Can I be sacked for being off sick?


At Nayyars Solicitors we deal with a number of employment queries and claims. If you are unable to work due to an illness you do have employee rights.


How do I prove that I am sick?

If you are ill for more than 7 days in a row you will require a note from your GP to confirm you are ‘not fit for work’. A GP may suggest changes which may need to happen and for your employers to discuss with you so you are able to return to work (ie different hours or tasks). Your employer could also give you authority to self-certify your sickness in writing. Some employers provide their own form for this.


Can I be disciplined whilst I am sick?

No, not unless there are pending disciplinary proceedings. Should there be a pending hearing whilst you are not in work, your employer should make every effort to ensure you are present in the hearing. If you have been invited to the hearing but are unable to attend, your employer must try and exhaust every avenue to ensure the matter is dealt with fairly, may it be requesting you to make written submissions or obtaining evidence from your GP regarding your ability to participate in any hearing.


Can an employer dismiss me due to being off sick?

In order to make any claim for unfair dismissal you have had to have worked for your employer for 23 months and 3 weeks (and not be under any prior notice). Generally, if this requirement is not met, your employer can dismiss you with no risk of a claim being pursued by employees (unless you have a disability under the Equality Act)

Your employer must show they have considered your medical condition. This could include them referring you to their on occupational health therapists/ medical experts or even invite you to attend an examination. At an examination an expert would compile a report covering your diagnosis, prognosis period, potential treatment required and a timescale for when you are expected to return to work.

The employer must show that they have taken all necessary and reasonable steps to ascertain your medical position.


What sick pay am I entitled to?

You should always consider your contract of employment which will confirm what your rights are to company sick pay and for how long. Company sick pay is at an employer’s discretion.

You may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, which could be in addition to your company sick pay.

The limit for Statutory Sick Pay is 28 weeks in a 3 year period. The weekly statutory sick pay at present is £92.05 in 2018.


To qualify for SSP you must satisfy the following:

  • Have 4 or more days sickness where you are unable to work;
  • Notify your employer of your absence;
  • Provide evidence of your sickness and inability to work ie self certify or proof from GP;
  • Earn at least £116 before tax per week.


Am I still entitled to holiday pay whilst I’m sick?

Statutory holiday entitlement is accrued whilst an employee is off work sick. Any holiday entitlement not used due to an illness can be carried over into the next year. An employee can request to take their paid holiday for the time they are off work sick if they do not qualify for sick pay. Employers cannot force employees to take annual leave when they are eligible for sick leave.


If you feel that you have been treated unlawfully by your employer and for further advice, please contact Nayyars Solicitors on 0161 491 8520.


Kate Draper



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