According to a January 2013 government press release, long-term sickness costs employers £160m annually in statutory sick pay, and close to a billion in lost productivity. Consecutive governments have struggled to balance protecting the welfare of those with long-term illnesses with helping employers who are unable to take on a replacement.
As far as statutory sick pay is concerned, there is a definitive cut-off point, 28 weeks of absence, after which the employer’s obligation to pay the minimum amount of £86.70 a week stops.
However, the whole subject is wrapped up in matters of emotion and compassion that can blur the stark minimum obligations, especially when the employer has given long service to the company.
Also, sickness might be long-term but not continuous, with some employees able to work some times and not others.
As with any such matter, communication is the key to finding a mutually beneficial arrangement. It might be possible to renegotiate contracts, change hours or tasks, or shift some of the work to home working. But when such actions are carried out, it’s important that both parties do so with the best possible representation to avoid potential legal mires in the future.
Peninsula Business Services can provide advice and assistance on any aspect of long-term sickness. Contact us today – call 0800 0282 420, or use our callback form to arrange for us to get in touch at a time that is convenient for you.