Skip to main content

Sick Pay

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment has been made of the efficacy of penalties which HM Revenue and Customs can impose on employers who do not co-operate over the payment of statutory sick pay; and what further measures are planned to secure prompt employer compliance. (224297)

The penalties which can be imposed on an employer for refusing or repeatedly refusing to pay statutory sick pay are up to a maximum of £3,000. The maximum weekly amount of statutory sick pay payable is £75.40; the maximum period for which this amount is payable is 28 weeks leading to a total maximum payment of just over £2,100. The level of penalties is therefore reasonable and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has no plans to revise them.

HMRC staff now refer to penalties in correspondence and phone calls relating to disputes where appropriate. Early indications are this prompts employers to respond to requests for information.

This Department and HMRC are jointly developing plans to co-ordinate better HMRC enforcement activities to encourage employer compliance with statutory sick pay processes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken is following the date of the original claim, for statutory sick pay to be paid to claimants; and what steps are being taken to reduce this time. (224298)

Information on the average time it takes employers to pay statutory sick pay is not available.

Employers are responsible for the payment and administration of statutory sick pay. They are required to pay their employee statutory sick pay at the same time as they would have paid wages for the same period. Employers are advised that delays in paying statutory sick pay may cause their employee financial difficulty.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which has operational responsibility for statutory sick pay, carries out regular compliance checks.

This Department and HMRC work together to improve the service offered to both employees and employers across all aspects of statutory sick pay, including the disputes process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether compensation is paid to claimants who have to wait six months or more for their statutory sick pay. (224299)

The payment and administration of statutory sick pay are the responsibility of employers. There is no provision in statutory sick pay legislation for compensation to be paid by an employer to an employee for late payments. Any compensation for non-payment within a specific timescale is therefore a matter between the employer and their employee.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) handles disputes between employers and employees in relation to entitlement to statutory sick pay and may in some exceptional circumstances take on responsibility for paying Statutory Sick Pay in the case of defaulting employers or where employers are insolvent.

Where there is an unreasonable delay in a payment by HMRC of statutory sick pay, an ex gratia payment may be considered under the provisions of the HMRC complaints policy. There is no automatic right to such payments.