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The sickly feeling with not knowing what to expect if ill during your notice period

Published 24 May 2022

Any of us can fall ill at any time and if you are off work sick during your notice period does it change things?

Your notice period will determine the amount of time you have to work once you resign, are dismissed or made redundant [1 cited 24.5.22]. It can vary from anything from one week up to a few months.

You should receive full pay if you work during your notice period, and it should also include any work benefits, such as pension contributions or free meals.

But our health is unpredictable, and any of us can become unwell and unable to work for any number of reasons e.g. as a result of a sudden illness or accident.

It can happen during your notice period, and if you are sick and cannot attend work during that time it can create some confusion.

The normal rules on providing evidence of any illness during your notice period will still apply. It is important that you adhere to them.

If you are off work sick for seven days or less, your employer should not ask for medical evidence that you have been ill [2 cited 24.5.22]  Instead they can ask you to confirm that you have been ill. You can do this by filling in a form yourself when you return to work. This is called self-certification.

Failing to follow the normal rules for reporting an illness during your notice period could result in disciplinary action being taken against you. You can still be dismissed before the end of your notice period.

Being off work ill at any time can affect your pay, so it is important to establish if your notice period is contractual or statutory.

Should you resign, your employment contract will state how much notice you have to give to your employer [3 cited 24.5.22]. This is your contractual notice period.

So, if you opt to quit your role you should check your employment contract to establish the length of your required notice period.

If on the other hand you are dismissed or made redundant, you should get at least the legal minimum notice period, which is known as the statutory notice period [4 cited 24.5.22]

If you have worked for an employer for:

  • One month to two years – statutory notice is one week
  • Two to 12 years – statutory notice is one week for each full year you have worked
  • 12 years or more – statutory notice is 12 weeks.

So, if you are off sick during your notice period your pay can be affected depending on the length of your notice period and whether it is contractual or statutory.

Your contractual notice period can be longer than the statutory notice period.

In accordance with the Employments Right Act, if your notice period is a week or less above the statutory notice period, then you will be entitled to receive full pay throughout your notice period, despite being absent due to sickness or injury [5 cited 24.5.22]

What you will be paid will be affected if your notice period is over a week above the statutory minimum notice period. You will only be entitled to receive your normal contractual sick pay or Statutory Sick Pay [6 cited 24.5.22]

If you believe you have not been paid what you should have received while off ill during your notice period, you should raise it with your employer as soon as possible.

It is always best if you can resolve or settle any employment-related dispute without need for any formal action.

However, if you find yourself in a position where such a situation cannot be resolved then you may need to seek advice on how best to deal with it.


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