Statutory sick pay (SSP) - terms

This guide is designed to help you understand the terminology you may come across when dealing with statutory sick pay (SSP).

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) This is a state benefit available to people of working age who aren’t able to work due to illness or disability. If an employee isn’t eligible for SSP, or isn’t able to return to work once their 28 week entitlement to SSP is complete, they may be able to claim ESA.
For more information about ESA, please visit
Fit note
The fit note, or Statement of Fitness for Work, is provided by your employee’s doctor. This replaces the old style sick note. From 1 July 2022, nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists can also issue fit notes.
Lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions. For the 2023/2024 this is £123.00 per week
Linking period If the employee was sick within the last 56 days, this is known as the linking period to the current period of sickness. In this case, the employee doesn’t have to serve the waiting days again.
Period of incapacity for work (PIW) This is the period when your employee is sick and unable to work.
Relevant period This is the period used to calculate the employee’s average earnings. It’s approximately eight weeks prior to the first day of sickness. It is sometimes referred to as the set period.
Set period See Relevant period above.
SC2 Your employee can use HMRC’s form SC2 – Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Employee’s statement of sickness as their self-certification form. Alternatively, you can produce your own form for the employee to complete.
SSP1 is the form you must give to an employee who is absent from work due to sickness but isn’t entitled to receive SSP.
You can complete form SSP1 online and print it.
SSP rate For the 2023/2024 tax year the rate is £109.40
Waiting days The first three days of the PIW are known as waiting days. You don’t pay SSP for these days.