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Following on from our Sick Leave Tip on 10th November. This second tip regarding sick leave relates to the Sick Leave Policy.

It is always a good idea to have a sick leave policy which outlines what the employee must do if out sick and what the employer will do. We have put together some suggested elements for inclusion in a sick leave policy. Take the time to check against your own policy or if you are missing some of the elements consider reviewing and updating your policy. It is beneficial to employers to have a robust sick leave policy in place. This applies irrespective of whether or not the employer pays staff while out sick.

Even if you do not pay your employee while on sick leave once they are out more than the designated number of days in your policy [or contract] then a medical certificate is required. It is important that employees submit medical certificates.

Confirm clearly whether or not the employer pays employees while out on sick leave
for the duration of that payment and how the sick pay scheme operates. Confirm the following:

  • Un-certified days and certified days
    • If there is a sick leave payment for either of the above. It not confirm that the employer does not pay employees while absent on sick leave.
  • Confirm any criteria applicable to the sick pay scheme [if you operate one] – such as requirement to ensure sick certificates are submitted as required, non-submission of sick certificates may lead to the withdrawal of payment under the sick pay scheme.
  • The time by which an employee should call to confirm they are out sick?
  • Who they should speak to?
  • Confirmation that text messaging is not acceptable [note this is employers’ choice]
  • Confirmation the employee should call themselves where possible
  • When the employee needs to submit a sick certificate [this is up to the employer to determine i.e. after 2nd day or 3rd day of absence]
  • How frequently the sick certificate should be submitted – weekly/monthly?
  • Employers may request medical certs to be submitted weekly and in the event of a longer absence this can move to monthly.
  • Employer reserving right to refer employee to the employer’s medical adviser which could be either a GP or an Occupational Medical Adviser
  • The right to refer to the employer’s medical adviser can be based on ongoing absence from work, patterns of absence from work or where the employer may have a concern for the health and well-being of the employee. This should be included in the policy.
  • Requirements going from sick leave to annual leave
  • Accrual of annual leave while on long term certified sick leave
  • Allowing annual leave to be taken at a later date if employee is sick while on annual leave and provides a sick certificate to the employer.