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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Apr 2019 | 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]
I was off work for 18 months. Returned back to work.But after 3 weeks am ill again with a doctors note. Can i still get ssp and the full entitlement?
Trixy - 2-Apr-19 @ 7:24 AM
I suffered heart attack at work 7 weeks now on sick will it be permanent or will i return to work ,i do not fully understand benefit system.
colin - 31-Mar-19 @ 9:27 PM
Hi, I am just wondering if my old employer would give me my job back after the company paid me off due to ill health. Its been nearly 2 years since I worked there and have had no job since then due to my health, but now that I am 100% fit for work, I'm just wondering if there would be a chance in me working for there company again, as I enjoyed working there, or would I just be wasting my time...... Kind Regards P.S. Any information would be appreciated ??
Sarah - 20-Mar-19 @ 7:12 PM
The doc signed me of sick on the 4th March for 2 months, when would I return to work? Would it be 4 May
Fruity - 18-Mar-19 @ 4:58 AM
Hi I tore the ligiments in my foot at the beginning of February and had 14 days off I went back to work and my boss has now said I can't have anymore time off for six months is this right I'm a lunchtime supervisor
Reany - 17-Mar-19 @ 1:49 PM
I’ve been sacked and I’ve got a sick note can I stil claim
Adel - 16-Mar-19 @ 8:48 AM
Hi, my daughter has been quite ill with cough and cold but despite that she carried on and went to work. She deteriorated during the day and wanted to come home but because she had left work early twice before in her employment time (she started November 2018) she got a verbal warning on each of those so this time, third, she would get a disciplinary. Why? She thought she was well enough to go to work but got worse as the day went on. Surely this can't be right?
Chezza - 17-Feb-19 @ 6:29 PM
Bean of sick four to months with a doctors note now there saying I am sacked this ant right is it
Pinewood - 6-Feb-19 @ 4:02 PM
I can agree to to all the coments. Never mind if you are well to go back to work or not my manager and mysupervisor came to my house I was just a number where is thejustice feltintimidated
Patch - 5-Feb-19 @ 4:34 AM
Hi i been off work since end of november with a mental disorder and work has told me i need to give weekly updates, i have discussed with doctor its is stressing me out more knowing i have to fone and its a part of how i am feeling,is there any law or i informations if i have to do this . Or would be classed has harassment?
Deb - 29-Jan-19 @ 2:37 PM
I have been asked to go to work for a 4 week (long term) sickness meeting it's not even 4 weeks for another 7 days. Also I have a suck note. Do I have to attend the meeting Many thanks people
Lou lou - 18-Jan-19 @ 4:44 PM
Hi, I took 14 days as sickness for last year in different months, and now I've been told that I use too much and they have to do something about it. Is it fair to be dismissed about that? is 2 weeks per year too much??
mim - 15-Jan-19 @ 2:20 PM
Hi work alternative weekends totalling 48 hours a month am i entitled to ssp?
Grace - 5-Jan-19 @ 12:47 PM
I have been sign off work since 13 November and I have been payed £18.41 for the second week off sick and £92.05 the rest of the time till the 29th Dec when I was only payed £18.41 and today the 4th of January I have not been payed at all they are saying I haven't keeped them informedbut I said on the 13 or 14 th of December that I am awaiting an msk appointment on the 3rd of January and would up date them then as nothing would change till the appointment as I have nerve damage in my neck and need an mri too find out more and they said that was ok now they are not paying me and my last sick note is from 18th December to 14 January. Yours sincerely Mary Theobald
Ace - 4-Jan-19 @ 7:59 AM
I have the flu/cold. I phoned work on the 1.1.19 to ask if they can cover my work the following day (care in the community, elderly) I was told no, I phoned today and was told I had to work through it. Can I refuse to work?
Tori - 2-Jan-19 @ 9:01 AM
My doctors has given me an immediate 2 weeks off work due go stress at work. After I have submitted this to my employer do I still need to call ever day?
Ju - 4-Dec-18 @ 12:19 AM
I have been off work sick with depression for 4 months. I have provided monthly fit notes to cover my absence. My employer is now insisting I phone them once a week to update them on my illness. Can they require me to do this?
Paul - 29-Nov-18 @ 7:24 PM
hi i work in a care home if i phone up sick for whatever reason my employer takes the next shift off us too so we lose 2 days pay is this allowed
shazza1 - 26-Nov-18 @ 8:57 AM
I am shortly due to be admitted for a knee replacement, I am 59 years old and have a very manual job involving heavy lifting.I have worked closely with my employer to ensure a person could be employed to take over my duties, and now I am due to go off I am told that I am only entitled to four weeks pay from my employer and eight weeks statutory sick pay!Is this right?What rights do I have if I am not able to return to work in my previous occupation?
Jake - 13-Nov-18 @ 12:49 PM
Hi i have been off work sick for 16 months with knee and hand arthritis,carpel tunnel both hands and severe back pain.i have had very little contact with work,when i did contact HR seeking advice on medical retirement i was told i could resign due to my health problems,is this fair having to resign after 22 years service.
margy - 6-Nov-18 @ 1:47 PM
I was off Thursday n friday with knee injection from clinic then over wk end has sickness n tummy bug which went into Monday . Work are saying it's 2 sickness occasions as two different reasons ,i would think it's 1 continuous sickness as not want back to work then off again . Which is right .
Tucker - 13-Oct-18 @ 12:09 PM
I was in hospital for three days and absent from my new job as a result of my pregnancy causing me to become dehydrated, I was informed on my return to work that the company have made the decision not to pay me for my absence die to sickness as I am still in my probationary period.I believe the company still do have a discretion to consider paying me for this period of absence as it was due to pregnancy related illness?
jemmycw - 13-Oct-18 @ 12:37 AM
My daughter was in hospital and off work for a week she put in a sick note but hadn't been paid they now say they can't find her sick notehave they still got to pay her
Lissy - 12-Oct-18 @ 12:58 PM
I was ill Saturday went in Monday but was sick so had to go home went back Tuesday but could not stop been sick so had to go home again went to see the doctor Wednesday and he gave me a sick note for the rest of the week I called in to give it to work nd my boss would note take the sick note from me just saying no no no, now I'm been told that he's guna contact me about my future there can he do that .
ky - 11-Oct-18 @ 9:30 AM
I have been off work with breathing problems and a bad chest infection for 6 days now (including my day off and weekends). My work have asked for me to come back in tomorrow for a half day to get back into the swing of things. Will this affect me being paid my SSP whilst I have been off for the past 6 days or do I loose everything now? Thanks.
S - 10-Oct-18 @ 5:15 PM
Hi i was signed off sick from October 2017 and was in receipt of ssp for the 28weeks I was entitled to. I then made a claim for ESA which has taken 6months 2sort out. I have now been informed that I do not qualify 4 ESA or any other benefits as I can't claim universal credits as I have 3children and other benefits because my husband works. We have struggled and ran up over thousands of pounds due to utility bills and have needed the help of the local food bank seen I have had no income 4the whole 6months?? To make matters worse my husband has injured his back and is out of work now on sick leave and I seriously don't know hope 2cope much longer. If anyone knows of any help I would very much appreciate it, thanks x
Wkd - 7-Oct-18 @ 5:54 PM
Hi,submitted a sick note on the 1/10/2018,it is now the6/10/2018, wen should I receive payment?
Polly - 6-Oct-18 @ 6:21 PM
I was off sick two days and I went to return to work 48 hours after last sickness occurred and I was sent home by a manager due to they wasn’t told I was fit to work, they knew last time of sickness and knew I was coming into work, got cover for my shift but didn’t tell me until I turned up and started my shift where do I stand cause in my eyes they are in the wrong
Gary Dack - 6-Oct-18 @ 11:12 AM
I had a minor wrist injury a few days before a company’s important event that I must turn up. I notified my employer my injury. Must I tell him everyday that I am not able to work on the day? Or just show up when I feel better
Amanda - 6-Oct-18 @ 8:42 AM
I had an operation 5 days ago and need to see a nurse every day im struggling with my job at work and have asked the manager for a couple of days off and to use some of my holidays but he keeps ignoring me what do i do?
laws - 26-Sep-18 @ 8:03 PM
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