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Part-Time Worker Sick Pay Entitlements

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In the UK, part-time workers are protected from being disadvantaged compared to full-time workers.

It is important that part-time employees are entitled to continued payment of wages in the event of illness, and that is undoubtedly the reason why you are currently reading.

We will explain to you how this works and how high the statutory sick pay entitlement is for part-time employees.

A quick note to introduce ourselves: We are IceHrm, an employee holiday planner used by thousands of teams and small businesses, primarily in the UK but in pretty much every country in the world.

What counts as a part-time employee?

There is no official definition of a part-time worker, but we are generally talking about someone who works less than 35 hours per week. Anything beyond this is considered full-time work.

Even overtime does not affect the definition: if they are employed for less than full-time hours, they are considered part-time.

If they have no contracted hours, they are considered zero-hour contract workers. At the end of this article you will find a guide for zero hours workers.

Statutory continued payment of wages in the event of illness for part-time employees

Most importantly, there is no difference between Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for full-time and part-time employees. Statutory sick pay is the minimum amount you must pay to any employee who meets the requirements.

Sick pay is not paid pro rata, rounded down or otherwise reduced along with contractual working hours.

As long as they meet the eligibility requirements, they will receive the full amount, regardless of whether it is full-time or part-time work - which is not very high anyway.

What are the criteria for eligibility for sick pay?

To be eligible for sick pay, someone must meet 3 criteria:

  • You must be an employee and have carried out a paid job.
  • On average, they earned at least £120 a week.
  • You must have been sick for 4 or more days in a row, need to self-isolate or be shielding.

The amount of SSP they are entitled to is £95.85 per week, paid for up to 28 weeks (we'll talk about how to keep track later).

You should also review your company's employment contract and policies. Your company may have a scheme that in some cases pays more than the SSP, called occupational sick pay (OSP).

There are some exceptions to eligibility, such as: E.g. maternity pay and ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) which can get in the way. A full list of exemptions can be found at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

What other benefits do part-time employees receive?

Part-time employees should be treated the same as full-time employees for all other benefits:

  • Sick pay, maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave and the remuneration for this leave
  • Pensions
  • Vacation
  • Training
  • Rewards
  • Opportunities for promotions, transfers, career breaks and layoffs

Normally these amounts are allocated pro rata to the number of hours worked per week.

So if someone works 4 days a week and everyone else works 5, they typically get 80% of what everyone else gets.

Entitlement to sick pay for employees on zero-hours contracts

A zero-hours contract is a contract where you do not guarantee anyone a specific number of hours of work.

Although they do not have contractual working hours, they still have legal working rights.

This means that if they work enough to reach the £120 threshold, they will be entitled to the same statutory sick pay (£95.85 per week).

You must reach the earning limit with the same employer. For example, you cannot meet the threshold by combining hours from two different jobs.

Keep track of sick leave

Since the statutory continued payment of wages in the event of illness is limited, it makes sense to keep track of sick periods using vacation management software. We recommend not using spreadsheets for these purposes.

The maximum limit for paying sick pay is 28 weeks.

This can be accumulated in a block or, if someone is regularly absent, in blocks of consecutive absences that:

  • Take 4 or more days
  • less than 8 weeks apart

Note: If you currently track vacation and sick time using spreadsheets, you can probably save a lot of time by switching to IceHrm. The following article will show you how to manage your vacation without spreadsheets.

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