Dismissal for Sickness Absence

When you are off work ill, concerns about your job and money can be difficult to deal with. We can help you understand your rights.


Employees are entitled to take time off work when they are ill. A number of statutory rights relating to sickness absence apply for qualifying employees, and many employees also benefit from additional, enhanced support under their contract or company sickness policy.

Your employer’s support during sickness absence can make a huge difference in your recovery, enabling a quicker return to work.

Issues can arise in instances of persistent or long-term illness, making it difficult for you to do your job and for your employer to operate without disruption.

In such cases, your employer may be able to take disciplinary action against you, which could lead to dismissal. Your employer must however follow a fair and consistent disciplinary process or you may have a claim for unfair dismissal.

What you need to know about sickness absence

Disputes can often arise where the employee is not receiving their full statutory or contractual entitlement or in cases of long-term absence, requiring legal advice to ensure an understanding of your rights and legal options.

Under company sick pay, your employer has the discretion to set the terms within your employment contract, but these must be applied fairly and consistently or risk claims for discrimination.

You also have to ensure you are meeting your duties in order to qualify for your entitlements and to avoid potential disciplinary grounds. 

We can help

We can help with issues relating to sickness absence.

We provide guidance and support to employees concerned about sick pay, whether your employer has failed to pay you the appropriate amount of sick pay through unauthorised deduction of wages or they have breached the terms of your employment contract.

We can advise on how much your full entitlement should be and provide guidance on options to rectify any issues, which could include discussing the issue informally with your employer, raising a formal grievance, appealing an internal decision or potentially taking your employer to an employment tribunal where you have a claim.

Your employer should operate a sickness policy which sets out expectations and obligations for both you and the employer in relation to illness and absence. We can provide expert advice on whether your employer has failed in their obligations, and what you can do to enforce your rights.

We have specific experience in complex issues relating to sickness absence, including disability-related sickness absence and issues of disability discrimination under the Equality Act and scenarios where your ill health may have been caused by your employer’s actions.

To find out more about our destination services, speak to our specialists.


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