Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on Statutory Sick Pay on 6th November 1986.
Mr. Stern Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will announce the rates of statutory sick pay that will apply from April 1987.
Mr. Major Regulations will shortly be laid before Parliament proposing new rates of statutory sick pay with effect from 6 April 1987. The standard rate will rise from £46.75 to £47.20 per week, and will be payable where an employee's average weekly earnings are £76.50 or more. The lower rate will rise from £31.60 to £32.85 and will be payable where average weekly earnings are between £39 (the lower earnings limit for the payment of national insurance contributions) and £76.49. These represent increases in the rates of 1 per cent. and 4 per cent. respectively. At present 85 per cent. of spells of SSP attract the standard rate with the remaining 15 per cent. being split between the middle and lower rates. Having two rates of SSP applicable to only 15 per cent. of spells of sickness overcomplicates the administration of SSP for employers and does not provide a sensible structure.
We propose, therefore, to merge the present middle rate of SSP with the lower rate with effect from 6 April 1987. All recipients of the middle rate at that date will continue to get the current rate of £39.20 until their spell of sickness ends or they reach their maximum entitlement to SSP, whichever is sooner. Following the merger between the two rates, the lower rate is being increased by 1.2 per cent. more than would have been required under a straight prices uprating. Statutory maternity pay will also be set at this higher level on its introduction in April 1987. The regulations bringing these changes in will be subject to affirmative resolution of both Houses.