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Millions of sick Brits turning up to work despite ill health - your rights to sick pay explained

Mirror logo Mirror 16/05/2017 Alan Jones

"I can still make it in" (Photo: Getty) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc "I can still make it in" (Photo: Getty) Most people have gone to work when they were ill, showing they were much more likely to struggle in rather than pull a sickie, according to new research.

Seven out of 10 employees in private firms have turned up in the office while unwell when they should have taken the day off, said a report by insurance firm Aviva.

In contrast, less than a quarter say they have taken a day off work sick when they were not actually unwell.

More than two in five of 2,000 employees questioned said their employer puts the results of the company ahead of their health and wellbeing.

Why we do it

Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Many of those surveyed said they feared work would pile up if they were off sick. People are likely to be less productive if they go to work unwell, said Aviva.

Aviva UK Health medical director Dr Doug Wright said: "While every business wants the right level of resource in place, having employees who are unwell at work is a false economy.

"Businesses need to ensure they create a working culture whereby people do not feel pressurised into coming to work when they are unwell, safe in the knowledge their absence can be effectively managed.

"Presenteeism, driven in part by an increased 'always-on' culture, poses a genuine threat to overall business performance through the adverse impact on productivity and morale in the workplace."

Your rights about turning up to work sick

Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Sadly, while your holiday rights are strongly protected, sick pay is much more at the discretion of the firm.

Many workers don't receive automatic sick days from their employer for months after joining a company, while others are entirely forced to rely on state sick pay.

Workers are, however, all legally entitled to statutory sick pay for up to 28 weeks - this is currently £89.35 a week.

Statutory sick pay doesn't begin until the fourth day you're off sick, so you might not get paid anything for the first three days - but once you qualify it's paid by your employer in the same way that you normally get paid.

You don’t have to be a full time employee to get statutory sick pay. You can also get it if you’re on a fixed term contract, work part-time, work through an agency or on a zero-hours contract.

You qualify if:

  • You normally earn more than £113 a week.

  • You’re sick for more than four days in a row, including non-working days. You’ll get sick pay from the fourth working day of your illness, unless you've been off sick in the last eight weeks - then you’ll get paid from the first working day.

  • You follow your employer’s’ rules about reporting sickness absence. Most employers ask you to provide a sick note if you’re off sick for more than seven days for example. If there aren't any rules, make sure you call in sick as soon as you need to take time off work, and ask if there’s anything else you need to do to record your sickness.

If your boss says you're not entitled to sick pay - but you feel you are - ask them to fill in the government sick pay form explaining their reasons.

Once you’ve got it, contact HMRC. They will ask you about your circumstances and make a decision about whether you are owed sick pay or not.

If HMRC decide that you are owed sick pay, your employer will be ordered to pay up. If they still refuse, contact the ACAS early conciliation service who will negotiate with your employer.

HMRC employees’ enquiry line is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm:

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3500
  • Textphone: 0300 200 3212

Calls can cost up to 12p a minute from landlines and between 3p and 45p a minute from mobiles.

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