A colleague of mine has been forced to take some time off due to illness. They've been signed off by the doctor, it was not appropriate to work (we're talking about a matter of weeks - not months or anything like that).

Throughout the period they've been in contact with their manager multiple times, and he has assured him that they should stay at home and assured them that they will be entitled to full sick pay. Unfortunately my friend has nothing in writing.

Having returned to work my colleague has discovered that they he will only be paid for a small proportion of his time off. Needless to say he's terrified how he's going to pay his mortgage!

We're based in London, what steps can my friend take? He feels like he's been fed incorrect information and is now in real financial trouble because of it.

  • Was it the same manager who first told him he'd be entitled to full sick pay, and then told him when he got back that actually he would not be? Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 15:53
  • As an aside, anyone with a mortgage ought to have an emergency fund, so that losing a few weeks' pay will not make them "terrified" about how to make the mortgage payments! Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 15:54
  • In the US we have short-term/long-term disability. The payouts probably vary by employer (for all I know) but typically if you are gone for more than 5 working days then disability kicks in. After that then usually you are covered and get paid 60% of your base pay. So, you get paid but not your entire salary. This assumes you have no sick/vacation-time that you can apply which would give you full pay. However, I'm sure the UK is quite different but it is likely that you wouldn't get your full pay there either. BTW, You aren't covered that first 5 days. So if you have no vacation/sick-time:(
    – Dunk
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 22:21
  • @Dunk this does vary a lot by employer in the US. Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 22:44
  • @Purple:Well, I've had 5 employers, in the software field and they were all the same. But I did put in the sentence that it could vary by employer (for all I know). I was just giving an example to work from that kind of corroborates the OP friend's result. I know it doesn't apply directly to the OP question, but at the same time it points out that it is likely that you wouldn't receive full pay and you may not get paid for the entire time you were gone unless you use some sick/vacation time.
    – Dunk
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 22:54

2 Answers 2


I think the first important thing to do in this situation is for your colleague to look at his copy of the contract and closely examine what it says with regards to sick leave and sick pay.

It's also worth researching the UK employment law on such matters. Some information can be found here and here (The section how to claim, "If you're unhappy with a decision" may be of particular interest).

Given that there is no written evidence of the promises they were made it's worth considering what other possible proof is available - is there any chance that the conversations were overheard or perhaps even recorded?


According to the Law, You can get £87.55 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

You need to qualify for SSP and have been off work sick for 4 or more days in a row (including non-working days).

You can’t get less than the statutory amount. You can get more if your company has a sick pay scheme (or ‘occupational scheme’) - check the employment contract.

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