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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 21 Jun 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]
I have been of work with depression for 23 days and have no contract been with the company for 10 years. How long am I in titled to full pay as I'm due to return soon. But he has given me ssp which means I can't pay my bills or rent so may loose my house
angie - 21-Jun-17 @ 11:30 PM
Last week i had to call in sick for 2 days due to sciatica and told my employer the day before my first day off sick. My employer paid me my full wage but is now saying he will be taking 2 days holiday off me. I've been with the company 14yrs now and still have not been given any form of contract. Can my employer just take these 2 days off me?
Cal4457 - 21-Jun-17 @ 8:54 AM
I had a car crash and suffered a fracture, I was signed off from work for 6 weeks, the fracture did not heal so I had to have an operation to fix it. I had the operation and was signed off for another 6 weeks to recover. I have been with my company 6 mths, their company policy is to pay full pay for the first month and half pay for the next two months for employees with 6mths - 2yrs service. I offered to work a few hours from home whilst off sick and they agreed although the job does not really benefit from this. My company paid me full pay for the first month and told me they would only pay half pay for the second month followed by nothing for the third month, they would pay full pay for the hours I did work. I had my operation on the 2nd. The morning of the 17th I received a letter dated the 16th which says they hope by now I have received the letter dated the 15th, and would like to let me know that I can work my notice as I wish but must return any equipment to them by the end of the period. They wish me all the best for the future. I have not received a letter dated the 15th I also have not resigned as I am still signed off. My contract states 4 weeks notice must be given to terminate the contract. Is what they are doing legal, can they terminate my contract whilst I am off sick and if I am in a notice period do they have to pay full pay? What are the options open to me.
lp - 17-Jun-17 @ 11:14 PM
Bonz - Your Question:
I have a baby with kidney reflux is off with urine infections alot. I have taken 9 days off in 6months and my employer is saying if I take more time off it will result in a disciplinary can they do this?

Our Response:
Unfortunately some employers are not so understanding as others. In general an employer has to allow you some time off (unpaid if necessary) for emergencies relating to a child but if your child needs regular care etc, then you're expected to take this out of your leave. 9 days would result in a disciplinary if it were the owne employee's sickness absence according to most employers' policies.
SafeWorkers - 15-Jun-17 @ 11:35 AM
I have a baby with kidney reflux is off with urine infections alot. I have taken 9 days off in 6months and my employer is saying if i take more time off it will result in a disciplinary can they do this?
Bonz - 12-Jun-17 @ 10:08 AM
I have a very rare cancer related illness I used to work evenings but am now on days I have a contract to work 4hrs a day I cannot work evenings anymore as I have regular hospital appointments all in the afternoon can my manager make me go back on evenings also he keeps changing my shift hours thank you
Carrot - 6-Jun-17 @ 9:34 PM
I'm in the process of claiming ESA but they have sent me a medical form out to fill in I will be returning to work after 1month do I still need to fill it in
Eye - 6-Jun-17 @ 7:10 PM
I was currently on sick note for 16 weeks now for shoulder and arthritis and the sick note is coming to an end now but am not still alright still haven pains. Can I still get more sick note from the doctor or I have to return to work?
Very cky - 30-May-17 @ 3:19 PM
My husband went off sick with Sciatica 2 days before his contract was due to end. He is awaiting an MRI scan. The doctor gave him a sick note for 4 weeks, he has never been off sick before so what doe's he do with the note. The contract was for 3months & will not be renewed.
Kaz - 30-May-17 @ 12:43 PM
wendy- Your Question:
I was off sick for 4 weeks with depression. I did not receive company sick pay only SSP.I am still being treated for depression and produce gp sick notes.On return to work my boss has said I have to " work back " the 4 weeks sick leave.Feel this is unfair and looking for advice.

Our Response:
What do you mean by "work back" - does this mean they want you to do overtime to make up the time lost through sickness absence? An employer cannot do that.
SafeWorkers - 23-May-17 @ 12:56 PM
I was off sick for 4 weeks with depression. I did not receive company sick pay only SSP .I am still being treated for depression and produce gp sick notes. On return to work my boss has said I have to " work back " the 4 weeks sick leave .Feel this is unfair and looking for advice.
wendy - 22-May-17 @ 9:36 AM
I wasadvised by my doctor to take time off of work for my infection.I took 3 days offand came back to work for 4 days in the same week. Then my infection got worse and I was unable to work the rest of the week.Do I need to put in 2 ssp formsor justthe one?
Jane - 21-May-17 @ 12:04 PM
Al - Your Question:
I was signed of work for 4 days with shoulder pain, handed in a sick note to member of staff from my department. I was out the house after 2 days feeding better, but I accidentally put on FB that I was out enjoying a beer, I've been told by a union rep I mite be dismissed is this true.

Our Response:
This depends on how your employer views it and whether they have anything written into their behaviour policy about it.
SafeWorkers - 18-May-17 @ 2:39 PM
I was signed of workfor 4 days with shoulder pain, handed in a sick note to member of staff from my department. I was out the house after 2 days feeding better, but i accidentally put on FB that i was out enjoying a beer, I've been told by a union rep i mite be dismissed is this true.
Al - 17-May-17 @ 7:39 PM
Alf - Your Question:
Hello,I was signed of work for a week with a very bad chest infection and now my company have sacked me is there anything I can do as it seems very unfair especially after I have always stayed on late at work and have never took more than a day off for sickness in the 22months I have worked there

Our Response:
As long as your employer followed the correct procedures, there may not be a great deal you can do. You can't easily claim unfair dismissal if you have been working at a company for less than two years.
SafeWorkers - 11-May-17 @ 2:12 PM
Hello, I was signed of work for a week with a very bad chest infection and now my company have sacked me is there anything I can do as it seems very unfair especially after I have always stayed on late at work and have never took more than a day off for sickness in the 22months I have worked there
Alf - 10-May-17 @ 1:29 PM
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
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