In White Feather Commercial Cleaning Ltd v HMRC [2022] TC 8611, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) had to decide whether Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) was due to an employee after her employer claimed that her incapacity was not genuine.

  • An employer failed pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to an employee, who complained to HMRC.
  • HMRC wrote to the appellant and the employee.
  • The employee advised she was waiting for a scan and was undergoing physiotherapy.
  • The employer argued that her incapacity was not genuine.
  • HMRC decided the employee was due some £2,000 in unpaid SSP.
  • Following a Statutory Review which upheld HMRC’s decision, the employer made an Appeal to the FTT.

The FTT found that:

  • The employer failed to show on the balance of probabilities that HMRC’s decision was incorrect as:
    • There was evidence from five different GPs over an extended period of time that the employee had sciatica.
    • There was no evidence to support the appellant's claims that a local GP had signed off other employees without reason.

The appeal was dismissed and the appellant was due to pay SSP to the employee.


It is highly unusual for the tribunal to hear a case of this nature. The problem was a breakdown of trust between employer and employee and the decision turned on the evidence received from the GPs. 

Useful guides on this topic

Statutory pay entitlement: directors and other employees (freeview)
The rules determining entitlement to statutory pay are different for directors, casual/agency workers and certain other employment types.

Statutory Review (by HMRC)
What is a Statutory Review? Is it automatic? What happens in a Statutory Review? Can you challenge a Statutory Review's findings? Can you influence a Statutory Review? 

How to appeal an HMRC decision
Disagree with an HMRC decision? How to appeal, what type of decision can you appeal and what are your different options when you disagree with HMRC? What are the key steps in making an appeal?

External links

White Feather Commercial Cleaning Ltd v HMRC [2022] TC 8611

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