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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 19 Apr 2018 | 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 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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[Add a Comment]
Hi I work 4 nights per week 12 hour shifts and have been off with conjunctivitis I contacted head office who told me I could not come into work for my 4 shifts due to thexpire risk of passing the condition on to residents. Am I entitled to ssp I was unsure due to my normal working week only being 4 days but my hours are 48 Thanks
Em - 19-Apr-18 @ 7:54 PM
Hi I had my appendix removed Last November and not been well since. I still have pains where my appendix should be. I have now been off work for six weeks and my doctor today signed me off for another month. My boss no longer answers my text or calls. I am now waiting to see a surgeon to find out the next move but I think my place of work may want me out. I am worried now about bills and things. I have been working at the same place for over 10without taking many sick days. You would of thought that would count for something.
Womble - 18-Apr-18 @ 6:31 PM
I called in sick today at 6am as I’ve been being sick since Saturday and yesterday Monday the 16th was a public holiday but was still feeling drained this morning....I called my work to let them know and they then called me back at 7:30 am to tell me to take the rest of the week off without pay is my boss allowed to do this as I can’t afford being off all week ?
David - 17-Apr-18 @ 7:39 AM
Bundle- Your Question:
Hi I hope you can please advise me, I have been signed off work for Stress that's built up over a long time period and I obviously didn't notice how burnt-out I was getting mentally or physically, then suddenly it just knocked me out. I've been signed off for a month. I've got a sick note for my employer, but they also are demanding that I attend a meeting which they have seemingly taken legal advice on, to discuss my situation. This is the last thing I need to do at the moment, I've only been off a week and a couple of days so far, and as they've not once asked me how I am or shown any concern except to berate me for being too ill to talk to them and are treating me as if they really don't believe I'm ill who have I'm more insulted at than I can say. (I have regularly messaged to keep them updated as required by law, I have no written contract and it was not mentioned in a verbal contract when I was interviewed or offered the position) I feel strongly that meeting up at this point will prove too stressful, but they're making it sound as if I have no choice. My question is really, do I have a choice at this point? I would appreciate your advice.

Our Response:
You should have a written contract - ask for one. If there are no details in the contract, your employee handbook (ask to see it) will give details of your employer's sickness policy and procedures. If you feel youremployer is respecting your rights, try and find someone (an HR department) to talk to about it.
SafeWorkers - 11-Apr-18 @ 1:07 PM
Hi I hope you can please advise me, I have been signed off work for Stress that's built up over a long time period and I obviously didn't notice how burnt-out I was getting mentally or physically, then suddenly it just knocked me out. I've been signed off for a month. I've got a sick note for my employer, but they also are demanding that I attend a meeting which they have seemingly taken legal advice on, to discuss my situation. This is the last thing I need to do at the moment, I've only been off a week and a couple of days so far, and as they've not once asked me how I am or shown any concern except to berate me for being too ill to talk to them and are treating me as if they really don't believe I'm ill who have I'm more insulted at than I can say. (I have regularly messaged to keep them updated as required by law, I have no written contract and it was not mentioned in a verbal contract when I was interviewed or offered the position) I feel strongly that meeting up at this point will prove too stressful, but they're making it sound as if I have no choice. My question is really, do I have a choice at this point? I would appreciate your advice.
Bundle - 10-Apr-18 @ 5:42 PM
I have been signed off work for stress. A male colleague harassed me because I was quiet. He shouted at me for about 10 minutes, refused to accept my responses, that I'm generally not a morning person and don't talk alot in the morning and stormed out the building without telling anyone. I was left pretty traumatised and since then I find myself crying whenever I think about the incident.This was an extremely humiliating experience and I no longer feel comfortable at work. I reported this to 2 managers, both of which said this seemed out of character for the male colleague. I asked them to deal with this matter discreetly because it was really embarassing and I didn't want colleagues to talk about this. However, I was contacted by a colleague asking what had happened. I felt really upset by this and didn't give any details, except for 'I didn't say anything'. She then went on to say I must have said something, to which I replied 'Thanks for thinking the best of me. But I cannot emphasize enough that I literally said nothing.' She then made excuses for him too, saying that he must have been having a bad day. I wrote a statement, highlighting how I felt and believe that since there were already excuses made for him, I will be reprimanded for blemishing his record, as he is popular amongst managers. I was signed off from work due to stress, for 2 weeks and I asked my manager whether I'd have to call in everyday. He said I should call in. But this has caused me further anxiety, that even the night before I'm so stressed out having to speak to someone who potentially knows about this situation. Should I have been calling in sick to work everyday, especially if the reason for me being signed off was work stress?
Na - 8-Apr-18 @ 11:02 AM
Kaz - Your Question:
Hi I am 33 weeks pregnant and have been signed off sick by my doctor (pregnancy related SPD). My sick note runs into my holiday and I have been told by my employer I will not get holiday pay unless I return and work a shift beforehand. Is this correct? I am unable to do this as I am in a lot of pain can they do this legally? Regards karen

Our Response:
You can take your holiday entitlement while you’re off sick and be paid normal holiday pay rather than SSP. You don't have to work a shift first.
SafeWorkers - 6-Apr-18 @ 11:49 AM
Hi I am 33 weeks pregnant and have been signed off sick by my doctor (pregnancy related SPD). My sick note runs into my holiday and I have been told by my employer I will not get holiday pay unless I return and work a shift beforehand. Is this correct? I am unable to do this as I am in a lot of pain can they do this legally? Regards karen
Kaz - 5-Apr-18 @ 6:38 AM
Northernlass - Your Question:
My father has just passed away and I need to move back home to support my mother financially and for her mobility. I am currently been signed off on sickness leave through bereavement but I cannot return to my job 300 miles away as she's not in great health. I am desperately trying to find a job up North and have 3 interviews however the transition takes a few weeks. Meanwhile my employer keeps emailing me wanting updates on my position and when I am going to hand in.my notice. I feel this can be seen as harassment during this stressful grieving time. I don't want to lose my job but cannot leave my recently widowed mum alone. Any advice would be appreciated during this terribly difficult time.

Our Response:
We can't really give much advice on this. You've made it clear to your employer that you intend leaving and are actively looking for work elsewhere, so it's understandable that your employer is looking at this from a business point of view. Your employer does have a right to ask about your sickness absence and to work with you on getting back to work etc.
SafeWorkers - 4-Apr-18 @ 11:11 AM
Win - Your Question:
WinIf my fit note is dated thur 22 march wen would I be intitled to pay. Normal pay at work is Saturdays and we would get paid from the till

Our Response:
If you are entiteld to statutory sick pay, you can claim it after 3 days of being sick (eg. on the 4th day).Sick pay is not payable for the first 3 days. You should be paid it when you're usually paid. Check the above article to make sure you're elibigle.
SafeWorkers - 3-Apr-18 @ 2:30 PM
My father has just passed away and I need to move back home to support my mother financially and for her mobility. I am currently been signed off on sickness leave through bereavement but I cannot return to my job 300 miles away as she's not in great health. I am desperately trying to find a job up North and have 3 interviews however the transition takes a few weeks. Meanwhile my employer keeps emailing me wanting updates on my position and when I am going to hand in.my notice. I feel this can be seen as harassment during this stressful grieving time. I don't want to lose my job but cannot leave my recently widowed mum alone. Any advice would be appreciated during this terribly difficult time.
Northernlass - 1-Apr-18 @ 12:38 PM
WinIf my fit note is dated thur 22 march wen would I be intitled to pay. Normal pay at work is Saturdays and we would get paid from the till
Win - 30-Mar-18 @ 2:54 PM
I'm sick and been send home but my manager wants me to be on call for the weekend cuz they haven't got cover so is that ok I'm thinking if something happen to me on job do insurance cover me as I'm on sick?
Mario - 29-Mar-18 @ 11:29 AM
Lem - Your Question:
I have been told by my doctor I need a knee op has can hardly walk.He says I will be off work 12 weeks I’m worried how I’ll pay my rent and council tax I have no savings or spare cash to use could you let me know how to survive if I have the op regards john

Our Response:
You should receive statutory sick pay if you're eligible. You can also ask about income support or employment and support allowance. Talk to you council about a housing benefit too. If you can do light/sedentary duties at a work and you doctor agrees, you may be able to go back earlier than 12 weeks.
SafeWorkers - 28-Mar-18 @ 12:22 PM
Hi, my first day in a job i fell and injured myself. I didn't yet have a contract. I worked for 2 weeks part time then had to get a sick note. How am i entitled to SSP? Thanks
Ann - 27-Mar-18 @ 8:07 PM
Hi I've been dismissed from work for my sickness. Is a car accident able to be put down as sickness as this was out of my control ?? I was only off 2 days and returned to work even thou the docs advised me not to.
Kj - 27-Mar-18 @ 5:51 PM
I have been told by my doctor I need a knee op has can hardly walk .He says I will be off work 12 weeks I’m worried how I’ll pay my rent and council tax I have no savings or spare cash to use could you let me know how to survive if I have the op regards john
Lem - 26-Mar-18 @ 4:37 PM
Lisa71 - Your Question:
My sister-in-law is a live in nanny and has worked for the same family for two years. She has a contract and pays NI. She has fallen ill and needs an operation next week which will mean she will need over eight weeks off. The family she works for have now told her they are putting her on statutory sick pay and have at the same time given her notice. Does she get full pay or only the SSP until the end of her notice period?

Our Response:
Shewill receive SSP plus full pay for any holidays or other earnings that she is owed.
SafeWorkers - 23-Mar-18 @ 2:09 PM
My sister-in-law is a live in nanny and has worked for the same family for two years. She has a contract and pays NI.She has fallen ill and needs an operation next week which will mean she will need over eight weeks off. The family she works for have now told her they are putting her on statutory sick pay and have at the same time given her notice. Does she get full pay or only the SSP until the end of her notice period?
Lisa71 - 20-Mar-18 @ 7:03 PM
meryine - Your Question:
Hi There,I have been off of work since December 2016 with a prolapsed L5 disc. I have made enough progress to now return to work. I spoke to my line manager in December and let her know that it was likely I'll be ready to return in January 18, when January came I asked her about starting a phased return to work. She replied letting me know that the Director would have to be informed and my manager or the director would get back to me about my "possible" return to work (I'd never mentioned possible). Now we are in March and I have chased up a response several times only to be told repeatedly they still haven't heard from the Director yet. I am still to receive a response 3 months later. I have no idea which options to take next? Thank you for any ideas/info you can provide.

Our Response:
If you are fit enough to work, they can't really prevent you from returning, unless the phased return is difficult from a business point of view. Either way it's wrong of te employer simply not to respond. Please contact ACAS for details.
SafeWorkers - 16-Mar-18 @ 3:34 PM
Hi There, I have been off of work since December 2016 with a prolapsed L5 disc. I have made enough progress to now return to work. I spoke to my line manager in December and let her know that it was likely I'll be ready to return in January 18, when January came I asked her about starting a phased return to work. She replied letting me know that the Director would have to be informed and my manager or the director would get back to me about my "possible" return to work (I'd never mentioned possible). Now we are in March and I have chased up a response several times only to be told repeatedly they still haven't heard from the Director yet. I am still to receive a response 3 months later. I have no idea which options to take next? Thank you for any ideas/info you can provide.
meryine - 13-Mar-18 @ 2:17 PM
Leisa73 - Your Question:
Hi I’ve been signed off sick for a month due to a miscarriage, my employers don’t. Pay sick for the first two years of employment but I don’t earn £113 , wellI don’t know but have done over the year 2017 , so will I get any ssp money ??

Our Response:
If you do not qualify for SSP you can look into
SafeWorkers - 12-Mar-18 @ 12:31 PM
Where I worked theyused a Bradford score I was off with a chest infection I straight away as like any othertimes I've always produced a sick note to cut a storyshorton Thursday of last weekthey sacked me for being ill after 13 years
Julie - 11-Mar-18 @ 10:09 AM
Hi I’ve been signed off sick for a month due to a miscarriage, my employers don’t. Pay sick for the first two years of employment but I don’tearn £113 , well I don’t know but have done over the year 2017 , so will I get any ssp money ??
Leisa73 - 9-Mar-18 @ 12:48 PM
hi, i was on 1 weeks annual leave and agreed to do some overtime, i then was unwell so my manager old she would take the overtime off me...now works are saying that classes as a period of sickness!! can this be right if i completed my contractual hours 37.5 with A/L?
chris - 7-Mar-18 @ 6:32 PM
Mac - Your Question:
I've been off work sick for 7 weeks and with my job you have to attend a consultation interview every two weeks to see when and if you can return to work. The first meeting was cancelled by my manager I did attend the one after then I had to refrain from two meetings after.My sick pay has been stopped for two weeks, four days before the interview date and then not reinstated until two weeks after for it to be paid just for one week before I return to work.I've not heard of this before and in 15 year's this is the first time I've evey had to claim sick pay from my employer. Is this legal ?

Our Response:
Your employer can choose whether to pay you company sick pay or not. They can also refuse to pay SSP if you have not complied with the correct notification procedures etc. You can ask reasons behind the decision (in writing) and your employer mustrespond within seven days. If you don't agree with your employer's reasons you can challenge these (contact HMRC).
SafeWorkers - 7-Mar-18 @ 3:34 PM
I've been off work sick for 7 weeks and with my job you have to attend a consultation interview every two weeks to see when and if you can return to work. The first meeting was cancelled by my manager I did attend the one after then I had to refrain from two meetings after. My sick pay has been stopped for two weeks, four days before the interview date and then not reinstated until two weeks after for it to be paid just for one week before I return to work. I've not heard of this before and in 15 year's this is the first time I've evey had to claim sick pay from my employer. Is this legal ?
Mac - 6-Mar-18 @ 9:08 PM
Maggie - Your Question:
I have broke my ankle in 2plecs and I will be off work for 6 weeks I do not get paid for been off can I get help

Our Response:
If you earn more than £113 per week (before tax) you should be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay as detailed above. Your employer has to pay this by law if you are an employee and qualify.
SafeWorkers - 6-Mar-18 @ 12:54 PM
Hi I had an operation in October 2017 on my hand, so been receiving SSP since then and work have been asking when I’ll be able to come back but now my employer has stopped paying me even tho it hasn’t been 28 weeks. And I have no other income coming In so what am I meant to do?
Chants - 5-Mar-18 @ 11:49 PM
I have broke my ankle in 2plecs and I will be off work for 6 weeks I do not get paid for been off can I get help
Maggie - 4-Mar-18 @ 11:19 AM
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