Your employer must tell you what to do when you’re off work sick, including:
If they haven’t told you, make sure you ask them what to do or check your staff handbook or intranet.
If you don't follow your employer's rules, you’ll be breaking a term of your contract. You can still get any statutory sick pay you’re entitled to, but you might not get any extra sick pay your contract says you can get. You could eventually lose your job.
If your employer hasn’t told you what to do to get statutory sick pay (SSP), you should:
If you're entitled to SSP, and your contract doesn't have any extra rules about contractual sick pay, your employer isn’t allowed to:
If you’re sick for more than 7 days you’ll probably have to get a note from your doctor. You might hear these referred to as ‘fit notes’ (they used to be called ‘sick notes’).
On the note, your doctor will say that you:
If your doctor says you ‘may be fit for work’ they can recommend the type of work you might be able to do.
If your employer can’t make the changes your doctor recommends, you’ll still be considered unfit for work and can carry on getting sick pay.
If you’re off work sick because you're disabled, your employer has a legal duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help you return to work.
If you didn’t tell your employer straightaway that you were off sick, it’s up to them to decide if you had a good reason.
If they don’t think you had a good reason, they can refuse to pay you sick pay for the number of days you were late telling them.
If you’re not happy with their decision you can contact HMRC and ask them to reconsider.
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You’re usually paid statutory and contractual sick pay in the same way as your normal wages - for example, weekly into your bank account. You’ll pay tax and National Insurance on your sick pay.
If you want to return to work early, your employer might ask you to get a note from your doctor confirming you’re fit for work. This will usually be because your employer needs it for their insurance.
Your doctor can recommend that you work less hours or days for a bit, and gradually increase them back to normal - this is called a ‘phased return’. This could affect your pay so you need to discuss it with your employer.Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you want help working out what your options are.
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