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 Are employees on zero hours contracts entitled to SSP?

The test here is not the number of hours worked, or the type of contract, but the earnings. At the rates you quote, an employee might earn between £42 and £210 per week. The point at which SSP must be paid is if an employee earns £116 or more per week, which is the point where they start to pay National Insurance. To calculate if the person is eligible, you need to look at their average earnings for the 8 weeks prior to the first day of sickness – if this exceeds £116 per week then they will be eligible for SSP. One other thing you need to do is to designate the employees’ qualifying days in a week – for example if you can call them in over any of the 7 days then this should be the period designated.

How does furlough interact with maternity leave?

Those about to go on maternity leave will go on leave as normal.

It appears that an employee can be furloughed if they are on maternity leave, or other family related leave, although this has not been expressly confirmed by the Government.

Guidance states that, where employers pay enhanced maternity pay, they can claim for this under the scheme and it does not appear that this would be the case if employees could not be on maternity leave and furlough at the same time. The same applies to pay during paternity, adoption and shared parental leave.

The position on assessing the level of payment to be made during leave was confirmed by the Government on 24 April 2020. Eligibility for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is calculated with reference to earnings during a prescribed 8 week period. New legislation provides that, where statutory maternity leave begins on or after 25 April 2020, entitlement to SMP will be calculated on the employee’s normal, full earnings rather than their furlough pay.

The same applies to paternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave and parental bereavement leave.

Is there legislation regarding Parental Bearevement?

Yes, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 introduces a leave entitlement of ‘at least two weeks’. This two-week period applies per child. 


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