Sick note…

legal updates

The employer is entitled to reasonable information to determine if the employee is entitled to SSP

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Employees can self-certificate themselves as sick up to seven days.

However, if an employee is sick beyond seven days (including non working days), you as an employer can request a fit note (often known as a sick note) from a doctor.

If the note refers to the employee “may be able to work” you will need to discuss with the employee any possible adjustments in the workplace to enable them to return. However, you must be mindful of health and safety. If it is not possible to have the employee return with reasonable adjustments or they may cause a health and safety hazard then you can insist on a full recovery before the employee returns.

However, if the employee does not provide a sick note, it will be deemed as unauthorised absence and the employer may be entitled to withhold contractual pay (if applicable, check contract!) or statutory sick pay (SSP).

The employer is entitled to reasonable information to determine if the employee is entitled to SSP, if the employee provides a good reason for not providing a note the employer can pay however if the employer is not satisfied the employee is ill and no evidence has been provided, payment can be withheld.

The employer should write to the employee, the letter should include the absence policy if applicable and confirming sick pay will be withheld if no note/evidence is received. The absence will be deemed as unauthorised and the employee may be subject to disciplinary action. Should the employee respond with evidence, pay should be back dated and paid.

If the employee is off work for more than a 4 week period this will be deemed as long-term sick however their contractual benefits and annual leave will still accrue. Dismissing employees whom are on long-term sick should be deemed as a last resort. Employers should firstly consider any adjustments whether these are short terms or long term. This could be a change or hours or a different job role. Consultation with the employee and health professionals should also be taken.
As per our previous Legal update, Sick whilst on holiday if an employee is on annual leave but is sick – this may be deemed as sick days rather than annual leave.

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