Many written Contracts of Employment provide for the payment of sick pay and it is these contractual terms that the employer is obliged to follow.

If the Contract is silent, most employees are entitled to be paid Statutory Sick Pay.

There are exceptions, which include the extremely low paid, who do not earn enough to pay National Insurance Contributions or pregnant women. The rate of Statutory Sick Pay is £81.60 per week. It is not payable for the first three days of any illness. Statutory sick pay entitlement lasts for up to 28 weeks.

If an employee does not qualify for statutory sick pay he/she may still qualify for sickness benefit from the DSS.

Statutory sick pay will be paid by the employer and reclaimed from the state. Statutory sick pay is payable at a weekly rate divided by the number of qualifying days in that week. The qualifying days usually follow the normal pattern of working days, for example Monday to Friday. The qualifying days can, however, be less, but there must be at least one qualifying day per week.

Note: employee’s on long term sick are still entitled to 4 weeks holiday under the Working Time Regulations even though they have exceeded their entitlement to contractual pay.