What is occupational sick pay?

Your employer can decide to pay occupational sick pay, basing your earnings whilst off sick on some or all of your normal earnings. Your entitlement will depend on rules drawn up by your employer. Occupational sick pay usually starts after a minimum period of service, for example, three months' service. Occupational sick pay is a matter for contractual terms and conditions. Once you qualify, employers usually provide full pay for a set number of weeks, which may be followed by a period of half pay.

Rules to look out for in your employer's scheme include:

  • definitions of qualifying workers: some employers operate different schemes for white collar/management grades and manual workers;
  • how much service you need to be entitled;
  • rules on reporting sick on the first day;
  • what happens if you are taken ill on holiday;
  • what happens when sick pay runs out; and
  • exclusions from sick pay. Check your scheme for rules excluding you from sick pay on such grounds as: injuries occurring while engaged in professional sports; injury while working for private gain for another person; and ‘deliberate behaviour’ that is harmful to your recovery.