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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 10 Dec 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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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi,ive been off15 times with different reasons,asked for them as hollidays to which work said yes. I then came to work only to be given warnings for time off. Can work class an absence as both a sick day and a holiday?? Thanks
none - 10-Dec-17 @ 4:26 PM
belle - Your Question:
I have got to have operation on my hand dr said I will be off work at least three months.I have three part time jobs that earn over £150 a week but most one job pays is £80 will I be entitled to ssp

Our Response:
This depends on whether you have employee or worker status (i.e what kind of contract you have) and how many hours you work.To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you must: be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer, have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days) earn at least £113 (before tax) per week. If you have more than one job, you may qualify for SSP and SMP in all of them provided you earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) for National Insurance contributions £113 in each job.
SafeWorkers - 6-Dec-17 @ 3:13 PM
i have got to have operation on my hand dr said I will be off work at least three months.I have three part time jobs that earnover £150 a week but most one job pays is £80 will I be entitled to ssp
belle - 5-Dec-17 @ 10:47 PM
kaza - Your Question:
My ssp has recently finished and I now get esa and send them sick notes. My employer is paying me nothing and says I still have to send them notes, why is this. And am still owed holiday pay.

Our Response:
You still have to provide sick notes to prove you're not fit for work and you are entitled to holiday pay but you need to check your contract to find out how that is worked out.
SafeWorkers - 28-Nov-17 @ 12:55 PM
My ssp has recently finished and i now get esa and send them sick notes. My employer is paying me nothing and says i still have to send them notes, why is this. And am still owed holiday pay.
kaza - 27-Nov-17 @ 10:41 AM
Hi I've been on long term sick(4 years) I have had several home visits the last being Aug this year asking for medical notes, I gave permission,but my doctoras refused them as the had them in Jan this year,I retire in July next year, I don't know what to do as don't really want to go back and work as I have psd ,will I be able to ask about finishing on I'll health, work hasn't shown any concern about me whilst I have been off after 23 years of service Kindest regards Tommy
Tommy - 21-Nov-17 @ 11:12 PM
So I’ve worked at my company for 3 years this coming January as a health care assistant. I have had quite a lot of time off as I suffer from IBS/non ulcer dispepsia and I also have a son and I’m a single parent! So getting someone to sit for him while he’s I’ll is impossible! My boss has always talked to me about my absence but never called in a meeting or given me a written warning! I’m now suffering with my 2nd chest infection in 8 weeks and 2nd lot of antibiotics! I have had 1 day off in this time and for 2 days worked reduced hours which was agreed with my boss! I’m now having to go to the doctors in 40mins for an emergency appointment (7.30pm) and I think they are going to put me on steroids and more antibiotics! If the doctor signs me off Can I get fired???? They new about my previous illness when they hired me....and me being ill now for this long is just bad luck! I just don’t think I’ll be able to work two 12hour shifts 2 days straight! My sons sick too and I’m majorly stressing out right now! Any advice please?! X
Phiney - 21-Nov-17 @ 1:50 PM
Phiney - Your Question:
So I’ve worked at my company for 3 years this coming January as a health care assistant. I have had quite a lot of time off as I suffer from IBS/non ulcer dispepsia and I also have a son and I’m a single parent! So getting someone to sit for him while he’s I’ll is impossible! My boss has always talked to me about my absence but never called in a meeting or given me a written warning! I’m now suffering with my 2nd chest infection in 8 weeks and 2nd lot of antibiotics! I have had 1 day off in this time and for 2 days worked reduced hours which was agreed with my boss! I’m now having to go to the doctors in 40mins for an emergency appointment (7.30pm) and I think they are going to put me on steroids and more antibiotics! If the doctor signs me off Can I get fired???? They new about my previous illness when they hired me.and me being ill now for this long is just bad luck! I just don’t think I’ll be able to work two 12hour shifts 2 days straight! My sons sick too and I’m majorly stressing out right now! Any advice please?! X

Our Response:
We can't say what your employer will do, but if an employer has a high sickness absence rate/ or absences to look after a child because of a lack of childcare arrangements, then they may want to dismiss you. If your illness is classified as "protected" under the Equality Act and the employer knew about it before you commenced employment then you may be able to take action for discrimination. If you are dismissed, make sure the employer follows the correct disciplinary procedure. This will be detailed in your employee handbook.
SafeWorkers - 21-Nov-17 @ 12:47 PM
So I’ve worked at my company for 3 years this coming January as a health care assistant. I have had quite a lot of time off as I suffer from IBS/non ulcer dispepsia and I also have a son and I’m a single parent! So getting someone to sit for him while he’s I’ll is impossible! My boss has always talked to me about my absence but never called in a meeting or given me a written warning! I’m now suffering with my 2nd chest infection in 8 weeks and 2nd lot of antibiotics! I have had 1 day off in this time and for 2 days worked reduced hours which was agreed with my boss! I’m now having to go to the doctors in 40mins for an emergency appointment (7.30pm) and I think they are going to put me on steroids and more antibiotics! If the doctor signs me off Can I get fired???? They new about my previous illness when they hired me....and me being ill now for this long is just bad luck! I just don’t think I’ll be able to work two 12hour shifts 2 days straight! My sons sick too and I’m majorly stressing out right now! Any advice please?! X
Phiney - 20-Nov-17 @ 6:53 PM
Hi I work as health care assistant and I phone to let them know that I am not filling well and I can't go to my 12h night shift and the response I've got is "you have to do it,take some paracetamol and you will fill nether" can they fire me if I don't go?
Liliana84 - 14-Nov-17 @ 4:14 PM
Hi, i was recently called in sick to work as i was literally puking up, the next day i went into work because i thought i was feeling better, however i still felt worse and everyone at work could see it but i still stayed the whole shift. When i got home i puked again and i rang to call in sick for my shift the next day but they said the senior manager is going to have a serious meeting with me as i keep calling in sick. I have never called in sick to work in my life, so i just want to know if having a serious meeting would be fair?
Z - 12-Nov-17 @ 4:48 PM
jill - Your Question:
I was off sick from 6 October returned to work 17 October with a doctors note I have not been paid any SSP should I have had some.

Our Response:
SSP is not paid for the first 3 days you’re off. Check that you are eligible, her are the criteria - you must:
be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer
have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days)
earn at least £113 (before tax) per week
tell your employer you’re sick before their deadline - or within 7 days if they don’t have one
Speak to your employer to find out why you weren't paid SSP. If they don't resolve it, contact HMRC and ask them what to do.
SafeWorkers - 7-Nov-17 @ 3:45 PM
EJ - Your Question:
Hi. I have bipolar and going through a bout of serious depression. I was off for 5 weeks a few months ago with a doctor's note. I went back to work on reduced hours to help with medication (only by 5 hours per week!) but my doctor wanted to reduce me by more. My daughter then began to suffer with severe anxiety/depression /self harming so I had to take time off work to look after her but used all of my annual leave instead of being off sick. I told my managers every gory details! Now, my psychiatrist AND GP recommend that I need time off to fully recover. Whilst off with my daughter (technically on annual leave and not due to my illness) my employers told me occupational health want to see me. I've given permission for them to request a medical report. Work, during the meeting, questioned why I wasn't taking my doctors advice and my health was more important (not seen occupational health yet). But they then do a 360 and pressure me to be in work due to a staff changeover in my office. I feel absolutely shocking at the moment and want to take my doctors advice for some time off. When I suggested that I take time off this week whilst we had experienced support in our office (which I thought was sensible and thinking that it would be a good time) I was refused in a very disgusting manner due to the experienced guy coming up to do and 'handover' with the new supervisor. Surely, as I am not carrying out the training, this is not my responsibility? Work question why I don't follow my doctor's advice but won't allow me to! I see my GP tomorrow. I feel she will sign me off completely based upon my appointment with my psychiatrist. I'm very worried about who's advice I follow. I desperately need to recuperate but the worry about my job whilst off sick would also cause great anxiety. Please help? Also, the HR manager told me to follow my doctor's advice.

Our Response:
We can't really give you advice on this as it's very personal to you, but it's always wise to look after your own health first. Your HR manager should be able to reinforce this with the manager who's trying to put pressure on you to work.
SafeWorkers - 7-Nov-17 @ 3:36 PM
I was off sick from 6 October returned to work 17 October with a doctors note I have not been paid any SSP should I have had some.
jill - 7-Nov-17 @ 12:53 PM
Hi. I have bipolar and going through a bout of serious depression. I was off for 5 weeks a few months ago with a doctor's note. I went back to work on reduced hours to help with medication (only by 5 hours per week!) but my doctor wanted to reduce me by more. My daughter then began to suffer with severe anxiety/depression /self harming so I had to take time off work to look after her but used all of my annual leave instead of being off sick. I told my managers every gory details! Now, my psychiatrist AND GP recommend that I need time off to fully recover. Whilst off with my daughter (technically on annual leave and not due to my illness) my employers told me occupational health want to see me. I've given permission for them to request a medical report. Work, during the meeting, questioned why I wasn't taking my doctors advice and my health was more important (not seen occupational health yet). But they then do a 360 and pressure me to be in work due to a staff changeover in my office. I feel absolutely shocking at the moment and want to take my doctors advice for some time off. When I suggested that I take time off this week whilst we had experienced support in our office (which I thought was sensible and thinking that it would be a good time) I was refused in a very disgusting manner due to the experienced guy coming up to do and 'handover' with the new supervisor. Surely, as I am not carrying out the training, this is not my responsibility? Work question why I don't follow my doctor's advice but won't allow me to! I see my GP tomorrow. I feel she will sign me off completely based upon my appointment with my psychiatrist. I'm very worried about who's advice I follow. I desperately need to recuperate but the worry about my job whilst off sick would also cause great anxiety. Please help? Also, the HR manager told me to follow my doctor's advice.
EJ - 6-Nov-17 @ 8:39 PM
Hi , is it legal for my employer to change my contract while I’m off sick and without my consent ?
Rich - 24-Oct-17 @ 11:12 PM
Sorry saw few spelling missaps there basically was asked if I need to take time off work and claim sick I could I said I'm fine can't afford to be off they said if they fill I'm not well enough to work they could sigh me off can they do this and tell me to return when I'm better if think they were asking in a nice round about way but really wanted me to say ok yer .
KC - 20-Oct-17 @ 5:23 PM
Had my appraisalwith both mangers todaybeen unwell for a while being treated for fibromyalgia so some days have really bad flear ups at work which means I sometimes can't do certain things ,have had odd day off for hospital and flear up was ask if I would like to take time off to get better said I can't afford it and was told I can claim sick ,when I said no they said but if we think you are not well enough they can sighme offis this ture and are the saying in a round about way they want me out.they are saying it'd not for everyone not so sure.
KC - 20-Oct-17 @ 5:13 PM
Kerrywilco - Your Question:
HelloI work for an agency and had to take sick with a viral eye infection. When I went in to hand in my sick certificate I was immediately dismissed. Can this be done. All I was told was, you better take it to the job centre because you dont work here anymore. Refusing to accept the certificate. Your advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
How long have you worked for this employer? Have you had any other sickness absences? What is your employer's usual disciplinary/dismissal policy?
SafeWorkers - 18-Oct-17 @ 3:35 PM
Hello I work for an agency and had to take sick with a viral eye infection.When I went in to hand in my sick certificate I was immediately dismissed.Can this be done.All I was told was, you better take it to the job centre because you dont work here anymore.Refusing to accept the certificate.Your advice would be appreciated.
Kerrywilco - 17-Oct-17 @ 6:36 PM
Hello After an injury at work I handed a 2 week doctor's note explaining I was unfit for work My employer has stopped my pay while I was on sick leave stating that I wasn't cooperatingbecause I didn't speak to anyone for a week. They have told me I didn't follow procedures can they do that even though they haven't arranged a specific time scale between contact? Cheers for any advice
Frank - 11-Oct-17 @ 10:44 PM
Hi I have been off work for 6 moths due to a work related accident ( not my fault ) i have 3 torn tendens in my shoulder and am waiting for surgery as i cant raise my arm above chest level and i think i am going to be off work for at least another 3 months can the company dismiss me on medical grounds and if so could i claim compensationas am 62 and little chance of finding another full time job Regards Anthony
Robbo - 6-Oct-17 @ 2:12 PM
Lj - Your Question:
Hi I’ve been off work for nearly 28weeks and my ssp is coming to an end my employer has sent me the ssp1 form do I need to take it to the job centre as I am now going onto half pay for 6 months and won’t qualify for any benefits.

Our Response:
You should send the form to the job centre and give full details of your circumstances. They will simply tell you you're not entitled to ESA if that is the case.
SafeWorkers - 3-Oct-17 @ 12:48 PM
Suminoe- Your Question:
I was signed off sick with depression after months of sustained bullying from my line manager. I raised grievance against my manager but for tactical reasons the company rejected it (quoting that they believe my statements but did not have sufficient (written) evidence to uphold my complaint). My manager abused me orally during our 121s and late (after 7pm), when no-one was in the office, hence I could not produce any witnesses to what's been said to me (mocking my accent, calling me stupid). I was entitled to 16 weeks of SSP but wanted to return to work earlier as the medication and time off work really helped me to feel better. However, HR advised that I stay on medical leave until my grievance is resolved. I followed their advice, but after the grievance was rejected, and returning to work with my current manager rolled out, HR asked me to sign myself off sick for another month while I am looking for roles internally. This sounds totally ridiculous and I think this is illegal to make an employee to go on medical leave if they are fit to work. I am also concerned that my SSP pay will stop soon, but there was no other alternative presented by HR to ensure I am being paid while still employed but looking for another internal role. Any advice ?

Our Response:
We don't think your employer is acting correctly here, but there is obviously a lot more involved than is possible for you to write in a short comment. Your best option would be to call the ACAS helpline or use the online chat to get some individual advice.
SafeWorkers - 3-Oct-17 @ 12:42 PM
Vall - Your Question:
I've been off sick for my full 28 weeks a d I haven't had my pps1 from my manager but she has sent me my p45 and wage slips. what should I do

Our Response:
Ask your employer? If your sick pay has run out, your employer will usually complete the SSP1 form and give it you.
SafeWorkers - 2-Oct-17 @ 12:24 PM
Hi I’ve been off work for nearly 28weeks and my ssp is coming to an end my employer has sent me the ssp1 form do I need to take it to the job centre as I am now going onto half pay for 6 months and won’t qualify for any benefits.
Lj - 1-Oct-17 @ 4:21 PM
I was signed off sick with depression after months of sustained bullying from my line manager. I raised grievance against my manager but for tactical reasons the company rejected it (quoting that they believe my statements but did not have sufficient (written) evidence to uphold my complaint). My manager abused me orally during our 121s and late (after 7pm), when no-one was in the office, hence I could not produce any witnesses to what's been said to me (mocking my accent, calling me stupid). I was entitled to 16 weeks of SSP but wanted to return to work earlier as the medication and time off work really helped me to feel better. However, HR advised that I stay on medical leave until my grievance is resolved. I followed their advice, but after the grievance was rejected, and returning to work with my current manager rolled out, HR asked me to sign myself off sick for another month while I am looking for roles internally. This sounds totally ridiculous and I think this is illegal to make an employee to go on medical leave if they are fit to work. I am also concerned that my SSP pay will stop soon, but there was no other alternative presented by HR to ensure I am being paid while still employed but looking for another internal role. Any advice ?
Suminoe - 1-Oct-17 @ 11:58 AM
I've been off sick for my full 28 weeks a d i haven't had my pps1 from my manager but she has sent me my p45 and wage slips... what should I do
Vall - 29-Sep-17 @ 10:38 AM
Gill - Your Question:
I've been off work for 3 months I'm being payed ssp I'm waiting on a diagnosis of fibromyalgia but my employer keeps sending me letters to attend a meeting with them what ate my rights as I'm too sore to attend

Our Response:
Contact your employer, they might be able to arrange for someone to visit you at home or a phone interview. Ignoring them will not help matters.
SafeWorkers - 27-Sep-17 @ 3:08 PM
I've been off work for 3 months I'm being payed ssp I'm waiting on a diagnosis of fibromyalgia but my employer keeps sending me letters to attend a meeting with them what ate my rights as I'm too sore to attend
Gill - 26-Sep-17 @ 10:57 AM
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