Agency workers entitled to statutory sick pay

Agency workers will be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) from Monday (27 October) after a change in the law.

The legislation on fixed-term employees has been amended to entitle agency workers on contracts of three months or less to statutory sick pay.

SSP is paid to employees who are unable to work because of sickness, and is paid by employers for up to a maximum of 28 weeks.

The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 rectify an oversight that was revealed in a tribunal case last year.

In Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs v Thorn Baker Ltd and others, the Court of Appeal found that the exclusion of the right to statutory sick pay where a contract of service is entered into for a specified period of no more than three months was not repealed by previous legislation on fixed-term employees.

In addition, the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is introduced from next week. It replaces incapacity benefit and income support, paid because of an illness or disability, for new claimants who become unable to work on or after 27 October 2008.

As a result of the introduction of ESA, a new version of form SSP1 has been produced which employers must complete when sick pay is ending.

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