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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Sep 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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[Add a Comment]
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
Hi, I've had three days off work sick but no sick note, and now I'm being told I have to work over time to make the hours up is this right, I'm also claiming universal credit will this be effected?
Chris - 2-Jun-20 @ 6:28 AM
I was off work for four week I phoned the work to tell them I would start back on Monday but I don't feel that I am ready to go back yet what con I do
Avy - 30-May-20 @ 10:25 PM
Hi, as we are in the pandemic time. In my workplace we are working in teams, team A and teamB. It was my work week and I only worked 2days for the week and I fell ill on Wednesday. Informed my employer sent my doctor's note, which was booking me off for the rest of the week. My line manager now has moved me to the other team.My sick days leave are now my off week. Please assist can that happen with out consulting me.
Michee - 21-May-20 @ 1:28 PM
After my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis in 2014, I was introduced to Herbal HealthPoint and their effective Multiple Sclerosis treatment. I immediately started on the protocol, it relieved symptoms significantly, even better than the medications I was given. Visit ww w. herbalhealthpoint. c om. First month on treatment, my tremors mysterious stopped, had improvement walking. After I completed the treatment, I recovered from the horrible disease.
RenauldClare - 16-May-20 @ 12:12 AM
Hi. I have been off sick 7 months. My last off sick note run out on 27/05/20. My employer didn’t pay my off sick for April. I just e mailed to my company to ask about that. Not get an answer yet. Anyone can advice me what i need to do? Thanks
Mario - 6-May-20 @ 9:37 AM
So I have been on sick leave since last year due to stress, thanks to my line manager. The company I work for doesn’t do sick pay so I have had government sick pay paid to me. The problem I have is that I was expecting to get paid today and I had to email payroll to find out why I didn’t have a wage slip let alone get paid. Turns out I have had my full 28 weeks sick pay nearly 2 weeks ago and they didn’t bother to inform of this so that I could get things in place as I have bills to pay. I have no idea if they have broken a law because of this or not. Since my last employer kept me inform of when my sick pay ran out.
Char - 1-May-20 @ 9:18 PM
I started my new job 5 weeks ago I went to see my doctor on the 30 of March and she gave me a sick note for 5 weeks for my anxiety I phone up my boss and told her and I email my sick note that day I was due to be paid today today with sick pay SSP they phone me today wasn’t entitled to any sick pay as I’ve only been there for five weeks I don’t understand
Kel - 28-Apr-20 @ 7:19 PM
So I need help as I just came out of a controlling relationship and due to this I was off work on the sick I had a Dr's note for 8 weeks but 4 weeks into my sick note the company i worked for sacked me what right do I have if any in the 4 weeks I was off someone from work came out to my house once every week but my ex wasn't happy about this I wasn't able to have any contact with anyone from work but I'm now out of this relationship and want my job back as I bloody loved and it's been a job I wanted for ages if anyone can give me advice that would be great has I don't know where to start to even try and fight this my ex has taken so much from me I'm hoping they can't take away one of the best things in my life
Bob - 24-Feb-20 @ 3:42 AM
I have been on sick from work for 38 weeks due to depression after the sudden death of my husband..my ask ran out on 10th January...I decided to give notice due to ill health and asked for wage slips up to that date to take to the job centre.i received a letter from the employer to state that i didnt have any wage slips because I didn't work for them after 10th of January.My sick not from the doctors did not run out until 4th February and prior to my giving notice I could have returned to my employment.I wrote better to them regarding this but hsvebhad no reply...what can I do
Beans - 17-Feb-20 @ 9:22 PM
I've called off sick twice this month, coincidence is it's both on a Sunday. I'm in part time employment. Last week Sunday I called of sick because I had noticed something wrong with my throat and tonsils. I proceeded to enter work this week Saturday feeling a bit better, but the cold has made me get worse again. So I've called off sick today (sunday). My boss said she has to report it to the manager because she's suspicious of me as both sick days are sunday. Am I in the wrong? What will happen? Will I get fired for being sick?
Lou - 16-Feb-20 @ 10:11 AM
My sickness period started before I qualified for company sick pay after 6 months!! I have now crosses over into the 6 months and I’m being told as the period of sickness started before i don’t qualify for company sick pay?! How is that fair ??!
Kerri - 11-Feb-20 @ 6:15 PM
hi. i have recently traveled to thailand and returned on the 7th of feb. one of the people i travelled with has symptoms common with the coronavirus and is awaiting results of test to confirm if it’s the virus or unrelated issue. however i informed my work of the tests and the told me i wasn’t allowed to return to work until they tests show negative for the virus . what rights do i have to pay as i myself feel fine and wanted to work as normal.
damo - 10-Feb-20 @ 4:03 PM
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