When you are unable to work through sickness, the last thing you need is further stress and worry caused by uncertainty regarding your employment.
There are three particular areas of employment law which offer you protection:
- Your employer has a legal obligation to protect you when you return to work from sickness (under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) if you are more vulnerable to risk because of injury, illness or disability.
- Your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments if your illness or injury constitutes a disability (under the Equality Act 2010) and they must not treat you less favourably than other employees.
- If you feel you are under threat of dismissal because of your sickness record, your employer must use a fair procedure.
There is no statutory right to receive pay at your normal rate when you are off work through sickness or injury. Your employer has the option to pay you all, or part, of your salary for a certain amount of time if they choose. Ideally this should be explained in your contract of employment. The amount of paid time-off for sickness may be linked to length of service or other factors. Your employer is also within their rights to make decisions on a case by case basis. If there is no contractual right to sick pay you will, if you qualify, receive Statutory Sick Pay.
For the first seven days of any sickness absence you can self-certificate and your employer has no right to ask for formal medical evidence during that period. If you are off work for longer than seven days then you do have to provide a medical certificate. In the event of a possible long-term sickness absence, or repeated short term absences, your employer can ask you to undergo an independent medical examination.
How we can help
In cases of long-term absence, or frequent short-term absences, your employer may decide to take disciplinary action. If they do decide to take this route, or if you have any other concerns about your rights concerning sickness absence, talk to Else Solicitors. We can advise you whether or not your employer’s behaviour is fair and reasonable in the eyes of the law and whether you are being discriminated against.
Our team has many years of experience in employment law, from the point of view of employers and employees, making us ideally placed to help you with any fears or worries. We can offer an initial, free consultation to listen to your concerns and advise you of your options.