Know your rights to sick pay

Citizen’s Advice issued a statement in February, saying that some employers are tricking their employees out of sick pay.


The most common tactics they see are:

  • The cancelling of shifts after an employee has called in sick, so that it looks as if they weren’t meant to be working and therefore no wages appear to have been lost
  • Reducing hours or wages so that employees don’t meet the threshold to qualify for sick pay
  • Refusing to accept that people can self-certify for up to seven days
  • Refusing to fill in an HMRC sick pay form
  • Sacking people rather than paying them sick pay


People on low wages, part-time contracts and those who work through agencies or on zero-hours contracts are often most at risk.


Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said:


“Sick pay is a basic right which many workers are entitled to.  Although some employers make genuine mistakes working out whether workers are eligible, others are trying to confuse people about their rights so they can get away with not paying up.


“Getting paid time off to recover from illness is not only important for people’s health, but also prevents them from being left with a hole in their finances that they can struggle to recover from.


“If you think you’re owed sick pay but your employer won’t pay, contact Citizens Advice for help.”


You are entitled to sick pay if you normally earn more than £112 per week.

* since time of writing this has now gone up to £113 per week


It is paid to people who are off sick for more than four days in a row, unless you’ve been off sick in the last eight weeks, in which case it’s paid from the first day off.


And you should follow your employer’s rules about reporting sickness absence.


Have a look at Citizen’s Advice website for more information or talk to your human resources or union representative.


Citizen’s Advice website, section on sick pay


First published in Widows and Widowers magazine, Issue 14

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