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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 25 Apr 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 £113 per week for tax year 2017-18
  • 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 £89.35 a week in tax year 2017-18. 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 need some advice, I have been signed off for 4 weeks and now receiving another note on this one running out. The reason for being off is my baby was admired to hospital and diagnosed with a condition that is now requiring a lot of hospital care. I also have another child to care for and the stress of the situation is killing me. My Form runs out this Monday and I will be emailing my. Ew form in Tuesday morning, however I have now received a email stating they want me in for a meeting on Friday to discuss my Probation period and my absence, I have declined this meeting but worrying now that I will be sacked which I assume they can do, obviously with all the hospital trips and admissions money is very much neeeded so was relying on SSP as my income. Can anyone advice on what I should do.
Lbell - 14-Apr-17 @ 8:15 AM
Please help - I am going in for a tendon operation on my hand in two weeks, I have been told by the doctor I will be off 4 weeks + as I use a keyboard.I will only get two weeks SSP.I live on my own, how do I pay all the bills when I have no savings
Mollym00 - 13-Apr-17 @ 9:58 AM
Stu - Your Question:
Can you help I took a sick day 8 weeks ago this hit a trigger thst could mean the sack, however they still have not mentioned it or sent a letter or even a return to work and the threat of the sack is still there can they leave it this lol g to take any action at all.

Our Response:
Yes some organisations do a review at the end of each year and take action accordingly. You should check your employer's policy on this...it will be documented somewhere (like your employee handbook).
SafeWorkers - 6-Apr-17 @ 2:28 PM
Can you help I took a sick day 8 weeks ago this hit a trigger thst could mean the sack, however they still have not mentioned it or sent a letter or even a return to work and the threat of the sack is still there can they leave it this lol g to take any action at all.
Stu - 6-Apr-17 @ 7:56 AM
Jack - Your Question:
I have a question. I was off with a virus for a week, then went to the Dr's and was signed off for another week. I then returned to work for 2 days before feeling bad again, went back to Dr's and have been signed off for another 2 weeks. I still feel bad not as bad as I have felt in the last 4 weeks but im constantly fatigued. if I were to be signed off for another 2 weeks would that form part of the initial week and the initial sign off for a week? or would it be from when I was signed off for this last 2 weeks? I realise that this might sound a silly question, but if its only part of that last 2 week sign off then I would not be classed as Long Term Sick, but if it was inclusive of the initial week self cert and the Dr's sign off for a week, it would make it 6 weeks.

Our Response:
If you're off sick for more than four weeks your employer may consider this as long term sick.
SafeWorkers - 31-Mar-17 @ 1:38 PM
cfog - Your Question:
Hi there, could you please offer my some advice. I recently took a sick day with my day employer in which I do not get paid for and I normally finish at 1pm. I took a call from my other employer who was in desperate need of me to work that evening, even tho I did mention how sick I was, as a desperate favour I went in for 2 hours just to stand there and get photo's taken until someone else could come in and cover the shift. My current day employer found out from someone at work who has been bullying me in the workplace in the past and I think he has done this on purpose to get me fired. Now my day employer would like to fire me as I worked somewhere else that day, but it was after my day job work hours. Can they dismiss me and on what grounds??

Our Response:
Your employer can dismiss you on any grounds that flout their employment policy. If one of those policies is that you will be dismissed if you give dishonest information etc then yes you can be dismissed but only if your employer follows their correct disciplinary procedure.
SafeWorkers - 31-Mar-17 @ 10:45 AM
i have a question. i was off with a virus for a week, then went to the Dr's and was signed off for another week. i then returned to work for 2 days before feeling bad again, went back to Dr's and have been signed off for another 2 weeks. i still feel bad not as bad as i have felt in the last 4 weeks but im constantly fatigued. if i were to be signed off for another 2 weeks would that form part of the initial week and the initial sign off for a week? or would it be from when i was signed off for this last 2 weeks? i realise that this might sound a silly question, but if its only part of that last 2 week sign off then i would not be classed as Long Term Sick, but if it was inclusive of the initial week self cert and the Dr's sign off for a week, it would make it 6 weeks.
Jack - 30-Mar-17 @ 7:08 PM
Hi there, could you please offer my some advice. I recently took a sick day with my day employer in which I do not get paid for and I normally finish at 1pm. I took a call from my other employer who was in desperate need of me to work that evening, even tho I did mention how sick I was, as a desperate favour I went in for 2 hours just to stand there and get photo's taken until someone else could come in and cover the shift. My current day employer found out from someone at work who has been bullying me in the workplace in the past and I think he has done this on purpose to get me fired. Now my day employer would like to fire me as I worked somewhere else that day, but it was after my day job work hours. Can they dismiss me and on what grounds??
cfog - 30-Mar-17 @ 12:01 AM
Hi there, I'm wondering if it would be fair to dismiss or sack me regarding my recent sickness? I was off with Sickness and Dioreah bug for x3 days before I returned to work this week. I work full time for the company since 2014. This is my first lot of sickness since X1 day of Sickness in Oct 2016. The whole year of 2016 I had two days off as sickness is this a lot for an employee to have as my Boss seems to think so? Do I have any allowances? We don't get paid sick pay by the company either so it's unpaid Sickness I have taken for the 3 days. Any help would be great so I know my rights if any. Thank you
Soph - 24-Mar-17 @ 4:06 PM
Hi ......My partner has done something to his back & had 2 visits to the GP & 1 visit to the S&Edept @ the hospital. He has an outpatient appointment next week with a Spinal consultant. He is in slot of discomfort & obviously can't go to work ...... His employer (hr dept) have rang him stating that he needs to come into work & see a physiotherapist in work ...... They have also requested written proof of the GP appointments & hospital visit to A&E What are his rights, surely this isn't normal procedure .......
Tinks - 23-Mar-17 @ 12:56 PM
Morag - Your Question:
Hi there, I wonder if anybody could give me advice. I was off for 2 weeks from work with a sick note due a sore foot hallux rigidus, I returned to work for 2 days after my line was finished but I'm back off work again due to pain and discomfort will I be entitled to a sick note again im scared my job is going give me warning for being off to much.

Our Response:
It's up to the doctor to decide whether to issue another sick note or not. If another note is issued are and you are off sick again (this may be classed as "linked periods" of sickness) it depends on your employer's policy as to whether to not you are given a warning.
SafeWorkers - 10-Mar-17 @ 11:46 AM
Hi there, i wonder if anybody could give me advice. I was off for 2 weeks from work with a sick note due a sore foot hallux rigidus, i returned to work for 2 days after my line was finished but i'm back off work again due to pain and discomfort will i be entitled to a sick note again im scared my job is going give me warning for being off to much.
Morag - 9-Mar-17 @ 9:33 AM
Kimmie - Your Question:
Was off sick 10 days in a row after falling and damaging my elbow.i never got any sick pay. What can I do

Our Response:
Speak to your employer. After 4 days you should be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay if you are classed as an employee and earn at least £112 per week. You must be sure that you've informed your employer about your sickness in accordance with their company policy.
SafeWorkers - 27-Feb-17 @ 10:35 AM
Hi, I had an operation on my nose a week on Friday, to much disappointment they gave me 2 weeks off sick, however I had a week off and felt well enough so returned to work today, I wasn't signed off to go back they just accepted me so I still had a week outstanding.I was sent home earlier today as I couldn't hold up. I was wondering where I stand with ssp as I broke my sickness note un officially, thanks in advance!
Kimbob - 25-Feb-17 @ 2:01 PM
Hi i just got diciplined because i was off sick in hospital for private surgary and handed in a 2 week medical certificate stampd by tge hospital and i went back to work 2 days early before my certificate ran out but they still dicipluned me now im in a years warning didnt even get a verbal means i cant take time off for a year and i hav more surgary to get can it was issued by hr department can they do this as i handed in valid medical cert from hospital?
Unicorn - 25-Feb-17 @ 7:54 AM
Was off sick 10 days in a row after falling and damaging my elbow....i never got any sick pay. What can I do
Kimmie - 24-Feb-17 @ 8:40 AM
Deb - Your Question:
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

Our Response:
Yes, if you're not due to go back on the day your employer is expecting you, you should contact your employer and inform them.
SafeWorkers - 23-Feb-17 @ 12:23 PM
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
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