Sickness and incapacity
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rules around Statutory Sick Pay (‘SSP’) have changed, whilst an employer retains complete discretion over whether to offer company sick pay as well.
- To qualify for SSP an employee must have four or more consecutive days of sickness (including weekends and holidays) and/or be self-isolating in accordance with government guidelines and shielding in accordance with a notification
- Online isolation notes can be used by employees to provide evidence to their employers that they have had to self-isolate
- SSP can be claimed from the first day of incapacity in respect of absences from 13 March 2020
- Employers will fewer than 250 employees can reclaim SSP paid in respect of the first 14 days of COVID–19-related sickness absence, which has retrospective effect from 14 March 2020
SSP is payable for up to 28 weeks at a weekly rate subject to current limits.
While there is no specific statutory provision giving an employee the right to time off work because of sickness, it would be unfair if an employer dismissed an employee for sickness absence without properly investigating the absence first (provided the employee has qualifying service). It may be that an employee is disabled under the Equality Act 2010 in which case the dismissal would also be discriminatory.