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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Feb 2018 | 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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I have been off sick for 9 working days and have provided my employer with evidence from the doctor.I have been paid today and deductions from my wages have been made for 6 days.I've been subjected to a disciplinary for short term absence and I am being issued with a formal first written warning because on I failed to "notify" my line manager that I was not going to college the morning I was on day release through illness - I e-mailed my tutor and thought I had copied by boss in but I hadn't - this was only brought to my attention at the disciplinary.A colleague of mine has also been off for 10 days with a similar illness and was signed off by her doctor and has not had any money deducted from her wages.Have the deductions to my wages and not to occurred because of the disciplinary?I am especially upset about the disciplinary because not copying the line manager into the e-mail was an oversight, the first time anything like it had happened - nothing sinister and the HL lady told me that I was subject to the disciplinary because my line manager had decided to handle it that way and that other line managers would take a different approach with their workers so the upshot is I feel like I have been singled out under a policy that is not being applied fairly across the firm.I also felt like I couldn't say what I wanted to because my line manager was very, very angry, seething almost every time she spoke and at times I wouldn't get a word in and in the end I stopped speaking. Any advice as to what I could do would be greatly appreciated.
SAM - 23-Feb-18 @ 6:15 PM
I have been off sick for 9 working days and have provided my employer with evidence from the doctor.I have been paid today and deductions from my wages have been made for 6 days.I've been subjected to a disciplinary for short term absence and I am being issued with a formal first written warning because on I failed to "notify" my line manager that I was not going to college the morning I was on day release through illness - I e-mailed my tutor and thought I had copied by boss in but I hadn't - this was only brought to my attention at the disciplinary.A colleague of mine has also been off for 10 days with a similar illness and was signed off by her doctor and has not had any money deducted from her wages.Have the deductions to my wages and not to occurred because of the disciplinary?I am especially upset about the disciplinary because not copying the line manager into the e-mail was an oversight, the first time anything like it had happened - nothing sinister and the HL lady told me that I was subject to the disciplinary because my line manager had decided to handle it that way and that other line managers would take a different approach with their workers so the upshot is I feel like I have been singled out under a policy that is not being applied fairly across the firm.I also felt like I couldn't say what I wanted to because my line manager was very, very angry, seething almost every time she spoke and at times I wouldn't get a word in and in the end I stopped speaking. Any advice as to what I could do would be greatly appreciated.
SAM - 23-Feb-18 @ 6:12 PM
I am 60 ,and now work as a contract worker doing short term contracts for NHS I get paid by an umbrella company . If I don't work I don't get paid. I have paid NI contributions for over 40: years . Am I entitled to SSP in my own right Thanks
Shaz - 23-Feb-18 @ 11:27 AM
Pie; - Your Question:
I'm self employed and messaged in sick before work to tell them I was ill, my employer told me they didn't believe this and told me to take the rest of the week off if I didn't come in on that day, is this legal?

Our Response:
What kind of self employed contract do you have? Are there any terms relating to sickness in the contract etc?
SafeWorkers - 21-Feb-18 @ 11:43 AM
I'm self employed and messaged in sick before work to tell them I was ill, my employer told me they didn't believe this and told me to take the rest of the week off if i didn't come in on that day, is this legal?
Pie; - 20-Feb-18 @ 11:55 AM
Deb - Your Question:
I had surgery on my hand yesterday and the surgeon gave me a sick note for 6 weeks. I called the headteacher at my school today to let them know and they were really off with me.they seem to question the surgeons decision and asked who’d made the sicknote out. They also asked what medication they had put me on. They want me to meet with them after half term as they are not happy about me being off for 6 weeks. Can they question this as the surgeon obviously knows what’s best and has told me that I have to rest the hand and cannot use it. This is already causing me upset and stress that I don’t need. Should I contact my union rep and do I have to go to this meeting. Any advice would be good.

Our Response:
Your employer has the right to find out when you can be expected back to work and to ask about your recovery etc. If you are upset by this then do contact your union.
SafeWorkers - 12-Feb-18 @ 12:53 PM
I had surgery on my hand yesterday and the surgeon gave me a sick note for 6 weeks. I called the headteacher at my school today to let them know and they were really off with me..they seem to question the surgeons decision and asked who’d made the sicknote out. They also asked what medication they had put me on. They want me to meet with them after half term as they are not happy about me being off for 6 weeks. Can they question this as the surgeon obviously knows what’s best and has told me that I have to rest the hand and cannot use it. This is already causing me upset and stress that I don’t need. Should I contact my union rep and do I have to go to this meeting. Any advice would be good.
Deb - 9-Feb-18 @ 8:51 PM
Hello I work for a local taxi company and I pay for a set in my car that gives me work. I pay 100 pound a week and I am self employed. I was in a crash off 5 weeks and when I come back to work they wanted 500 pound off me to work as I never called them to let them know I was In a crash is this aloud I haven't signed nothing for this ?
Jb - 7-Feb-18 @ 6:12 PM
Hi, I went home ill on Saturday. My boss then changed the rota and I am not back in till Friday but have been asked to contact daily regarding my flu. Is this allowed? I was also originally due to work Tuesday and Wednesday but they changed this without knowing if I would be fit for work or not. Any help would be appreciated.
Holmesteiger - 7-Feb-18 @ 4:57 PM
chollz - Your Question:
Is it legal for an employer to request a sick note in order for you to be allowed a single sick day? A friend of mine has been told by their manager that if anyone needs time off for illness, they need a sick note from the doctor, even if it's just a cold.

Our Response:
Statutory rights say a fit note must be provided if you are off sick for more than 7 days in a row (including non-working days). An employer can ask an employee to self-certify before that.
SafeWorkers - 6-Feb-18 @ 3:36 PM
Is it legal for an employer to request a sick note in order for you to be allowed a single sick day? A friend of mine has been told by their manager that if anyone needs time off for illness, they need a sick note from the doctor, even if it's just a cold.
chollz - 6-Feb-18 @ 11:38 AM
Tom h - Your Question:
Ive been sick for 1 day and my employer has told me to take the week off but I feeling better now. Can they keep me off work for the remaining 6 days or can I return to work as usual

Our Response:
This depends on the employer's policy, the kind of work you do, the environment in which you work, the nature of your sickness etc. We can't really comment without knowing that.
SafeWorkers - 6-Feb-18 @ 11:24 AM
Hello I was off sick for 2 consecutive days in January but my manager has put it down as 2 periods of sickness, is this correct, I was under the impression it counted as one? Many thanks
jenno - 6-Feb-18 @ 9:22 AM
I called in sick to work and then later they called and told me I had to come in anyway and actually was a Rota change as well, I had to be there within the hour (2 hours before the shift I called in sick for). Do I have any rights on that front? I wasn't given a choice, and I have Autism so I feel I was taken advantage of because I do not think normally and thought I would be fired if I did no comply.
Jellyhead - 5-Feb-18 @ 10:45 PM
Ive been sick for 1 day and my employer has told me to take the week off but i feeling better now. Can they keep me off work for the remaining 6 days or can i return to work as usual
Tom h - 4-Feb-18 @ 8:03 PM
Geo - Your Question:
I was off sick from december 29th to january 13th but my boss is sayn I ran out of sickpay and cant use 2018 sickpay because my illness started on 2017 is this right ?

Our Response:
If it's company sick pay, your employer can decide whether to pay it or not. You are entitled to statutory sick pay of £89.35 a week for up to 28 weeks assuming you are eligible..this would not be affected because of the date as suggested.
SafeWorkers - 2-Feb-18 @ 10:19 AM
Wamp - Your Question:
I broke my hip 3 months go, looking to be on crutches for another 3 months until it’s fully healed. I have a sick note, as I work on my feet I cannot return until I am off both crutches, but once I am I will be able to return to the same job with no alterations. Are Work able to dismiss me?

Our Response:
This depends on your employer's policy on sickness absence.
SafeWorkers - 31-Jan-18 @ 11:51 AM
Malco - Your Question:
Hi I’ve been off I’ll from work for round about 14years through various illnessesThe company I worked for have never officially sacked me and still hold my p45. I worked for the same company for 15years before I got ill my question is after this long am I entitled to any redundancy on medical grounds or get medically retired Thank you in advance

Our Response:
Are you still being paid?
SafeWorkers - 31-Jan-18 @ 10:34 AM
I was off sick from december 29th to january 13th but my boss is sayn i ran out of sickpay and cant use 2018 sickpay because my illness started on 2017 is this right ?
Geo - 31-Jan-18 @ 10:00 AM
I broke my hip 3 months go, looking to be on crutches for another 3 months until it’s fully healed. I have a sick note, as I work on my feet I cannot return until I am off both crutches, but once I am I will be able to return to the same job with no alterations. Are Work able to dismiss me?
Wamp - 30-Jan-18 @ 9:05 AM
Hi I’ve been off I’ll from work for round about 14years through various illnesses The company I worked for have never officially sacked me and still hold my p45. I worked for the same company for 15years before I got ill my question is after this long am I entitled to any redundancy on medical grounds or get medically retired Thank you in advance
Malco - 29-Jan-18 @ 7:24 PM
Susie - Your Question:
I Am in permenant work, I broke my collar bone in October and have been off sick since. I had surgery last week to repair it and had a bone graft too. I will be off work for another 3 months. Does my SSP start again after surgery? It runs out soon, shocks I get a letter from my boss confirming SSP has finished?I don’t think I’m entitled to ESA as I have savings and a partner in work. Is that correct?I am due holiday pay as the firm closed for a week over Christmas, when do I get my Pay?Do I still have to send fit notes? If so, why? From the hospital or GP?Thank you, Susie

Our Response:
Your SSP should not run out until it's been paid for 28 weeks (about six months), so should be payable for another couple of months. If you have not recovered by then you should apply for ESA (there's an online calculator to see whether your eligible). It's worth contacting your employer in conjunction with occupational health and your consultant to see if there's any work you can do after the initial healing period etc. You still have to send in sick/fit notes.
SafeWorkers - 29-Jan-18 @ 12:10 PM
My firm has set holidays and the factory closes, I get 5 floating leave days to take whenever. I’ve been off for 4 months now, will be off for another 2 months to recover from an operation.Can I claim my holiday pay and do I do that once the SSP runs out? Are there forms I should fill in, cos my GP said I don’t need fit notes after 3 months. I’m confused. Cheers
SC - 26-Jan-18 @ 9:13 PM
i Am in permenant work, I broke my collar bone in October and have been off sick since. I had surgery last week to repair it and had a bone graft too. I will be off work for another 3 months.Does my SSP start again after surgery? It runs out soon, shocks I get a letter from my boss confirming SSP has finished? I don’t think I’m entitled to ESA as I have savings and a partner in work.Is that correct? I am due holiday pay as the firm closed for a week over Christmas, when do I get my Pay? Do I still have to send fit notes? If so, why? From the hospital or GP? Thank you, Susie
Susie - 26-Jan-18 @ 9:08 PM
Hi just asking if i can claim anthing i left my job on the 22nd december as moving house and was due to start new job on the 2nd january . sadly i was rushed into icu with menigitis on the brain woke up on the 14th and was allowed out on the 18th jan still having nurse come to house to give antibiotics through longline in arm . they said it may be a while before i recover and may still need a operation. Is there anything i can claim until i am well enough to start new job as they put it on hold
Jue - 22-Jan-18 @ 1:46 PM
I've been on sick since Sept and just given another one were do I take it as I put in claim for universal credit 10th jan I no longer work
Berry - 19-Jan-18 @ 12:27 AM
Alex - Your Question:
I have been off work with the flu for 4 days now. We are short staffed at the moment due to two members of staff leaving in the last month. I work for an independent business so there is no HR, just the two owners who are also the managers and one other member of staff. My manager is telling me I have to work one of my scheduled days off this week because I was off sick and other staff have covered me. Can my manager make me work my day off because I have been off sick? I don't think this is right as it isn't my fault and shouldn't effect my work schedule for the rest of the week. But I now feel pressured to do so.

Our Response:
Was this a pre-booked holiday or a day which you're not contracted to work at all/anytime?
SafeWorkers - 17-Jan-18 @ 3:40 PM
I have been off work with the flu for 4 days now. We are short staffed at the moment due to two members of staff leaving in the last month. I work for an independent business so there is no HR, just the two owners who are also the managers and one other member of staff. My manager is telling me I have to work one of my scheduled days off this week because I was off sick and other staff have covered me. Can my manager make me work my day off because I have been off sick? I don't think this is right as it isn't my fault and shouldn't effect my work schedule for the rest of the week. But I now feel pressured to do so.
Alex - 15-Jan-18 @ 1:48 PM
Mamo3 - Your Question:
My 13year old daughter is going to have major back operation soon, she has severe scoliosis. I work 18 hours a week in a local shop and my husband works full time for a building company, her operation is going to be done in a hospital 150miles away. She will probably off school for 6weeks and then phased back in slowly, I would like to be off with her but we can’t really afford to. Is there any help for my situation

Our Response:
Firstly speak to your employer to see if there is any financial help available etc.

Your local authority may be able to offer financial assistance via Personal budgets or crisis grants etc. If you want to apply to the local authority for financial assistance it's worth consulting an experienced adviser, someone from your work's HR department might be able to help and Citizens Advice will almost certainly be able to do this.

Here are two charitable organisations that you could contact:
Tree of Hope
Family Fund
SafeWorkers - 10-Jan-18 @ 10:21 AM
My 13year old daughter is going to have major back operation soon, she has severe scoliosis. I work 18 hours a week in a local shop and my husband works full time for a building company, her operation is going to be done in a hospital 150miles away. She will probably off school for 6weeks and then phased back in slowly, I would like to be off with her but we can’t really afford to. Is there any help for my situation
Mamo3 - 7-Jan-18 @ 2:59 PM
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