What Are Your Rights Regarding Sick Leave?

Illness in the UK

Illness is something that most people do not want to be. Besides the actual effects of the illness itself, it can leave you tired and completely unable to focus. As such, it is often better to stay at home when you are ill instead of coming in to work. Not only is it going to be beneficial to your health, but will also help to protect the health of your colleagues.

But what are your eligible to when you are ill in regards to the workplace in the United Kingdom? We thought we’d take a look into the world of sick leave and give you some information regarding this. It will help you to become informed about your rights when you are ill and need to take sick leave.

Ill For Less Than Seven Days

If you are ill for less than seven days then you will be able to fill out a self certification form. Each employer will have their own version of this form and it will often simply require you to fill out a form outlining your illness and how long you took off generally.

This is only used for illnesses that are up to seven days in length; a time period that is not sufficient enough to warrant a fit note from a doctor.

Longer Than Seven Days

If you are ill for longer than seven days, including non-working days, then you will be required to provide your employer with a ‘fit note’ or ‘sick note’ from your doctor, whether it is a regular GP or a hospital doctor.

This note will inform your employer of whether you are fit to work or not fit to work. If you may be fit for work then your employer should take care to make any changes that may be required. For example if you have an accident and therefore require plenty of back support in the workplace after, your employer would have to look into ways to provide this support.

You should keep the original fit note for your records and provide your employer with a copy of the note if necessary.

Sick Leave

If you are off work for an illness then you are entitled to be paid Statutory Sick Pay unless you are paid ‘occupational sick pay’. Occupational sick pay is usually a sick pay scheme that is provided by your company and is higher than the minimum Statutory Sick Pay. This can often be paid for a period of time that is set by your employer.

It may be advised to check what your company’s policy is regarding sick pay as this may be different to what we are stating here; each company is different in regards to this!

You are still entitled to your holiday leave even when you are on sick leave, no matter how long you are off. If you do not use your statutory holiday entitlement due an illness then it can be carried over into the next year, ensuring that you do not lose any of your entitled days.

As well as this, if you are ill just before you are about to take holiday leave then you can take this as sick leave instead. Alternatively, you may request to take your sick time as holiday leave instead. It is important to remember that your employer cannot force you to take your annual leave if you are eligible for sick leave.

Resource:

https://www.gov.uk/taking-sick-leave

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/sick-pay-rights

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Sarah Jubb
Sarah Jubb

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