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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Aug 2017 | 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 £113 per week for tax year 2017-18
  • 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 £89.35 a week in tax year 2017-18. 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 hurt my back was in servere pain so I rang in sick and advised my manager. I was asked if I was going to the doctor to get some stronger painkillers I said yes. I rang in the next day to update my manager I told her that I had an appointment. She asked me whether I will be in for the rest of the week, I said no. To which she said well you're on annual leave the following week. Ring me tomorrow let me know what the doctors said and what he prescribed for you. My question is do I have to give her that much information as this is only my 2nd day off? Not even required a sick note yet. And from speaking to other members of staff this has never been required of them.
Justice - 22-Aug-17 @ 10:36 AM
I've been signed off sick for past 2 weeks due to car crash and back problems. Been in regular contact with my place of work during this time. Advised I wanted a stage return for 2 weeks to get me back to work. However told as 2 weeks don't count as long term sick I can't do this. Therefore had no alternative but to be signed off for another 2 weeks as would struggle to do full time hours atm. However my Manager has now got occupational health involved and is coming round my house 2 weeks and 2 days after being off work. Confused if this is allowed as not long term sick. Please advise. Feel like I'm being put under unfair pressure.
Swifty - 21-Aug-17 @ 10:27 PM
Tom - Your Question:
Been of work for 6 weeks feeling a lot better how do I go about returning back to work ?

Our Response:
Get a fit note from your doctor and then contact your employer to let them know you're returning.
SafeWorkers - 9-Aug-17 @ 11:20 AM
Carol - Your Question:
I have been of work with back trouble I handed a sick line from my doctor but today I got 2 letters the same saying they are holding my sick pay can they do this

Our Response:
Your employer can choose whether/when to pay company sick pay. You should be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay if you're eligible
SafeWorkers - 8-Aug-17 @ 10:41 AM
Been of work for 6 weeks feeling a lot better how do I go about returning back to work ?
Tom - 7-Aug-17 @ 3:14 PM
Red - Your Question:
I have spoke to my manager this morning and told them I dont feel well and I said I can do the early shift but not the late as well they told my team leader if I'm not well I have to go home now and money will be taken off me is this right

Our Response:
This is really at your employer's discretion. If they feel, this is effectively "prediciting" sickness, they can refuse.
SafeWorkers - 7-Aug-17 @ 10:59 AM
I have been of work with back trouble I handed a sick line from my doctor but today I got 2 letters the same saying they are holding my sick pay can they do this
Carol - 5-Aug-17 @ 1:45 PM
I have spoke to my manager this morning and told them I dont feel well and I said I can do the early shift but not the late as well they told my team leader if I'm not well I have to go home now and money will be taken off me is this right
Red - 3-Aug-17 @ 9:37 AM
Reg - Your Question:
Hi I was recently of sick for 2 weeks with Achilles problem covered by a fit note from my doctor. I then returned to work but on my days off as I wad due to start my next shift I came down with diarrhoea and had to have another 7 days off. I was told that because this was a separate sickness I did not need a fit note but have now been told by my HR department that I need a note for these 7 days. Is this true?

Our Response:
A fit note is not needed before 7 days are up. Your employer can however ask for evidence of sickness before 7 days and if so, it is their responsibility to arrange and pay for it. When working out the 7 days you need to include all the days you've been sick including days you don't normally work - so perhaps that is why you have been asked for a fit note on this occasion.
SafeWorkers - 25-Jul-17 @ 12:13 PM
Hi I was recently of sick for 2 weeks with Achilles problem covered by a fit note from my doctor. I then returned to work but on my days off as I wad due to start my next shift I came down with diarrhoea and had to have another 7 days off. I was told that because this was a separate sickness I did not need a fit note but have now been told by my HR department that I need a note for these 7 days. Is this true?
Reg - 18-Jul-17 @ 2:32 PM
Concerned ??- Your Question:
Hi there I have various illnesses with underactive thyroid, anemia and I had major back surgery in 2009 that caused me so much pain so times I can't get up let alone get in to work. I had some time off last year because I had an unknown kidney infection at the time and was told by my doctor on four occasions that I had a virus. I ended up being signed off by my doctor for two weeks. Then I had recently had another two weeks off again signed off by a doctor because I had Labyrinthitis and it caused dizziness that wouldn't stop, sickness because of the motion of it and blurry vision so I couldn't see or concerntrate on anything. My work have docked my pay for the two weeks and now they are calling me in for a meeting they can't give me a warning due to the doctors notes but can they doc my pay so much? If they can't give me a warning can they make me go to this meeting? Can they also ask "can you work here or perhaps you should look elsewhere for a job? I can proove and had done with doctors note that my sickness was real I just feel like I'm getting a warning even though it's not.

Our Response:
Unfortunately an employer can dismiss you if you they feel you have had too much time off work even it's due to genuine sickness. If you are eligible for statutory sick pay, your employer cannot refuse this.
SafeWorkers - 5-Jul-17 @ 12:16 PM
Hi there I have various illnesses with underactive thyroid, anemia and I had major back surgery in 2009 that caused me so much pain so times I can't get up let alone get in to work. I had some time off last year because I had an unknown kidney infection at the time and was told by my doctor on four occasions that I had a virus. I ended up being signed off by my doctor for two weeks. Then I had recently had another two weeks off again signed off by a doctor because I had Labyrinthitis and it caused dizziness that wouldn't stop, sickness because of the motion of it and blurry vision so I couldn't see or concerntrate on anything. My work have docked my pay for the two weeks and now they are calling me in for a meeting they can't give me a warning due to the doctors notes but can they doc my pay so much? If they can't give me a warning can they make me go to this meeting? Can they also ask "can you work here or perhaps you should look elsewhere for a job? I can proove and had done with doctors note that my sickness was real I just feel like I'm getting a warning even though it's not.
Concerned ?? - 4-Jul-17 @ 6:44 PM
I have been of work with depression for 23 days and have no contract been with the company for 10 years. How long am I in titled to full pay as I'm due to return soon. But he has given me ssp which means I can't pay my bills or rent so may loose my house
angie - 21-Jun-17 @ 11:30 PM
Last week i had to call in sick for 2 days due to sciatica and told my employer the day before my first day off sick. My employer paid me my full wage but is now saying he will be taking 2 days holiday off me. I've been with the company 14yrs now and still have not been given any form of contract. Can my employer just take these 2 days off me?
Cal4457 - 21-Jun-17 @ 8:54 AM
I had a car crash and suffered a fracture, I was signed off from work for 6 weeks, the fracture did not heal so I had to have an operation to fix it. I had the operation and was signed off for another 6 weeks to recover. I have been with my company 6 mths, their company policy is to pay full pay for the first month and half pay for the next two months for employees with 6mths - 2yrs service. I offered to work a few hours from home whilst off sick and they agreed although the job does not really benefit from this. My company paid me full pay for the first month and told me they would only pay half pay for the second month followed by nothing for the third month, they would pay full pay for the hours I did work. I had my operation on the 2nd. The morning of the 17th I received a letter dated the 16th which says they hope by now I have received the letter dated the 15th, and would like to let me know that I can work my notice as I wish but must return any equipment to them by the end of the period. They wish me all the best for the future. I have not received a letter dated the 15th I also have not resigned as I am still signed off. My contract states 4 weeks notice must be given to terminate the contract. Is what they are doing legal, can they terminate my contract whilst I am off sick and if I am in a notice period do they have to pay full pay? What are the options open to me.
lp - 17-Jun-17 @ 11:14 PM
Bonz - Your Question:
I have a baby with kidney reflux is off with urine infections alot. I have taken 9 days off in 6months and my employer is saying if I take more time off it will result in a disciplinary can they do this?

Our Response:
Unfortunately some employers are not so understanding as others. In general an employer has to allow you some time off (unpaid if necessary) for emergencies relating to a child but if your child needs regular care etc, then you're expected to take this out of your leave. 9 days would result in a disciplinary if it were the owne employee's sickness absence according to most employers' policies.
SafeWorkers - 15-Jun-17 @ 11:35 AM
I have a baby with kidney reflux is off with urine infections alot. I have taken 9 days off in 6months and my employer is saying if i take more time off it will result in a disciplinary can they do this?
Bonz - 12-Jun-17 @ 10:08 AM
I have a very rare cancer related illness I used to work evenings but am now on days I have a contract to work 4hrs a day I cannot work evenings anymore as I have regular hospital appointments all in the afternoon can my manager make me go back on evenings also he keeps changing my shift hours thank you
Carrot - 6-Jun-17 @ 9:34 PM
I'm in the process of claiming ESA but they have sent me a medical form out to fill in I will be returning to work after 1month do I still need to fill it in
Eye - 6-Jun-17 @ 7:10 PM
I was currently on sick note for 16 weeks now for shoulder and arthritis and the sick note is coming to an end now but am not still alright still haven pains. Can I still get more sick note from the doctor or I have to return to work?
Very cky - 30-May-17 @ 3:19 PM
My husband went off sick with Sciatica 2 days before his contract was due to end. He is awaiting an MRI scan. The doctor gave him a sick note for 4 weeks, he has never been off sick before so what doe's he do with the note. The contract was for 3months & will not be renewed.
Kaz - 30-May-17 @ 12:43 PM
wendy- Your Question:
I was off sick for 4 weeks with depression. I did not receive company sick pay only SSP.I am still being treated for depression and produce gp sick notes.On return to work my boss has said I have to " work back " the 4 weeks sick leave.Feel this is unfair and looking for advice.

Our Response:
What do you mean by "work back" - does this mean they want you to do overtime to make up the time lost through sickness absence? An employer cannot do that.
SafeWorkers - 23-May-17 @ 12:56 PM
I was off sick for 4 weeks with depression. I did not receive company sick pay only SSP .I am still being treated for depression and produce gp sick notes. On return to work my boss has said I have to " work back " the 4 weeks sick leave .Feel this is unfair and looking for advice.
wendy - 22-May-17 @ 9:36 AM
I wasadvised by my doctor to take time off of work for my infection.I took 3 days offand came back to work for 4 days in the same week. Then my infection got worse and I was unable to work the rest of the week.Do I need to put in 2 ssp formsor justthe one?
Jane - 21-May-17 @ 12:04 PM
Al - Your Question:
I was signed of work for 4 days with shoulder pain, handed in a sick note to member of staff from my department. I was out the house after 2 days feeding better, but I accidentally put on FB that I was out enjoying a beer, I've been told by a union rep I mite be dismissed is this true.

Our Response:
This depends on how your employer views it and whether they have anything written into their behaviour policy about it.
SafeWorkers - 18-May-17 @ 2:39 PM
I was signed of workfor 4 days with shoulder pain, handed in a sick note to member of staff from my department. I was out the house after 2 days feeding better, but i accidentally put on FB that i was out enjoying a beer, I've been told by a union rep i mite be dismissed is this true.
Al - 17-May-17 @ 7:39 PM
Alf - Your Question:
Hello,I was signed of work for a week with a very bad chest infection and now my company have sacked me is there anything I can do as it seems very unfair especially after I have always stayed on late at work and have never took more than a day off for sickness in the 22months I have worked there

Our Response:
As long as your employer followed the correct procedures, there may not be a great deal you can do. You can't easily claim unfair dismissal if you have been working at a company for less than two years.
SafeWorkers - 11-May-17 @ 2:12 PM
Hello, I was signed of work for a week with a very bad chest infection and now my company have sacked me is there anything I can do as it seems very unfair especially after I have always stayed on late at work and have never took more than a day off for sickness in the 22months I have worked there
Alf - 10-May-17 @ 1:29 PM
Hi I need some advice, I have been signed off for 4 weeks and now receiving another note on this one running out. The reason for being off is my baby was admired to hospital and diagnosed with a condition that is now requiring a lot of hospital care. I also have another child to care for and the stress of the situation is killing me. My Form runs out this Monday and I will be emailing my. Ew form in Tuesday morning, however I have now received a email stating they want me in for a meeting on Friday to discuss my Probation period and my absence, I have declined this meeting but worrying now that I will be sacked which I assume they can do, obviously with all the hospital trips and admissions money is very much neeeded so was relying on SSP as my income. Can anyone advice on what I should do.
Lbell - 14-Apr-17 @ 8:15 AM
Please help - I am going in for a tendon operation on my hand in two weeks, I have been told by the doctor I will be off 4 weeks + as I use a keyboard.I will only get two weeks SSP.I live on my own, how do I pay all the bills when I have no savings
Mollym00 - 13-Apr-17 @ 9:58 AM
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