Law guide: Employment

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Sickness absence

Sickness absence

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When dealing with the management of absence due to sickness and ill-health, employers have to balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the organisation and consider the requirements of employment law. This section outlines the development of a company self-certification system and details the delivery of Statutory Sick Pay.

Model sickness absence and self-certification rules

GPs are not obliged to provide their patients with medical statements for illnesses of seven days or less. A company self-certification system can therefore be an effective method of controlling sickness absence. It also assists in the maintenance of accurate sickness records, which all employers are required to keep for Statutory Sick Pay purposes.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Employers are responsible for paying up to 28 weeks SSP to employees for any 'linked' periods where they are unable to work. If an employee is sick and away from work on two or more occasions within a 56 day (8 week) period, then each period of absence is 'linked' and regarded as a single period of entitlement for the purposes of SSP. This means that the maximum payment of 28 weeks of SSP will be gradually used.

For example, if an employee is off sick for a period or 4 weeks and then is off sick again within 56 days from returning to work, he will have 24 weeks SSP left.

If an employee is off sick after more than 56 days since his last period of absence due to sickness or injury, then this will be treated as a 'non-linked' period of absence and the period of entitlement will be 're-set' to 28 weeks.

This section outlines the main features of the scheme.

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