Sick Pay Entitlement for Part-Time Workers

Clare Parkinson

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11 Jul 2019

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In the UK, part-time workers must receive the same rights as full-time ones. They’re entitled to the same pay and benefits packages and statutory rights, such as during sickness-based absences.

Your employee will want to know if they’ll receive payment—it’s important your business understand the process to follow to remain compliant with British laws.

Read on to understand more about part-time sick pay.

What does ‘part-time worker’ mean?

It’s someone who works fewer hours than a full-time employee. There’s no set number of hours that makes someone a full- or part-time worker, but full-timers tend to work 35 hours or more per week.

Like full-time workers, part-time workers’ entitlements include:

  • Pay rates (such as maternity and paternity pay as well as sick pay).
  • Holidays.
  • Pensions.
  • Career break opportunities.
  • Training and development.
  • Promotions.

There are some instances where you don’t need to treat part-time employees in the same way as full-time ones. But you need to prove there’s a valid reason for the difference in treatment. This is ‘objective justification’.

For example, if you provide health insurance for your full-time staff, you could objectively justify not giving part-time employees the same benefit.

This could be because the costs involved are disproportionate to the benefits you offer your part-time staff.

Instead, you should offer an alternative, such as asking part-timers to contribute towards the extra cost, making up the remainder yourself.

What is sick pay entitlement for part-time workers?

You may be wondering “do I still need to pay sick pay if my staff don’t work full-time?”

Yes, your employees should still receive statutory sick pay (SSP) even if they work part-time, providing they meet the qualifying criteria.

It’s a legal requirement and if you don’t provide SSP, your part-time staff can claim it as an unlawful deduction of wages. That can lead to an employment tribunal.

Staff qualify for SSP if they:

  • Earn more than £118 a week.
  • Have been off work with illness for four consecutive days or more.

This only applies to employees who work for your company — you don’t need to provide SSP for self-employed contractors.

How to work out SSP for part-time workers

SSP is £94.25 a week for up to 28 weeks. This is the minimum amount of sick pay you can legally provide and you can’t offer sick pay at a lower rate.

Part-time workers get this pro-rata, meaning it’s proportional to the number of hours they work.

For example, if your employee works three days a week, you should pay them 60% of SSP.

Holidays, pensions and bonuses also work on a pro-rata basis.

Are there any other types of sick pay for part-time workers?

Your part-time employees might be eligible for full pay covering all of their sick days, depending on their contract. This refers to Occupational Sick Pay (OSP), which you should outline in your company policy.

Your employee will need to provide a statement of fitness for work from their doctor if they’ve been sick for more than seven consecutive days and have taken sick leave as a result.

Fitness for work statements (often referred to as ‘fit notes’ or ‘sick notes’) explains how long the doctor expects your member of staff to be off work for, depending on their medical condition.

If your part-time employees are off sick for seven days or fewer, you can ask them to fill in a self-certification form when they come back to work. This’ll include information about their sickness or injury.

Expert Advice

Contact us today for support with sickness and absence policies within your organisation. Talk to a Croner expert on 0808 145 3380.

About the Author

Clare Parkinson has over 20 years’ experience in the Croner Reward business. As Business Manager, Clare leads a team of Reward Consultants who specialise in the delivery of pay and grading related advice, including tailored pay benchmarking and gender pay reports.

Over the years, Clare has contributed to various industry publications on topics such as gender pay, executive remuneration and market pay trends.

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