It’s a common phrase that “no job is a safe job” and that’s true for a variety of reasons. It’s not just your performance that can lead to you losing your job.
Sickness is a common reason for leaving a job and it’s a reason that many businesses can dismiss you without fear of breaking any laws. In the UK it’s the same, but by respecting their rights you can make sure you get the best out of someone returning from sick leave.
A company dismisses many people for taking long periods of sick leave. So how long can you be away from work before being dismissed?
Well, the simple answer is it depends on the employer. There are no set guidelines, no set limitations, so it comes down to the discretion of the employer.
How Does Sick Leave Affect The Company?
Sick leave has a major impact on a company, especially when there is more involved than an employee going home for a day or two.
There is the cost of paying wages while the employee is ill, and then there is the cost of hiring and training a new employee to cover that person’s absence after they return from their leave.
Sick leave can also result in poor business service, reduced work quality, and decreased productivity. These negatively affect the company.
How Does A Sick Leave Affect You?
As an employee, taking sick leave is beneficial because it means you are not working while you are ill, which gives your body time to recover.
When you are at home resting instead of at work, you can lower your stress level and relax so that when you return to work, your body is refreshed and healthy.
That being said, taking too much time off work can harm your mental health because it makes you feel guilty about staying home when your co-workers are at their jobs.
Businesses should be more flexible with sick leave. By making sure that their employees are mentally healthy, they can increase their performance and reduce business account costs.
Being on sick leave can be difficult for some people because they don’t want to come back to work. They might fear getting judged or that their job won’t even exist anymore, so it might seem better just to stay on leave.
But there are many benefits to staying away from work, both internally and externally. Ensure you are taking proper time off so you don’t end up like those who do what’s best for them without considering what’s best for the company.
The Tricky Issue Of Sick Leave And Dismissal
Any company in the UK cannot dismiss an employee for being on sick leave. That does not mean that an employer will ignore it.
An employer may ask for medical certificates stating what is wrong with the employee and how long they should be absent. The employee can require time off to be used for illness or injury.
However, an employer may dismiss the employee if they cannot give evidence of sickness or injury. For example, if the employee is close to being able to return, the employer could still dismiss them if he believes that they could have already done their job if it were not for their absence.
Law should protect employees who take a medical leave of absence. We should not base employee dismissal on the time taken off work.
When an employer dismisses the employee, it is because they are not meeting what the employer needs for them to do or are doing something wrong. That does not apply when you are on sick leave, which means the employer cannot dismiss you for being sick.
How Much Sick Leave Can You Take?
There are no solid guidelines that give you the right to be absent for a certain amount of time before dismissal or that govern how much notice your employer must give when dismissing you.
There is no set amount of time in place for sick leave. That depends on the individual and their employer. It also depends on whether an agency or a company is directly employing you.
There are some laws though which can protect employees from being unfairly dismissed for taking too much time off work. If you feel like your employer has dismissed you because of your extended period of work, then you should seek legal advice, depending on the situation and how severe it is.
Your employer may not be aware of these laws and may not detect if they have unfairly dismissed someone without seeking legal advice first.
Laws will protect you if you can prove that your employer has treated you unfairly for this reason. There are many legitimate reasons for employers who want to dismiss someone over this issue.
What Is Gross Misconduct?
Many employers will include a clause in their contracts stating that any time off taken for sickness, injury, or compassionate reasons will not count toward the notice period if the employee gets dismissed.
Some employers will even state that taking any time off work can lead to dismissal. However, you still have legal protection against dismissal under these clauses. Such clauses are only enforceable if they are reasonable clauses within your contract.
A reasonable clause will protect the employee, but the employer can do what is reasonable. The best way to find out what is reasonable is to ask your employer if they have ever used it before.
Employers often face the tough decision of terminating the employment of an employee who is on sick leave for too long. Most dismissals are unfair dismissals, so employers have to tread carefully.
There are some companies that will fire you after your first day of sick leave. Make sure that you are familiar with your company’s policy regarding sick leave when they hire you.
Having to take sick leave can be stressful. If you’re on sick leave for a long time, there’s the possibility that you may get fired. If you need to be off work, talk to your employer and your doctor.