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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Feb 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 £112 per week for tax year 2016-17
  • 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 £88.45 a week in tax year 2016-17. 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]
I have got a 2 week sicknote from the hospital as had an ear op, but now i have the start of an infection in my other ear which i have antibiotics for, they are giving me another sick note for this but should i message my employer or ring her as my sicknote hasnt run out yet
Deb - 22-Feb-17 @ 11:09 AM
None - Your Question:
I have epilepsy, the last two yrs have been very hard but I have managed to keep my job. I have had some seizures on the job too. I had intermittent fmla, now I have been asked to take full fmla. My employer is asking for a note from my dr that I can be seizure free at work. I am afraid they are trying to get rid of me. Is this right, can they ask my dr to really do that?

Our Response:
FMLA is an US based thing. Here it is sickness absence. Your doctor and any occupational health adviser will be able to tell you whether or how you can go back to work.
SafeWorkers - 13-Feb-17 @ 2:27 PM
I have epilepsy,the last two yrs have been very hard but I have managed to keep my job. I have had some seizures on the job too. I had intermittent fmla, now I have been asked to take full fmla. My employer is asking for a note from my dr that I can be seizure free at work. I am afraid they are trying to get rid of me.Is this right, can they ask my dr to really do that?
None - 12-Feb-17 @ 10:52 AM
Peter - Your Question:
I'm currently on the sick I've been on the sick for the past 2 weeks after injuring my hand at work I went to the hospital after my shift when I Injured it and got told it might be Arthiristis/tendernitis,my sick note run out after them 2 weeks and I returned to work to see if I could manage my job but unfortunately I couldn't so I got sent home again,I went to the doctors and they said I'm still not fit for work due to my injury but my supervisor is still telling my to ring the doctors to tell them to do tests on my hand even though the doctors have given me a 2 week sick note and given me tablets to take swelling away but my employer is rushing me to try and get me back to work is he allowed to do that? and do I need to ring him everyday when unfit for work?

Our Response:
You still have to ring everyday if that's your employer's policy. Ask if there is some way your employer can help you to do your job withour excerbating your injury, or whether there are any duties available.
SafeWorkers - 9-Feb-17 @ 12:32 PM
I'm currently on the sick I've been on the sick for the past 2 weeks after injuring my hand at work I went to the hospital after my shift when I Injured it and got told it might be Arthiristis/tendernitis,my sick note run out after them 2 weeks and I returned to work to see if I could manage my job but unfortunately I couldn't so I got sent home again,I went to the doctors and they said I'm still not fit for work due to my injury but my supervisor is still telling my to ring the doctors to tell them to do tests on my hand even though the doctors have given me a 2 week sick note and given me tablets to take swelling away but my employer is rushing me to try and get me back to work is he allowed to do that? and do I need to ring him everyday when unfit for work?
Peter - 7-Feb-17 @ 9:53 PM
I was off sick for 6 days and had a sick note but I didn't get paid and was put down for authorisedleave without pay is this legal
blueyes - 2-Feb-17 @ 6:29 PM
Hi I have worked in a call centre for over 2years and due to the chairs in the office I have injured my back i am now off sick having to visitthe physiotherapist twice a week and clinic for back injuries .I have now been off for 3months now and only being paid one third of my wage which is not enough to pay my rent and community tax never mind food and work are refusing to get me a new chair to help me get back to work is there any benefits I could claim doctor said there is no way I will be able to sit at a computer. For nearly ten hours a day without a special chair please advise
Derek - 28-Jan-17 @ 1:07 PM
I am out sick from work with an eye problem, I'm not getting paid by my employer while I'm out but my employer is asking me to go in to see them on a weekly basis, is this normal procedure
Pat - 28-Jan-17 @ 10:46 AM
Hello, I am currently receiving ssp for the last 2 weeks and then went to GP for another sick note on the 20th as my previous one had ran out on the 19th the second doctors line did not state any dates just says 4 weeks so would that cover straight from the 20th onwards as my employer received note on 24th via mail and has refused to pay me this week but will get payment eventually at some point and in the meantime I will receive a tax rebate in cash don't understand that at all. Does this sound normal to anyone just because employer receives it late but it still covers all the days thank you hope this made sense folks
Ctctct - 26-Jan-17 @ 6:34 PM
Hi I work for care agency on a bank basis so I work when I want I have been off with foot surgery last year for 8weeks then I was off with viral infection last week and thisgot letter from work saying my attendance is not good and have been given a verbal warning I am going into hospital in 2 weeks for operation will be off for 6 weeks then near end of year going back in for op on ankle will be off for about 16 weeks where do I stand can I loose my job even though I pick when I want to work
Suek - 25-Jan-17 @ 3:09 PM
I've just had a 4 day d&v bug with the last episode this morning. I'm due on shift tomorrow and happy to return to work but my employer has said they have a 48 hr rule as I may still be carrying the bug. However they've said that they will require me to make up the shift I'm due for tomorrow as I'm no longer classed assick. Is this correct? I'm willing to go in tomorrow but they won't let me do why should I be penalised?
Scotty - 23-Jan-17 @ 6:22 PM
I am on an NHS waiting list for foot surgery and theyve estimated it to be in April this year. I have been working seasonally at a shop and have applied to stay on permanently, however they'd rather take someone on who won't need 6 weeks off in April (my recovery time)... I shrugged it off, saying I might be able to postpone the surgery but it is urgent and I'm definitely not one to waste NHS time. When applying for other jobs I don't know whether to warn them of this surgery in April as I feel I won't be employed, however I too need to live and earn some money. I don't expect to be paid sick pay during the surgery, I'd just like to be working before, and after it. I'd really appreciate advise on how to go about this... It'd be an easier situation, had I been in employment for longer.
mazz - 22-Jan-17 @ 12:07 PM
Sam - Your Question:
I went in to work one weekend and was throwing up on the Saturday, someone overheard this and told the Team Leader who came to see if I was okay, I advised that I feel awful but will try and work the whole day, which I did, she told me to let her know if I feel any worse. On the Sunday I was still ill but went in to work however I was sent home half way through the day by the other Team Leader on shift. On my return to work I was issued with a sickness warning which has now resulted in disciplinary action (following a further illness 4-5 months later). Can my employer do this if they had sent me home, it seems very unfair to then receive a warning for it?

Our Response:
The other sickness episode(s) will have counted toward the warning. The best thing you can do is to explain the situation from your point of view during the disciplinary hearing.
SafeWorkers - 18-Jan-17 @ 1:53 PM
I wrote in asking for advice in December. I haven't yet had any response and my comment has disappeared. Any suggestions?
Alias16 - 18-Jan-17 @ 6:18 AM
Hi. On 26th october i had a motorbike accident and snapped my foot in half. Last weekbmy surgeon renewed my sick note for another 4 weeks but advised i may be fit for work if i dont stand and dont carry anything. Unfortunately this is all my job is and when i gave my sick note to my employer they agreed i couldnt work. Today they phoned me as they are strugglingwithout me, they say they can find "sit down" work for 8 hours a week. However, 8 hours pay is less than ssp, my bank account is now empty after being off work for 12 weeks and im already struggling to make ends meet. Can you advise on where i stand. Thankyou
Lu - 17-Jan-17 @ 3:59 PM
Sully - Your Question:
On holiday in July of 2015 I discovered I had a hernia and was told by the doctor I needed to have it sorted this happened in January 2016 and I was off work for three weeks but as I am a rep I had my phone with me at home and was in contact with work and my customers so did my sales and got full pay off my company.then in July 2016 I broke my ankle and was off work for 11 weeks and again the same scenario being in touch with work and customers daily. We usually get a Xmas bonus based on attendance and one of the rules is if you are off work more than twice you do not get it but I didn't get it and I also had 11 days holiday left at the end of the year which I neither got paid for, carried forward or took is this right.

Our Response:
As the bonus is a company policy issue there's not much help we can give as it doesn't relate to any employment law. If you have not taken your full annual leave is this because your employer did not allow you to take it? Did you discuss the possiblity of carrying leave over? What is company policy on carrying leave over etc? In general: " If a worker gets 28 days’ leave, they can carry over up to a maximum of 8 days. If a worker gets more than 28 days’ leave, their employer may allow them to carry over any additional untaken leave. Check the employment contract, company handbook or intranet site to see what the rules say. If a worker can’t take all of their leave entitlement because they’re already on a different type of leave (eg sick, maternity or parental leave), they can carry over some or all of the untaken leave into the next leave year. An employer must allow a worker to carry over a maximum of 20 of their 28 days’ leave entitlement if the worker couldn’t take annual leave because they were off sick."
SafeWorkers - 17-Jan-17 @ 2:04 PM
nicfoz - Your Question:
Hi I need a bit of advice for my dad, hes been off work due to a heart attack , hes been off for around 13 weeks now and has kept his employer updated with sick notes off the doctor , his doctor has gave him the all clear to return to work but only on light duties but his employer is refusing him to return saying hes no use to them! does anyone know where he stands on this as hes been with this company now for 30 years

Our Response:
Unfortunately if there are no jobs with light duties available the employer is in a difficult situation. The employer does however have to follow the relevant procedures if they want to dismiss your father. Perhaps your father can see an occupational health adviser for advice on how he can get to full fitness doing other activities/voluntary work while still in receipt of SSP etc?
SafeWorkers - 17-Jan-17 @ 11:33 AM
I went in to work one weekend and was throwing up on the Saturday, someone overheard this and told the Team Leader who came to see if I was okay, I advised that I feel awful but will try and work the whole day, which I did, she told me to let her know if I feel any worse. On the Sunday I was still ill but went in to work however I was sent home half way through the day by the other Team Leader on shift. On my return to work I was issued with a sickness warning which has now resulted in disciplinary action (following a further illness 4-5 months later). Can my employer do this if they had sent me home, it seems very unfair to then receive a warning for it?
Sam - 17-Jan-17 @ 10:18 AM
On holiday in July of 2015 I discovered I had a hernia and was told by the doctor I needed to have it sorted this happened in January 2016 and I was off work for three weeks but as I am a rep I had my phone with me at home and was in contact with work and my customers so did my sales and got full pay off my company.then in July 2016 I broke my ankle and was off work for 11 weeks and again the same scenario being in touch with work and customers daily . We usually get a Xmas bonus based on attendance and one of the rules is if you are off work more than twice you do not get it but I didn't get it and I also had 11 days holiday left at the end of the year which I neither got paid for, carried forward or took is this right.
Sully - 16-Jan-17 @ 6:04 PM
Hi i need a bit of advice for my dad, hes been off work due to a heart attack , hes been off for around 13 weeks now and has kept his employer updated with sick notes off the doctor , his doctor has gave him the all clear to return to work but only on light duties but his employer is refusing him to return saying hes no use to them! does anyone know where he stands on this as hes been with this company now for 30 years
nicfoz - 16-Jan-17 @ 10:23 AM
im a quantity surveyor with sick note from hospital doctor with broken ankle . I usually work in office on computer but awaiting occupational therapist appointment .my boss has asked to to carry on working from home even though I have been told by hr that I will be receiving ssp .instead of full wage for next 8weeks is it legal for them to ask me to carry on working at home
Haggis - 14-Jan-17 @ 11:14 AM
Hi I have been signed off sick for the past month. My boss has now cut my hours for when I return to work.Can he do this?
Timmy - 13-Jan-17 @ 5:58 PM
Hi. I felt really unwell I had shivering and all my body was acheing and I was so weak..I have cough so bad and during caughing I felt horrible sharp pain in my chest..I work with elderly people. One of my colleuge before her shift was end offerd would cover mylate shift andI can go home and have rest.. But the deputy manager refused and said all staff and residents are sick so nobody will go home till shift is not end til. So I had to stay to work and My friend was the ibupropfen..The next day I have visited the doctor who straight gave me antibioticum due developing chest infection.. It was right what a deputy manager did? Thank you.
Leila - 12-Jan-17 @ 11:25 PM
I have work for my firm for 20 years I had some time off work last june 2015 for high blood pressure and then end September I fell in work had a week and half off, I thn work until I fell ill at the end of April 2016 with Sepsis and servere cellulitis and was admitted to A & E I was in hospital for 3 1/2 weeks and it was discovered that I had some thing in my bowel which I went back in hospital mid July had it remove and it was discovered that I have Lymphoma, I already have Lymphoedema in my leg the same one that I had the cellulitis, I was on full paid until last week of August and then went on half paid plus ssp my ssp ran out November and my half paid runs out mid February I am 60 what can I claim as I have never been on any benefits before. My doctor has confirm to my work that I am not well enough to work and should be pension off on ill health they have agree to do this but have to wait until it all goes though. what is worrying me is not knowing what I can claim.
busmyc - 12-Jan-17 @ 9:18 PM
I have been off work ill for 3 days and my boss is threatening me with disciplinary action and possibly dismissal. Can he do.this?
dee605 - 10-Jan-17 @ 7:13 PM
Leroysick - Your Question:
My employer is threatening me with disciplinary action as I didn't turn up for the last day of a training course I was attending. I didn't attend as I in hospital on that's day in great pain which resulted in me having to stay in over night, I am wondering if they are able to give me disciplinary for this and of so is there any action o can take against them?

Our Response:
Have you provided proof of your hospital visit? That should be sufficient to explain your absence. Did you notify your employer in the correct manner?
SafeWorkers - 9-Jan-17 @ 2:09 PM
Mark - Your Question:
My partner works for a company in their retail shop. He started work last June and was on probation for three months but has been taken on permanently. He was off work for three days with a bad cold end of last year (which he had informed his boss about, ringing in each day). When he returned to work he found out that he had been deducted wages (which he had not been informed about) and informed that if he even has one more day off Ill in the next twelve months he will be sacked. Apparently the company had changed their rules in September but had not even informed the manager let all alone members of staff. He is now really ill with an ongoing condition and is scared to ring in sick or take time out to seek medical help in case the company sack him. Where does he stand with this as surely it is his human right to be able to get to see a doctor to sort his health out? Also his line manager has forced him to stand up all day even though there are chairs provided for him to work from whilst he is on the computer. This seems like a change in work place ruling which is worse than what it was when he started working there. The shop is new and he was an original member of staff. Any advice?

Our Response:
The company does not have to pay you if you are off sick (see your company's sickness policy), though Statutory Sick Pay is payable from the 4th day of absence onwards. Some employers do have strict absenteeism policies but still need to go through an official procedure before dimissing an employee. With regards to a chair/sitting at work, please see our guide here.
SafeWorkers - 9-Jan-17 @ 11:23 AM
I started a job 3 months ago and foubd out i need an operation and off work for 6 weeks can they dissniss me or will they have to keep my job open
Scouser - 8-Jan-17 @ 7:37 PM
I recently started a new job been there for 3 months and found out i need another op on my leg and off work for 6 weeks can they get me disnissed or will they have tto keep my job open
Scouser - 8-Jan-17 @ 7:33 PM
Hi I went in to work on Thursday for my last shift of the week half way through that shift I was porley and they sent me home, I am due to start back tomorrow so phoned in and asked for my start time as I had not yet received it, for them to tell me that I have no shifts this week I have been taken off shift until further notice of me having to do a back to work interview of which they couldn't tell me when this would be, can you tell me if they are allowed to penalise me for this, I am worried as I have bills that need paying as we all do, I am on a 36 hour contract
Nic - 8-Jan-17 @ 3:24 PM
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