Working whilst on sick leave

Mon 15th Jan 2018

With cold and flu season well underway in the UK, employers are likely to be anxious about the number of sickness absences and may already be thinking about ways in which to minimise the risk of ill-health and the spreading of germs.

Many employers provide free flu vaccinations for their employees in the hope that a minimal outlay will reduce the number of sickness absences in the office.

Indeed some employers pay for cleaning companies to disinfect the office so as to minimise the risk of germs and infections spreading.

Whilst these approaches do have their benefits, they do not safeguard against every illness and sickness absence is inevitable.

However, despite the fact that sickness and ill-health renders us often incapacitated and sometimes even bedbound, more and more employees are continuing to work whilst off sick.

A recent study has found that two fifths of employees end up working from home even though they have called in sick. This new trend is seeing employees check their emails from home, speak to colleagues and generally succumb to the pressures of working life, responsibilities and deadlines.

Whilst this is undoubtedly commendable, if employees are not taking the time to properly recover and convalesce, their period of recovery is likely to be prolonged which no doubt will be detrimental to the business.

Moreover, if staff feel pressured into working whilst they are off sick this could lead to potential claims of constructive unfair dismissal, disability discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments.

Lastly, feeling pressured into working whilst off sick is likely to affect staff morale and retention. 


If you would like more information or advice relating to this article or an Employment law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Cook on 01727 798098.

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