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Sickness: Your Rights

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 Aug 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 £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]
My partner is off sick and his company have said he has to make up the time he’s had off as they are behind on the order.Can they do this?
Lou - 17-Aug-18 @ 3:27 PM
Hannahj - Your Question:
If I have a amended shift pattern 8-5 signed by the company and any other shifts do not apply to myself, if I went home at 11am due to a migraine and slept it off, then come 9pm that night I go out wirh my boyfriend as I am now feeling fine. There is a post on Facebook. And my work have screen shotted this and saved this to their phone. Is this allowed ? As they are asking why I went out ? When I’ve told them I was feeling upto it. I didn’t know what I done outside of my agreed hours is anything to do with them?

Our Response:
This depends on your employers' policy really.
SafeWorkers - 15-Aug-18 @ 11:20 AM
Can an employer control what you do when your off sick .. ie go out, football match etc ? Also if you go over the 7 days self certification,am I right in saying that you only need a sick note from the date when the SC ended? Not the entirety of the sickness?
Kinga050900 - 14-Aug-18 @ 7:23 PM
If I have a amended shift pattern 8-5 signed by the company and any other shifts do not apply to myself, if I went home at 11am due to a migraine and slept it off, then come 9pm that night I go out wirh my boyfriend as I am now feeling fine. There is a post on Facebook. And my work have screen shotted this and saved this to their phone.Is this allowed ? As they are asking why I went out ? When I’ve told them I was feeling upto it. I didn’t know what I done outside of my agreed hours is anything to do with them?
Hannahj - 14-Aug-18 @ 4:58 PM
Dazzer16 - Your Question:
I have been on the sick for 6 weeks due to an rta, I went back to work for a week and relapsed, do I have to start all over again with a self certification or will this carry on from previous sick weeks as it’s a small period of time?

Our Response:
If you have regular periods of sickness, they may count as ‘linked’. To be linked, the periods must:
last 4 or more days each
be 8 weeks or less apart
SafeWorkers - 13-Aug-18 @ 2:53 PM
I have been on the sick for 6 weeks due to an rta, I went back to work for a week and relapsed, do I have to start all over again with a self certification or will this carry on from previous sick weeks as it’s a small period of time?
Dazzer16 - 13-Aug-18 @ 10:52 AM
Mart - Your Question:
Hi I have been off sick from work eight times in two years can they disaplin me for this thank you

Our Response:
This will depend on your employer's sick policy but yes, if your employer thinks you've had too much sick time you can be disciplined.
SafeWorkers - 10-Aug-18 @ 10:45 AM
Zs221477 - Your Question:
HiI've been off work with cancer for 5-6 months now. I'm ready to come back after treatment and told my employers this. I'm being made to go to an occupational health appointment to make sure I'm ready which is fine. However, my customers who I contact (ledger) has been looked after by someone else. They told me I won't be getting that ledger back at all now as it's no longer mine. They are now telling me I'd be doing a job where I got less pay a month as I'm on a target/incentive pay. Is this legal? Am I not supposed to come back to the job I had in the first place? All my manager said was that I'd still be a telesales executive so the job title is still the same.

Our Response:
You can't be made to take a different job if that would mean less pay or other contractual changes. You may be able to take action under the Equality Act. See Cancer your rights as an Employee for more information.
SafeWorkers - 8-Aug-18 @ 3:30 PM
Hi I have been off sick from work eight times in two years can they disaplin me for this thank you
Mart - 8-Aug-18 @ 12:37 PM
Hi I've been off work with cancer for 5-6 months now. I'm ready to come back after treatment and told my employers this. I'm being made to go to an occupational health appointment to make sure I'm ready which is fine. However, my customers who I contact (ledger) has been looked after by someone else. They told me I won't be getting that ledger back at all now as it's no longer mine. They are now telling me I'd be doing a job where I got less pay a month as I'm on a target/incentive pay. Is this legal? Am I not supposed to come back to the job I had in the first place? All my manager said was that I'd still be a telesales executive so the job title is still the same.
Zs221477 - 7-Aug-18 @ 10:28 PM
Jfran - Your Question:
I have been if sick nearly 10 weeks, I’ve had numerous sick notes I have provided to work which say not fit to work. They are all for different reasons and awaiting a ct scan for more details as to my illness. Work are now asking for my medical records which I have gave them permission to do so, I messaged hr as they have said they have not received my latest sick note and yet I have handed everyone in when I needed to. I also didn’t think I was entitled to ssp as my boss who doesn’t like me informed me I can’t apply for it and yet I have received a payslip today with ssp? I am still off sick but thought this was out of the ordinary after I told hr I intend to come back to work as soon as I can as I am not receiving any pay and need to be back? Something doesn’t add up?

Our Response:
What exactly is your question, sorry it's really not clear?
SafeWorkers - 6-Aug-18 @ 3:26 PM
I have been if sick nearly 10 weeks, I’ve had numerous sick notes I have provided to work which say not fit to work. They are all for different reasons and awaiting a ct scan for more details as to my illness. Work are now asking for my medical records which I have gave them permission to do so, I messaged hr as they have said they have not received my latest sick note and yet I have handed everyone in when I needed to. I also didn’t think I was entitled to ssp as my boss who doesn’t like me informed me I can’t apply for it and yet I have received a payslip today with ssp? I am still off sick but thought this was out of the ordinary after I told hr I intend to come back to work as soon as I can as I am not receiving any pay and need to be back? Something doesn’t add up?
Jfran - 4-Aug-18 @ 10:45 PM
Hi I work 20 hours a week in home care, I rang in sick after a confrontation with another employee caused me severe stress and anxiety. I'm now receiving calls to ask me to come back to work when I'm on the sick... are they allowed to do this
Burnham - 4-Aug-18 @ 6:36 PM
Ducky - Your Question:
I've been working for the company for 5 and a half months. I have breast cancer, so had operations to remove lump and then to remove lymph nodes, now I'm having chemo and then in November radiotherapy. So have been on SSP for 5 months, I usually get £92.05 which works out £368.20. well just looked online at my wages and they only paid me £236.70 which is £131.50 less. Can anyone tell me why this is?

Our Response:
Statutory Sick pay only lasts for 28 weeks so we assume it has run out. Contact your employer and find out how you apply for ESA.
SafeWorkers - 30-Jul-18 @ 11:12 AM
I've been working for the company for 5 and a half months. I have breast cancer, so had operations to remove lump and then to remove lymph nodes, now I'm having chemo and then in November radiotherapy. So have been on SSP for 5 months, I usually get £92.05 which works out £368.20. well just looked online at my wages and they only paid me £236.70 which is £131.50 less. Can anyone tell me why this is?
Ducky - 27-Jul-18 @ 5:47 AM
Karla - Your Question:
Hi,would like to ask fir this.i had a acident at work I am injured my knee and I get sickness from my doctor.i was working all month and I think I shoul get full my wage,but I didnt!!! I am recieved just half of my wages.is that right?And is anybody know for how many days or weeks they can took me from my wage.please I need to know answer asap.thank you

Our Response:
SSP is payable after 4 days of sickness (if you're eligible) and is paid at the rate of £92.05 per week. You are not paid for the first 4 days unless your company has a sick pay policy that provides this.It's not clear from your question. Did you or didn't you work the full month?
SafeWorkers - 25-Jul-18 @ 2:05 PM
L - Your Question:
Hi, I have recently been off work for the full 28 weeks of sick pay. I have now been back for two months but I'm ill again. Will I be entitled to SSP? At the moment I am forcing myself to attend through fear of not getting paid but I'm not able to do my job in the slightest and i'ts not just me its affecting it's my whole team!

Our Response:
If the current period of sickness starts more than 56 days after the previous one ot isn't considered to be linked, and you may be entitled to another 28 weeks SSP. Note that your employer can choose to dismiss you for a poor absence record if it's affecting the performance of the business.
SafeWorkers - 25-Jul-18 @ 11:43 AM
Lib - Your Question:
Hi. I am employed 20hrs a week and do not receive any company sick pay.I had to have a days sick leave this week due to a family emergency and my manager says I must work one of my days off to make up the time. Is this correct? My time off was unpaid. So surely it is just my loss?Please help. Im currently working my 1month notice.Thanks.

Our Response:
You shouldn't have to work extra time to make up for sickness absences.
SafeWorkers - 24-Jul-18 @ 3:44 PM
Hi. I am employed 20hrs a week and do not receive any company sick pay. I had to have a days sick leave this week due to a family emergency and my manager says I must work one of my days off to make up the time. Is this correct? My time off was unpaid. So surely it is just my loss? Please help. Im currently working my 1month notice. Thanks.
Lib - 24-Jul-18 @ 1:49 PM
Kms82 - Your Question:
Hi I have been off sick for 12 weeks following a hip replacement I have now been offered a new job which I don't start until Sept so will go back to my old job for 1 month will I have to pay back any sick pay I received as I will be leaving?

Our Response:
You shouldn't have to repay any Statutory Sick Pay that you've received but if you have received company sick pay, that will depend on your employer's policy.
SafeWorkers - 24-Jul-18 @ 11:11 AM
Hi I have been off sick for 12 weeks following a hip replacement I have now been offered a new job which I don't start until Sept so will go back to my old job for 1 month will i have to pay back any sick pay I received as I will be leaving?
Kms82 - 23-Jul-18 @ 1:37 PM
Hi,would like to ask fir this.i had a acident at work i am injured my knee and i get sickness from my doctor.i was working all month and i think i shoul get full my wage,but i didnt!!! I am recieved just half of my wages.is that right? And is anybody know for how many days or weeks they can took me from my wage.please i need to know answer asap.thank you
Karla - 22-Jul-18 @ 11:42 PM
Hi, I have recently been off work for the full 28 weeks of sick pay. I have now been back for two months but i'm ill again. Will i be entitled to SSP? At the moment I am forcing myself to attend through fear of not getting paid but i'm not able to do my job in the slightest and i'ts not just me its affecting it's my whole team!
L - 22-Jul-18 @ 2:47 AM
Hi.I need some advice if possible. My mother is on long term sick since Feb 2018 and has a sick note until mid Sept 2018 (back operation).A lady, who said was her new manager, has called her tonight and advised that company has had major contract changes throughout and threatened that if she doesn't sign new contract by mid Aug then she will be dismissed. She wants to come round to her house with copy of contract to sign it. To me, this sounds totally illegal but she quite upset that she could lose we job if she doesn't agree. Can anyone help advise me please. Thanks
Stacey - 21-Jul-18 @ 9:13 PM
I worked as a manager for 6 months. I was unwell couldn't contact my manager so left email. I signed myself off ssp that day. Later that day I received a call saying I had my contract terminated. I had raised a greivence against another employee earlier the previous week. This was ignored and made into my fault. I then unknown to me was asked into the office to attend a disciplinary against me. One I didn't know anything about and also no offer of representation on my behalf. I was given a verbal warning still unclear why. Understandably I was upset as protocol was not followed. Yes I was going through a difficult time sleep /worry. No offer if help or support was offered. Now naturally I made the occasional mistake nothing to lose customers. I decided to visit the docs. This 12.31pm and at 17:24 I received the call saying my job was unfortunately not working out. Now as a manager I would have offered help retraining etc. Is what they have done legal? I'm in the UK. Thank you all in advance.
Codge - 14-Jul-18 @ 7:18 PM
I have been advised by doctor to go off sick again due to suffering from panick attacks, i was off for 6 months before and returned to work in febuary
Titch - 9-Jul-18 @ 8:35 PM
Paula - Your Question:
I had a sick line in for a week due to sciatica when I received my pay slip they have paid me £36 sick pay is that right? I work 30+ hours per week

Our Response:
SSpis not paid for the first 3 days of sickness so it may be that you have only received 2 days of sick pay which would work out at about £36. Ask your employer if you're unsure.
SafeWorkers - 4-Jul-18 @ 2:01 PM
I had a sick line in for a week due to sciatica when I received my pay slip they have paid me £36 sick pay is that right? I work 30+ hours per week
Paula - 3-Jul-18 @ 4:25 PM
Buck - Your Question:
Hi,I recently had surgery,so after 4 weeks,I decided to look for work,started a new job,worked 6 days.then went on the sick,my consultant said I went back to work to soon.so I handed sick note in.Got paid for the 6 days,my boss said I'm not entitled to ssp, cause I have only been there a week,is this true.

Our Response:
Not necessarily. You will be entitled to sick pay if you meet the criteria detailed in the above article. There is no time limit, you just have to have completed some work under your employment contract.
SafeWorkers - 2-Jul-18 @ 3:41 PM
Hal - Your Question:
I'm due to have an important surgery in October that will keep me off of work for approx 6 weeks. I knew it would have to happen before I took my current job on in January and told them up front. They assured me sick pay would be fine. But now I have a date and have informed them, they say I'm not entitled to statutory sick pay as I havnt worked there a year. Is this right?

Our Response:
No you don't need to have been working for a year to be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay that is incorrect. 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 an average of at least £116 per week
tell your employer you’re sick before their deadline - or within 7 days if they do not have one
SafeWorkers - 2-Jul-18 @ 2:54 PM
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