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1979-1987 - Mr Major’s Sick Pay Answer

Below is the text of Mr Major’s response (his first answering on behalf of the Government) to the Sick Pay debate, held on 12th November 1985.


Mr. John Mark Taylor asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the minimum hours and earnings threshold for entitlement to statutory sick pay.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. John Major) The earnings threshold for entitlement to statutory sick pay is the same as that governing liability to pay national insurance contributions, currently £35.50 a week. There is no qualifying rule about a minimum number of hours.

Mr. Taylor I congratulate my hon. Friend on his first appearance on the Front Bench to answer questions. I thank him for his reply. Can he comment on the circumstances of an older employee in my constituency on £35 per week, but with some savings, who finds himself ineligible either for unemployment benefit or for sickness pay?

Mr. Major I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his kind words. In the case of the man that he mentioned, if his earnings are below £35.50 he will have no entitlement to statutory sick pay. He may, of course, have an entitlement to sickness benefit, which would depend on his previous national insurance contributions. If, however, he falls outside statutory sick pay and state sickness benefit, he may have a residual entitlement to supplementary benefit.