FAQs: Sick leave

Are all workers entitled to take time off if they’re sick?

All workers are entitled to take time off if they are not well, whether to attend medical appointments or to recover from illness. Many employers require their workers to provide evidence verifying their illness. Employers should contain this information in their policies.

Do workers need to provide a medical certificate?

Employers may require workers who have had time off for illness to complete a self-certification form or provide a medical certificate. A self-certification certificate is filled out by the worker. The employer may have their own form, or they may use a standard Employee's Statement of Sickness form. If a worker is off ill for more than 7 days they will need to get a Statement of Fitness to work note, also called a ‘fit note’.

Are all workers entitled to sick pay?

Not all workers are entitled to sick pay. To be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) the worker must be an employee who has commenced work under their employment contract, usually for at least three days. The employee’s earnings must be above a certain limit. The employee must notify the employer about the sickness and must not have already received the maximum amount of SSP.

How much is SSP? Find out here.

Can workers be dismissed while on sick leave?

An employer should not dismiss an employee who is absent on sick leave unless it is the last resort. An employer should consider whether part-time or flexible hours or some other form of assistance would allow the employee to return to work.

Can you sue for being dismissed while on sick leave?

Employers must be careful about dismissing an employee on sick leave, as they may leave themselves vulnerable to a claim by the employee for unfair dismissal or discrimination. If an employee is unfairly dismissed they may make a claim at an Employment Tribunal.

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