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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 30 Nov 2020 | comments*Discuss
Sickness At Work Statutory Sick Pay

Whether you love your job or you loathe it, there is every chance that there will come a point when you are not well enough to do it.

At the start of any new job, it's very important to know if you are entitled to sick days off. Most permanent, full-time employees are allotted a number of days each year in which they can call in sick and still receive their full wages. But this is entirely up to the company so it's important not to rely on it. Read your Contract of Employment carefully.

The First Day you Cannot go to Work

It is important to contact your employer (or have someone contact them on your behalf) on the very first day you cannot attend work due to sickness to tell them that you won't be coming to work. You should know who to notify beforehand, where to send in medical certificates, any rules concerning self-certification and also what's likely to happen if you fail to comply with any of these rules.

If your employment contract offers you sick pay, then you will be paid as usual. If you aren't covered, you won't be paid by your company.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

If you are still sick after 4 days and unable to return to work, you are likely to be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This is the minimum amount employers must pay you by law. To be eligible to receive SSP, you must adhere to the following:
  • Earn at least £116 per week for tax year 2018-19
  • Be between 16 and 65 years of age
  • Have performed some work under your employment contract
  • Be sick for 4 or more consecutive days
However, SSP is not paid if you were in receipt of Incapacity Benefit within the past 8 weeks before seeking to claim SSP or if you are in the Maternity Allowance period.

How to Claim SSP

Once you meet all the requirements of SSP, your employer will send you the correct documents for you to make a claim. For an absence of a week or less, a self-certification completed by you is all that is usually required to confirm your illness. After a week, you need to provide a doctor's note.

How Much You Will Receive

  • Employees who qualify can get up to £92.05 a week in tax year 2018-19. If you get contractual sick pay, you may receive more than this but you cannot receive less. You will not get paid for the first 3 days of your sickness unless you were receiving SSP at any time within the past 8 weeks prior to your latest illness. In that event, you would be paid from your first day off at work.
  • You can receive SSP for up to 28 weeks for a total of 3 years. However, you must return to work for at least 8 weeks before commencing another 28 week period.
  • If you have a persistent illness and are still unable to return to work after 28 weeks, you may be able to claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA) but you cannot receive SSP and ESA at the same time.
  • You receive SSP in the same way as you would receive your regular pay
  • If your employment ends whilst you are in receipt of SSP, your payments will stop
  • SSP is not affected if you have to go into hospital
  • If you work abroad you may be able to get SSP if your employer is liable to pay National Insurance contributions for you
  • If you go abroad to visit, SSP can still be paid provided you can prove you are still sick
  • If SSP is your only income whilst you are off sick, you may be entitled to receive other benefits in addition, such as housing benefit

What if I'm Dismissed for Being Off Sick?

If you are dismissed whilst in receipt of SSP, your employer must give you form SSP1 which explains why they are no longer paying you SSP. You should complete the form and take it to your local job centre plus. If you believe you have been dismissed because you are ill or in receipt of SSP, you may be able to complain to an Employment Tribunal and should seek advice from an experienced employment advisor at your local benefit office.

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I have been off sick for close to 8 months with long covid. On my phased return back to work I was told my hours and duties were given to other staff members for the business to operate and now I’m being demoted and only given 1/5 of my normal hours. What can I do? What are my rights? I’ve worked there for over 2 years and I was the manager now I’ve got no idea where I stand.
Eveline - 30-Nov-20 @ 11:00 PM
I’m in a temp job now for 5 weeks hoping to be kept. I’m having my first sick day due to earache and headache, can this affect me being kept ?
Beckbo - 24-Nov-20 @ 10:52 AM
I have been of work now for 8 weeks with a doctor's sick note can I be sacked from work
Dunny - 23-Nov-20 @ 9:38 AM
I've been off work since the start of February with a lung disease My employer was paying me SSP up until August,when my 28 weeks was up I still haven't been able to return to work due to my illness For the first 28 weeks I provided sick notes from my GP In August The Department of Communities declared me unfit for work I haven't supplied any sick notes to my employer since my 28 weeks was up in August as they had stopped paying me SSP, my employer has now contacted me requesting sick notes from August until now, 20th November I would appreciate it it someone could advise me if I have to supply my employer with sick notes for the period after they stopped paying me SSP Many thanks
T5554 - 20-Nov-20 @ 7:29 PM
My company are now saying that if im sick on a normal shift ill lose my overtime rate for a different shift is this allowed
T - 28-Oct-20 @ 7:40 PM
I was furloughed I told was boss that I have received my hospital appointment for operation,before that I have to self isolate for Covid test. So whe I received my wages he took off me from furlough and paid me only £135 pounds for two weeks. I have been working with the company since 1998. So now I had operation on 20 th Oct 2020so I don’t know what shall I do to approach my boss because I am not fit for work at least another 3 weeks.
Saab - 27-Oct-20 @ 11:31 AM
I had a siezure my company had me in after 4 weeks sickness and offered me a package to leave notmuch I have been there for 13 months I signed a confidentiality form this compensation will run out soon what can I do I am 60 and still waiting to see neurologist
Rich - 19-Oct-20 @ 6:07 PM
I’m signed off work with post viral recovery. And my HR and managers harassing, disturbing me constantly from different angles, different emails even though I asked complete rest (I’m still breathless and fatigued) until I update them following my phone appointment booked with Occupational health in 4 weeks. My employer have my sick notes and my respiratory specialist also sent them a letter . Can Occupational health stop my employers keep emailing me constantly, which has been jeopardising my recovery? Thanks
XY - 16-Oct-20 @ 10:54 PM
Ihave been given 3 months sick note I am self employed62 years old with depressionand back nerveproblems.Will I get hassle to look for a job.
Kj - 12-Oct-20 @ 6:33 PM
I am currently off work with depression but my boss keeps asking for my medical records and sending someone to my house to see if I'm at home is this normal
Tig - 11-Oct-20 @ 9:03 AM
I was off work with stress for 2 weeks I ssp but I lost lot of money and now struggling can I claim something to help me.
Rach - 4-Oct-20 @ 9:36 PM
So i work in aviation which has been hit very hard from coronavirus,so they have to come up with a criteria in which to make people redundant,i was off over 1 year ago with a abad back to which i went to my doctors and my Gp signed me off for 2 weeks.I have received my letter today from my company using this as a excuse to make me redundant i dont know if they are aloud to do this or not Many thanks
Dannie - 3-Oct-20 @ 10:29 AM
My wife is currently off sick with depression /anxiety /stress she doesn't qualify for ssp she has claimed ESA her employers are not very understanding they were continually pressuring her to return to work take her holiday pay and return the keys now they are asking to see her sick notes even though she is not getting ssp
Allan - 23-Sep-20 @ 2:17 PM
I have been sick twice in a 12 week period. My first day is not paid but is my second day paid? Thank you
Lozatron86 - 19-Sep-20 @ 11:10 AM
I am currently signed off sick. I need to have my wage slips as the council have requested them so they can assess my housing benefit. My boss is refusing to post them to me and will not allow anyone else to collect them on my behalf despite me giving my consent for this. He says I must collect them myself. Is this allowed? I feel I am being forced to go or I will be in serious financial difficulty.
Rose - 11-Sep-20 @ 12:07 PM
I have just had major knee surgery and have contacted by my employer 5 weeks post op asking me when I anticipate returning to work (without having even seen my consultant post op f/up)what they can do to help my return to work job/work station Will I needan OH referral and do I intend to return to my current role or will I need to be redeployed or take retirement.My question is should they be contacting me at such an early stage in my recovery asking these questions!
Ruth - 10-Sep-20 @ 11:25 PM
I have had three sick days off in one year.I had a miscarriage as being one of the sick days, I had a coronoviris scare and the last being pregnancy related.my employer gave me a letter of concern saying it was unnactble to the company for me to have two sick days off in one year .If I have one more I will get a disciplinary.what can I doI being treated unfairly?.
Ellen - 3-Sep-20 @ 10:03 AM
I have been off sick for 18 months,l received sick pay from my employer for 6 months but nothing since as l am not entitled to sap.Would my employer still pay my full stamp .?
Jules - 28-Aug-20 @ 9:20 AM
Hi isee affirms doctor this week I could be sacked from my job do my firm have to give me Liu of notice if the do that will I get a final pay check
Jase - 8-Aug-20 @ 6:49 AM
I have been employed for 13 years. I have been on the sick depression and anxiety caused by bullying, they talking about dismissal through I’ll health my ssp is finished will my employer have to pay me for notice
Daen - 5-Aug-20 @ 8:45 PM
Had a 4 week sick note for light duties which was stuck too until recently when she did not cover shifts leaving staff shortages so forced my hand into working duties that I should not be doing. This has made my condition worse and now my boss on leave .
keira kerr - 25-Jul-20 @ 3:47 PM
Hi I started working at a pharmacy in October as part time and as of April I became a full time employee but in the beginning ofJune I fell really I'll resulting in me being home for two weeks...but I'm back out since the third week of June.. I was wondering will I still be considered working a year in October as to get benefits such as sick leave ,vacation etc.
Shy02 - 22-Jul-20 @ 10:04 AM
Hi I've been off work since the end of January. I am suffering with stress, anxiety and panic attacks, the pandemic hasn't helped at all. I am not ready to go back at all. If I resign what benefits would I be able to claim please.
Jules - 17-Jul-20 @ 1:54 PM
hallo I've been off work since aug 2019 due to a head on car accident ive managed to damage the l5 in my lower back. ive been trying to get back to work since March this year but I can't get any physio appointments due to the pandemic . My sick pay has run out also ive been to oc health appointments and they recommend that I could go back doing only light dutys but my compay says tthay can not accommodate my request so I'm still stuck on the sick with no ssp or help from my company can you help I am getting universal credit but not alot .
Ash - 13-Jul-20 @ 6:05 PM
I'm on 0 hrs in work I've been on sick for 2 weeks do I getsick pay
Nic - 5-Jul-20 @ 10:09 PM
I booked annual leave and was off sick one day before it started. My employer said I can take the annual leave now as I was sick? I had booked a week off but I had a 24 hour sickness bug. Can she do this ?
Beth - 3-Jul-20 @ 6:37 PM
hi iv been off sick sept 2019 I was diagnosed with bowl cancer and liver cancer stage 4 I do want to go bk to work im just not able to do so just recovering from bowl operation and on my 4th session of chemo which is not nice side affects my employer has just sent me a e mail to say she looking at weather she can keep my job open were do stand
spenner - 25-Jun-20 @ 3:49 PM
I've been on sick since December but received different amounts monthly from employer March I only received £94 I disputed this and employer has said they think I'm fit for work im suffering bad with sciatica and carpal tunnel and had sick notes all the way through this now ive gotta see a independant doctor from the hrmc
Kelzevs - 23-Jun-20 @ 5:12 PM
I've been off work from the 23rd of march due to chronic pain I don't want to go back to work until I have had my scan which ain't still end of Septemberwhat do I do ask my doctor to sign me off till then or ?
Dawn - 21-Jun-20 @ 1:55 PM
Hi I've been off work since sept 2019 and have been putting sick notes in but I feel I dont wont to go back as my job is stressful. If i resign what benefits would i receive if any?
Cat - 3-Jun-20 @ 11:15 AM
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