After an accident at work, my employer has put me on statutory sick pay (SSP). Is that allowed?


We are regularly asked this question about sick pay and statutory sick pay (SSP) by people who have had an accident at work, and are unable to work for a while due to their injuries. In such circumstances, most employers will stop paying the injured worker their usual salary and instead place them on to SSP. The difference between the average UK salary and SSP is huge and the drop in income can cause problems for injured workers in terms of paying their bills and funding the cost of living.

The law

In the UK any worker who is classed as an employee (including agency and fixed-term staff) will qualify for SSP if they:

  1. Have been off work for at least four days in a row
  2. Have a regular income exceeding £111 per week
  3. Have reported the injury or sickness to the employer

Statutory Sick Pay is currently rated at £89.35 per week and is available for a maximum period of 28 weeks. Current government data shows that the average UK income in 2017 stands at £27,200 per annum – over £500 per week. With this in mind, the difference between the average UK income and SSP would see a drop in income of over £400 per week. For most people, this creates a very serious problem.

Sadly, there is no obligation on any employer to pay a staff member their full standard salary if they are off work due to illness or injury – even if that injury or illness was caused by an accident at work, or materials used at work. For most workers, they will have a contract of employment that states their terms regarding sickness pay, and whilst one or two companies offer generous sickness payment schemes or occupational schemes, most do not.

How can I recover my lost income after an accident at work?

If you are recovering after an accident at work and have lost income during your absence from the workplace, the only way you can seek to recover your lost income is by making a claim for accident at work compensation. The ability to pursue a claim against an employer is available to any person who believes that their injury or health problem was caused by the negligence of their employer. Therefore, if you feel that your employer has been negligent towards your safety by failing to provide adequate training, the correct protective equipment or faulty and dangerous tools, you can seek to make a claim against your employer for accident at work compensation.

If successful with the claim, you would be able to recover any lost income – including the difference between any SSP payments made to you and your usual income, along with any other costs by way of the special damages element of a personal injury claim settlement.

Many employees who have been injured in an accident at work do not want to have to make a claim for compensation against their employer. However, the loss of income forces people to act to pursue a claim in order that they are not left out of pocket because of injuries that were not their fault.

How can Direct2Compensation help me?

Direct2Compensation have genuine expertise in accident at work compensation. We can help you to understand your rights after an injury at work and tell you how to make a claim for compensation. We work with specialist accident at work solicitors who will make sure that your claim is handled properly and that you are given the opportunity to fully recover any lost income and expenses. We know that it is a struggle to recover from injuries after an accident at work and that losing income temporarily during this period can make life hard.

Our solicitors will work to obtain an admission of liability in your claim at the earliest opportunity, and it is at the point of an admission of liability that our solicitors can then seek to commence the recovery of lost income.

We are here to help you and our expert staff can immediately identify the right Solicitor for you. Contact us today to start your claim.

20 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

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  1. Ryan

    I had an accident at work were a colleague dropped a drill which hit my shoulder. This injured me and because of this I now have to have an operation. It is highly likely that my employer will only pay me SSP and not my usual weekly wage. Can I do anything about this?

    • Ian Morris

      Most employers do not pay full salaries to staff who are off work due to illness or injury – even if the absence is related to an injury caused in an accident at work.

      In your case, you can make a claim for compensation against your employers employer liability insurance cover. If successful (and my initial view is that you would likely succeed), not only would this see you able to claim compensation for the injury to your shoulder and the impact that this is having on your day-to-day life, but importantly you would be able to recover any lost income and incurred costs caused by the injury at work.

  2. Matt

    I pulled/torn a muscle moving podium steps, I have made complaints 4 weeks previous they are to big and heavy to use, also on the day of injury,after a audit, issues were also raised about these steps, I’m a now getting pressure from my work h and s guy to provide diagnosis results from my hospital visit, rings me every day asking if I’m returning to work and asking me to fill in site maps of injury and what took place. I reported it next day after I was in immense pain and followed procedures, and they contacted the site it happened on as i couldnt go into work,is this correct procedure from my work as my a and e said they have no right to ask,and shouldn’t be asking for this?

    • Ian Morris

      Your work should not be pestering or hassling you whilst you are off work – if you are off work on the basis of a Doctor signing you off. However, there is not necessarily anything untoward in the employer wanting to know about your injury and the location of it and to gain an understanding of the event in which you were injured. One would hope that they are taking this action in order to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

      Given that you had warned the employer that the podium steps were too large and difficult for one person to move and this was ignored, there is a good chance that employer negligence will attach in this matter and that you could therefore succeed with a claim for personal injury compensation for the injury you suffered at work.

      If you would like to look further in to making a claim for compensation, please use the ‘start a claim’ page or call us on 01225430285 so that our staff can discuss this matter with you and advise you further.

  3. Ken

    I was told to drag some heavy plant across the works yard to clean, whilst finishing this i felt a slight shooting pain in my back. I thought nothing of it until an hour or so at home the pain got worse so took ibuprofen and went to bed, In the night I was up with severe pain in lower back. In the morning I spoke to my supervisor what had happened and saw my doctor which he diagnosed lower back injury due to dragging plant across the yard. I have been in touch with my supervisor and company HR which I have emailed and sent relevant information about my injury. I haven’t filled in the accident book yet because not been able to get to work but they all have the relevant information which HR has put on their system, have i done it correctly. And also my company does not pay sick pay only SSP so am I entitled to full sick pay because of accident at work. I have nearly been off sick for a week but feel I may need to speak to my GP in the next few days due to pain continuing.

    • Ian Morris

      Firstly, it would appear that you have a valid claim for accident at work compensation. Injuries to the back can be extremely debilitating with restrictions in mobility, strength and independence and the symptoms of a back injury can be very painful and cause long term problems. In your case, you appear to have injured your back at work as a result of the heavy lifting you were tasked with in moving the heavy plant across the yard. It is likely that the item you were asked to drag was excessively heavy and should have been moved using the appropriate equipment, machinery or at the very least additional man-power. As such, I think liability may well attach to your employer should you opt to pursue a claim for compensation.

      Your employer is not obliged to pay your salary whilst you are unfit to work – even though your injury was caused at work. As such, unless you are contractually entitled to full pay whilst off sick (which it would appear that you are not), you will only receive statutory sick pay (SSP) and have to cope with a considerable loss of income as well as the pain and discomfort of your back injury.

      In these circumstances, your only route to recover your lost income is by pursuing and succeeding with a claim for compensation against your employers ’employer liability insurance’ cover. With our specialist back injury Solicitors, we would look to recover compensation for the physical pain and discomfort of the injury, with the value agreed on the basis of appropriate medical evidence and long term prognosis and importantly, ensure that any lost income and incurred costs were also recovered in full.

      Whilst coping with a loss of wages is extremely stressful, it is very important that you do not ‘rush’ back to work unless your GP advises that you are fit to do so. You could of course, speak with your employer to see if they have any light duties or desk work you could do temporarily in order to continue to earn your income. If they are able to accommodate such a request, it would not impact on any way upon any future claim for compensation.

      Please call us on 01225430285 or use the ‘start a claim’ page of our website to find out more about your rights after an accident at work and how our easy to understand No Win No Fee claims process can help you achieve a fair and just outcome in this situation.

  4. Jeanette

    I work in a school with a special needs child. As I went to sit down he had moved the chair causing me to fall on the floor. I have been off work with a bad back for three weeks and will probably need a bit longer. Do I qualify for anything?

    • Ian Morris

      If you have recorded the incident and injury details within the employers accident book, you could then look at whether or not you can make a claim for compensation.

      Clearly, this incident was caused by a child doing something silly and not necessarily due to employer negligence. As such, it could be that you may not have a claim. However, if the employer has failed to correctly risk assess this child and not advised you or colleagues of the risks that they will present, it could be that you could pursue a claim.

  5. ricky

    can i get benefits if i am getting paid ssp whilst out of work due to injury at work

    • Ian Morris

      Whether or not you qualify for any benefits other than SSP is something that will need to be discussed with your local benefits office. It could be that you are entitled to further benefits.

  6. Monica

    I had an injury at work
    I tripped over a magnet door stop that is wedged onto the floor near the staff toilet as I came out and I fell over, sustaining a fractured leg, I’m an Agency Worker paid through an Umbrella Company and they have only paid Sick Pay for 18.5 days and the accident happened 11/11/18, which is 47 days to date, they are claiming I was part time which I’m not. I’m really stressed out financially and this is negatively impacting on my recovery journey and I also have a daughter in Uni who is fully dependent on me., as a single parent.

    • Ian Morris

      It may well be possible to claim compensation in this matter on the basis that the magnetic door wedge was a tripping hazard left in a dangerous position.

      Given the severity of your injury and the loss of income you are facing, you should start a claim with us. Please call us on 01225430285.

  7. Jessie

    I had an accident on my way to work, fell over and injured my knee. I have had to take a lot of time off. Which my employer wants to put me on an absence management plan.

    Can my employer include the days that were related to my accident on the way to work. I hadn’t arrived at work.

    Thank you, Jessie

    • Ian Morris

      If you are on your way to work, you are not legally at work. As such, your employer wouldn’t have to count the journey to work as being at work under UK law.

      You may be able to make a claim for compensation for the injuries you sustained when you fell on the way to work and we would be happy to discuss this accident with you to help you ascertain whether you can pursue a claim for compensation. To this end, why not use our ‘start a claim’ page to make some further contact with us so that we can help you find out more about your rights?

  8. Michael

    I recently had an accident in work where something sprung up and hit me in the eye causing me to be off for a week it was a freak accident no ones fault in particular but I lost a weeks pay because of it. Is it possible to claim my weeks wage back

    • Ian Morris

      You can recover your lost wages if you make and succeed with a claim for personal injury compensation against your employer. You mention that the incident was nobody’s fault. However, I would ask what work you do and whether you should have had eye protection? It could well be that you feel that no individual has done anything wrong, but perhaps the employer hasn’t fulfilled their statutory duties in minimising the risk of injury through insufficient training or a lack of adequate personal protective equipment.

  9. Roland Hardy

    Hello, can a company pay full salary to a member of office staff who is off sick due to an operation for example say 3 months and deny this to someone on the shop floor who has also had an operation and needs 3 months off, is this discrimination or are the company entitled to pay what they want to whoever they want to.

    • Ian Morris

      The answer to what payments any employee is entitled to receive will depend on the individual contract that they have for their employment. In the scenario you describe, the office employee could be on a different contract to that of the shop floor worker and if so, it is not helpful to compare what payments each person would receive if off sick.

      If you believe that an employer is being discriminatory, you should take out a grievance and raise the issue so that the employer is forced to explain things.

  10. Dawn

    I was involved in an accident at work. The dustcart that I was travelling in as a passenger crashed into a van. I have hurt my ribs and cant work at the moment, but my employer has said that I am not entitled to sick pay and that I have to take it as holiday? Am I not entitled to SSP? I haven’t got any holiday yet as I have only been there for 10 weeks. I have given them a sick note for 2 weeks.

    • Ian Morris

      Firstly, as a passenger in a road traffic accident you MUST make a claim for road traffic accident compensation and this is something we can help you with. You’ll need the vehicle registration details which should be with your employer if you don’t already have them, but we can help you if you don’t know how to get them.

      Not only would our specialist Solicitors obtain a compensation settlement for your rib injuries, but they would also recover any lost income and costs incurred through the special damages element of your claim.

      Employers are not obliged to pay sick pay even if you are away from work due to injuries sustained at work. As such, most employers will only provide SSP. You should be entitled to that, even though you are only 10 weeks in to the job. You should discuss that with your employer.

      We look forward to helping you with your claim for compensation.

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