UK Statutory sick pay rule changes

December 23rd, 2021

The rules of the statutory sick pay (SSP) scheme have changed, in that the period for self-certification has increased from 7 days to 28 days.   The change came into effect on 17 December 2021 (backdated to include absences of more than 7 days from 10 December), and means that workers need only provide a fit note from their GP if they are unable to work because of ill health for more than 28 days, rather than the current 7 days.

The policy thinking behind the change is to reduce the number of workers needing to request a fit note from their GP, thereby leaving GPs with more time to concentrate on other matters. However, it is possible for an employer to request a fit note within the 28 day self-certification period (although they may be required to pay a fee to the GP for this) which seems slightly at odds with the rationale behind the change in the first place.

This change to the SSP rules seems to have attracted little attention so far in the media and in many workplaces, but is a change that could have significant implications, particularly at a time when absences in the workplace may increase as the Omicron variant of Covid affects more and more of the population.

Fit notes provide independent medical confirmation of a worker’s ill health and inability to attend work, and with such a longer period of absences being without such medical evidence of illness, it’s likely to cause problems for employers trying to manage ill health absences.

Our employment team can advise you on any employment related matters, including rights to sick pay. Contact us today on 023 9298 1000 or email us at