.”

Terms of reference

Terms of reference are available here. The Committee welcomes submissions by Friday 8 December.

Further information

Image credit: Tyler Allicock/UK Parliament