Sick pay rules change this week with less money for time off work

Sick pay rules change this week, meaning less money for anyone taking leave.

Workers will have to wait longer before they can claim statutory sick pay (SSP) as the temporary rules are lifted. The regulations revert to a pre-coronavirus pandemic state, which means employees will not be able to claim sick pay from their first day of absence.

Over the past two years, self-isolating or Covid-ill workers have been able to get SSP from day one. But from Thursday (March 24) you will no longer be entitled to it and if you are sick with Covid you will have to wait until day four for the SSP to take effect, ChronicleLive reports.

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The temporary rule change for SSP also applied to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which you can claim if an illness or disability affects your ability to work. People who are ill or disabled can apply for ESA support of up to £74.70 per week, depending on the circumstances.

When Covid hit, the government adjusted the benefit, allowing eligible people to apply from the first day they were off work – instead of the usual eighth day. From Thursday, there will again be a seven-day wait to claim the ESA.

The SSP is worth £96.35 per week for those who qualify. It is paid by employers for up to 28 weeks after the first three days of illness and if you earn at least £120 a week. The PAS is the minimum you get under the law if you are unable to work and your employer could pay more from the first day of illness.

To be eligible for ESA, you must have worked either as self-employed or as an employee, have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions (usually within the last two to three years), and you cannot get ESA if you apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance. Statutory sickness allowance or indemnity.

The changes came as part of the government’s Living with Covid strategy which marks the end of two years of lockdown and testing. Other changes are that there is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate, even if you test positive for covid, and free Covid tests will no longer be available from April 1. And the £500 grant to help pay the bills if you were on your own -covid isolation ended last month.

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