How Many Sick Days Are Considered Legally Acceptable?

All employees are allowed to legally take sick days. However, you might wonder how many sick days are legally acceptable. While looking at this, you should also consider how proof needs to be provided for these sick days. As always, seek legal advice whenever needed from a trusted law firm.

How Many Days Can You Legally Take?

There are no laws or regulations which dictate the number of days that someone can take as sick leave. This lack of regulation does create a problem for business owners as there are no guidelines for this. However, there are some considerations that should be taken into account.

The primary consideration is whether or not there is a pattern regarding sick days. An example of this will be an employee who takes 5 days of sick leave and then takes the same amount of time the next month and the month after this. This creates a pattern of abuse of the sick day system and will need to be investigated by the employer.

Proof of Sickness

While there are no regulations regarding the number of sick days which can be taken, if an employee is off for more than 7 days, they do have to provide proof. The 7-day limit will include non-working days such as bank holidays and weekends. Generally, employees will need to get a fit note from their GP or hospital.

It is up to the company whether they accept a similar document from a podiatrist, occupational therapist or alternative healer. The fit note is free for employees that have been ill for 7 days. A copy of the note can be taken by the employer, but the original must be retained by the employee.

off sickIf the employee is absent from work for less than 7 days, they can provide self-certification. This requires the employee to confirm they were off sick when they return. The process for this will need to be outlined in the policy documents the company has.

Long-Term Sickness

If an employee is off work for more than 4 weeks, they are considered long-term sick. In the case of long-term sickness, a proof will generally need to be provided. It is possible for employers to dismiss long-term sick employees, but if this is deemed unfair the employee can take their case to an employment tribunal.

There are no laws or regulations regarding the number of sick days an employee can take. However, if they are absent for more than 7 days, they will have to provide proof of sickness.

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