We all get sick sometimes. And when employers take an understanding approach to sick leave, working people are happier, healthier and more productive.
Whether you’re entitled to sick pay from your employer depends on the terms of your contract. Many employers will have a clear written guarantee of sick pay, though it may only kick in after a certain period of service.
Otherwise, you’re almost certainly entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP), although it’s subject to certain rules. In particular, SSP is not paid for the first three days you’re off, unless you have been paid SSP within the last eight weeks and are eligible again.
Usually, you’ll be allowed to ‘self-certify’ as sick for the first few days, but if you’re off work for longer, you may need to produce a ‘fit note’ from your GP. For longer-term illness or injury, you might be asked to undergo a medical exam, or your employer might ask to contact your GP.
Unfortunately, some people feel under pressure to work even while they’re sick, particularly if they lose pay by staying home. This can undermine morale at work, and put co-workers at risk of infection.
If you think you deserve better sick pay, you could get together with co-workers –through your union if you have one – to negotiate a better deal with your employer.