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HR tip: Withholding statutory sick pay

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


Question:

"We strongly suspect the sickness absence claims of one of our workers. Are we entitled, therefore, to withhold SSP?"

HR tip:

You need to discuss the matter with the employee and investigate her claim as thoroughly as you reasonably can. If you then suspect that the claim is unjustified you may withhold SSP but must give the employee a statement showing for which days you are paying SSP and how much, for which days you are withholding it, and the reason for your withholding. If the employee is dissatisfied with that she should complain using your grievance procedure including the appeal stage. If she remains dissatisfied she may take her complaint to HMRC who will adjudicate. Either party may appeal against the adjudication officer’s decision but, if the officer finds against you, I suggest you pay up. You will have indicated to your workforce that you will not pay SSP unless you are satisfied that claims are genuine and that, if you are not satisfied, the employee will have to ask an external body to adjudicate.

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