- Changes to rules on Sick Pay
Changes to rules on Sick Pay
Changes to rules on Sick Pay21st December 2021 - Published by Kuits Employment team
As you may have seen, at the end of last week the Government quietly slipped in a change to the rules on when employees need to produce a Fit Note in order to be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You can find the legislation making the change here.
Most of the commentary on this has focussed on that from 17 December 2021 until 26 January 2022 employees can self-certify for SSP purposes for up to 28 days. However, as with all employment law the devil is in the detail and the key points, in addition to the self-certification period of 28 days, are:
- This only applies to employees who start a period of sickness absence from 11 December 2021 until 26 January 2022. Employees who were off sick before 11 December or who go off sick from 27 January 2022 will be subject to the ‘old’ rules. This means employers need to carefully record when the employee first went off sick to ensure the right rules are being applied
- It effects SSP only. Any enhanced contractual or discretionary sick pay for which there may be a requirement to provide a Fit Note after seven days absence or, in some cases, sooner is not affected and employers can continue to enforce those contractual requirements
- This does not stop an employer from managing sickness absence.
The rational for the change is that this will free up GPs to concentrate on the COVID-19 booster roll out. Given this, employers who seek to enforce their contractual right to withhold enhanced sick pay in the absence of a Fit Note may well face complaints from employees who simply cannot get them or do not wish to burden their GP, and potentially negative publicity, particularly on social media. As against this, some employers will feel rightly aggrieved if they perceive employees, particularly those with previous poor attendance histories, are taking advantage of the situation.
If you are thinking of withholding enhanced sick pay in these circumstances take advice before doing so.