BENEFITS EXPERT: Will sick pay be calculated on my normal or furlough wage?
Q. I have been on furlough wages during lockdown and although I was due to return to work I have suffered an injury and won't be able to actually return for a few months whilst I recover.
I have made inquiries about getting Statutory Sick Pay and have noticed that in order to qualify my average wage over last eight weeks should be £120 or more.
Whilst on furlough my wages were below this amount as my employer didn't make up the remaining 20% of my wage.
Will my "average" wage calculation be based on my normal wage or furlough wage?
A. Currently there has been no amendments regarding the calculation of salary if your normal earnings have reduced as a result of being placed on furlough.
Amendments were made for maternity/paternity based benefits were you would have your earnings based on "pre-furlough" average earnings but nothing similar was introduced for SSP and we are currently not aware of any plans to do similar changes to SSP.
If you have worked on a Zero Hours Contract with fluctuating earnings then you are able to request your wage should be calculated using a broader date range rather than the usual eight weeks, however if you worked fixed, regular hours then this option would not be available.
You may still be entitled to other benefits in your situation so we would advise you to obtain a benefit check to confirm other help such as contribution based benefits i.e. New Style ESA and/or Universal Credit.
Another option may be to check if you have any outstanding holiday entitlement and take this, holiday pay should not be furloughed and if you have sufficient holiday to take this may be enough to get you above the average £120 or increase your income before you can return to work.