6.8 Sickness and sick pay

As a minimum, employers must pay statutory sick pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks to employees who are off work due to illness or injury. The first three days’ absence are known as “waiting days” when the employee receives no pay. Employees must notify their employer of the sickness and produce evidence, if required, from the eighth day of illness.

Many employers offer enhanced Company sick pay in addition to SSP, and will have more detailed reporting and evidential procedures for the employee to be eligible. The employer may pay for longer periods of absence or at higher rates than under the statutory scheme.

Fit notes replaced sick notes in April 2010. Under the scheme, instead of simply advising that an employee is unfit for work, doctors may now advise that an employee would be fit to return to work earlier if appropriate support is given by the employer, such as reduced or amended hours, lighter or altered duties, workplace adaptation or a phased return.