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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 20 Jan 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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My husband is going to have to have open heart surgery and triple bypass this week after having 4 mini heart attacks he is going to be off work up to 2-3 months he has worked for his employer for 1 and half years do they have to keep his job open for him or is it down their decision
Val - 20-Jan-20 @ 7:29 AM
I am working with children and I got a skin infection. It looked awful so on Monday I called them and told managers what is my problem. I tried to sort myself out at home, as i thought it was just an infected spot. Second day I ran to the gp, and there they told me I got an infection which is contagious, so 48hours I have to stay at home. I called managers and they were very understanding. I didn’t get sick note, and I just realized that they didn’t pay me those days. Can I get sick note after my sickness? How can I prove my right, that I was sick.
Sheila - 24-Dec-19 @ 3:17 PM
I have been working in my job for over 5 months and recently come down with a really bad flu/cold. today i came into work even though i had been sick about 45 mins before starting. im scared that if i go on the sick i will get the sack as the management in this place don't care. what can i do?
Soph - 20-Dec-19 @ 8:28 AM
I haven't worked in 10 years was receive esa I was unable to work with depression and anxiety but I decided to go back to work have been in my new job a week and my depression and anxiety are awfull I cant cope but I dont no what to do I no now I made the wrong decision to try working
Sam and jimmy 9 - 16-Dec-19 @ 12:22 AM
My doctors told me that I'll never work again when do I stop sending sick notes in?
Ricky - 9-Dec-19 @ 8:01 AM
I have been with my employer for over 11 years now. For the last 2 months I've struggled on and off with sciatica. I have taken the last 2 days of last week sick as my back wasn't in a good place but taking tablets and moving around I felt OK to play my local sport on Saturday. I didn't last much more than 50 mins and had to come off because of my back was playing up. I went and saw the doctor and he has signed me off for 2 weeks now. He told me the pain will come and go but to exercise (walking ect) my employer found out I played sport on the Saturday and rang me to tell me they know I did. I didn't deny it as I wouldn't lie and made me feel like my job was on the line.. I guess I'm asking could they sack me? I am now very paranoid and guilty for being off.
Fred - 3-Dec-19 @ 4:19 PM
I've been told I'll never work again from 2 doctors and I'm still having to send sick notes in is there anyway so I don't have to send sick notes in?
Tricky - 2-Dec-19 @ 7:17 AM
I’ve just returned back to work in November after being off for 11 month with cancer they stopped paying me In June & have now told me the day before I’m due to get pd that I’m not entitled to be paid for the 1st month of returning after being off sick surely that’s not right
Suz - 28-Nov-19 @ 5:53 PM
I work part time in a school. After breaking up 20 th july I went on holiday to Spain and fell breaking my fibula. I then flew home and suffered blood clots in the lungs and spent 14 days in hospital. I am still unable to walk 4 months later and suffering effects on my heart from the blood clots. I have been signed off work till beginning February. My work however are saying I will only be paid half pay from middle January as they say my 6 months full pay will end then because they are including the 6 weeks summer holidays and taking my sick leave from 20th July? I have never worked in the holidays and surely my sick leave should start from the first day of the new September term? When calculating the date my full pay ends they also say they arecounting my working week as Monday to Saturday? I don’t work Saturdays? Any advice please.
Ali - 28-Nov-19 @ 5:08 PM
I had knee surgery and have been off for11 weeks. My Dr told me I could go back with restrictions. Can I be fired or demoted because of this?
Patti - 18-Nov-19 @ 2:07 AM
I have been with my company for 2 years me and my partner was expecting our 1st child but 11 days to when our baby was due she sadly passed away my partner had to be induced and gave birth on the Tuesday my boss new what had happened but asked me to go in to work 3 days later Friday any way i got singed of work and got a sick note for 3 weeks he then sacked me because I was of work my sick note ran out on the15th of November he sacked me on the 14th ive lost my car and am still grieving
Jay - 17-Nov-19 @ 5:10 PM
My doctor has given me a 8 week sick note up until i retire because i dont get any support from my employers and in doctors opinion if i returned to work id be off again with inflamatory arthritis.my employers have rung to speak to me about it.id like to know what questions are they likely to ask me.
Pat - 29-Oct-19 @ 5:58 PM
My partner was sent home by his employers on a Thursday, a few weeks ago, as he had flu symptoms and a nasty chest infection. He booked an appointment to see his doctor for the following Wednesday (soonest available ) but his symptoms worsened and we had to call an ambulance out on the Tuesday as he couldn't breath. An emergency appointment was then arranged and antibiotics issued. He returned to work on Thursday, a week after being sent home and was told that they had deducted 4 days holiday from his holiday allowance. He was also warned that if he needed to take any further time sick that he would recieve a written warning. Are they allowed to do this?
Jan - 22-Oct-19 @ 11:54 AM
If somebody has been off sick for more than 28 weeks should they still send a sick note in
Ed - 14-Oct-19 @ 6:37 AM
I work in retail and have a shift later on at 4pm. I woke up late this morning around 10ish as I had a lay in and doing a later shift, and I was fine and felt well. Then around 11am I started to feel really sick And getting stomach cramps. I rang my manger Around 12, and she had a bit of a go at me saying,I had to call in at 8am, and that I have to have a meeting about it now, as it’s an authorised absence, as I didn’t call in at 8am on the dot. Isn’t this bit of a pathetic rule to have? How am I supposed to know I’m going to feel unwell at 8am, I wasn’t expecting to call in sick, and now I have to have a meeting with all the mangers like I’ve done something wrong. Are company’s supposed to treat you like a machine or a robot? Do they not understand that you can get sick any time of day, and that employees are not invincible? Are they supposed to treat you like you did something wrong for calling in sick?
Sam - 5-Oct-19 @ 12:39 PM
My son is due to start a new job on Monday, he has a trapped nerve in his back, and wasn't able to work his last week at his old job, he is in a lot of pain. He has seen his GP and been prescribed strong painkillers. He contacted his new employer to let them know the situation. Should he go in to his new job on Monday morning even thought he is unlikely to be able to work? He can't drive at the moment, it's too painful.
Mary - 5-Oct-19 @ 11:45 AM
I have just been signed back on as fit to work after 2 years.I have been receiving a half salary for the whole time I've been off. I sent my fit note in and have been informed my employers will get back to me in due course.Do they have to allow me to go back?That would be thebest solution for me.
Suz - 3-Oct-19 @ 11:20 AM
Im due to go in for a lumpectomy on 10th October and radiotherapy will start in January. How do I stand with sick pay if I go back to work in November and then take more time off sick in January?
Lisa - 2-Oct-19 @ 7:03 PM
I am a night worker and I was on annual leave for 2 nights and at the same time I started to have cold and flu, body aches and runny nose and the lot. So I just rested on those 2 days thinking that on the day after my AL I should be fit enough to be back to work. The afternoon comes but I wasn't good enough and so I called my work place and tell them that I just needed another day to rest for the reasons mentioned above. I was then told that I don't need to come to work but to stay home for 48 hrs. I raise my point to the fact that I don't have poor tummy/ diarrhoea to stay off work for that long. I needed to be back to work after 24 hrs of rest not including the 2 nights ofor annual leave. Is there anywhere in the working regulations law that can verify with me that what they've told me from my work place is right and that is to stay off work gor 48 hrs despite the reason of being sick??
Nau - 29-Sep-19 @ 2:46 PM
I have been off work with a hand injury,I am on half wages and they finish in December.I am awaiting an operation but don't think I will be back to work be for December will I still have a job ?
Me - 17-Sep-19 @ 10:58 AM
I’ve had a verbal disciplinary for being off sick more than three times I have a condition called fibromyalgia with which I can’t control the flare ups I had an accident that I had a bad fall and injured myself quite badly and was signed off sick for two months I have been told I must control my illness and not be off I’ll for six months but that is impossible with my condition which I can’t predict if I will get ill in that period of time can they sack me for something I can’t control
Chris - 14-Sep-19 @ 1:58 PM
My employer wants a welfare meeting. They have admitted they can do nothing in regards to my heart condition but the meeting is in fact for the benefit of the company. They have told me to seek advice before agreeing to the meeting, who is liable to pay for the advice?
Dusty - 9-Sep-19 @ 7:50 PM
Have been off work for four months I have been getting SSP for this period but never got it this week I phoned my employer and was told my payment has been withheld because they have had no contact with me but I still have two weeks left on my sick note can they do this?
Bass - 7-Sep-19 @ 11:08 AM
I have been off work for 4 weeks with anxiety and depression on SSP and still have a further 2 weeks remaining on my sick note. My employer gave a colleague my P45 on Sunday passed with no written notice of any termination, he has shut down the company I have worked for 16 years with no talk of redundancy. Can someone please tell me where I stand?
Toa - 28-Aug-19 @ 5:27 PM
I was signed of by the doctor for 4 weeks due to depression and anxiety I’m due to return to work till the 13th sept but my boss keeps calling me I have said I will return to the docs on Monday to see if I can get a fitness note and return early but I’m feeling pressured to return to work before this where do I stand do I have to return before I get a fitness note
Jewels - 28-Aug-19 @ 2:42 PM
I had 1 sick day before my 3 rest days, went in for my back to work interview and was told it's 4 sick days, is this correct.
Coco - 22-Jul-19 @ 5:40 PM
Hi my day off is this Saturday but last Friday was signed off for a week with hypothyroidism and have been told i have to work my day off where do I stand.
Noo - 16-Jul-19 @ 8:50 AM
Hello, After 18months of extreme work loads and my management ignoring my request for help, I was placed on sick leave and antidepressants which meant I couldn’t do all was asked of me. However, prior to that I carried my department being the subject matter expert of the supply chain as a junior employee and the reasons for not being promoted was unacceptable and stereotypical so I made a complaint. During the months to follow I was further ostracised and victimised which deteriorated my mental health further. When it was time for the grading review for the annual appraisal I was placed down without any actual reason. When I complaint about that, I was ignored. Subsequently, I was not promoted again. My question is can you be penalised for being sick, ostracised and victimised for suffering with mental health illness?
Lost&Comfused - 15-Jul-19 @ 11:23 AM
Could anyone give me at advice. I have been off work for two days with the flu, I will be returning to work tomorrow but have been told that if I take 3 days sick in 3 month's I will be fired. Is this allowed? Thank you in advance.
Millie - 30-Jun-19 @ 4:32 PM
Hi Can you give me some advise please. I have a long running dispute with my manager who is bulling me and has recently disciplined me although I'm about to challenge it as unfair through grievance and possible court. Unconnected I have a disk gone in my back that has put me off work for the last few days. I want to get back but this problem stops me physically from doing my job as they won't let me do light duties until its better. My manager has just text me to say he wants me to ring the office every day with and update on my condition. Is this fair and lawful. Nobody else has done this and I have a doctors note ?
Nick Rose - 19-Jun-19 @ 11:57 AM
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