It’s important to check any new employment contract for details of your sick pay entitlement. All employers are bound by law to pay the Government minimum (known as Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Most employers offer a more generous sick pay scheme, usually equal to your standard salary for at least the first three months of sick leave.
Note that sick pay does not cover 'duvet days': you shouldn't look at your sick pay entitlement as extra holiday allowance.
The Disability Discrimination Act is designed to improve the rights of people with disabilities, but also affects the way employers deal with staff suffering from a long term illness which occurs during their term of employment.
We've made it simple for you; here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
What is Statutory Sick Pay?
If you’re absent from work for a period of four days or more, your employer is required to pay you the minimum amount known as Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Your contract of employment may lay out terms that exceed this amount; this is known as contractual sick pay.
Abuse your contractual sick pay and you could find yourself getting just your SSP, so don't take the mickey if you have an employer nice enough to pay the extra — no matter how tempted you are.
For information on the latest regulations and rates of SSP, visit the Department for Work and Pensions website.
How long do I have to be off work before I qualify for SSP?
Once you have been absent for work for four or more consecutive calendar days, you qualify for SSP (this includes weekends and Bank Holidays). After a qualifying period which should be stipulated in your contract of employment, Statutory Sick Pay is payable for up to 28 weeks. Within this 28-week period, an employer can stop sick pay should you return to work or resign from your job.
Can the employer refuse to pay?
In a nutshell, no. However, you could lose some or all of your sick pay if you don't immediately inform your employer of any illness, unless you have a good reason not to. A good reason like being run over by a bus; being unable to speak due to an incapacitating hangover doesn’t count.
Am I entitled to see my sickness absence records?
Yes, you certainly are. New legislation brought in under the Data Protection Act means that you’re entitled to see your own absence records. It's always a good idea to ask, and if you're a career sick-noter it might just be the wake up call you need.
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Disclaimer: the information on these pages is provided for your information and reference only. Before making any important decisions regarding your employment or any legal matter, you should consult a qualified professional adviser who can provide specific advice based on your individual position.