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Operations

Zero hours contract: sick pay and entitlement

Melissa Jones  |  08 June, 2017

Around 2.9% of the UK workforce, are currently on a zero hour contract, meaning many businesses are employing people without any guarantee of payable work. They are only called into work as and when they are needed – often at short notice. However, there is a common misconception that, because workers on zero hour contracts are not entitled to hours of work, they have no statutory rights. This is not the case.

Are staff on zero hours contracts entitled to sick pay?

Workers on a zero hours contract are entitled to statutory sick pay providing they have earnt in excess of the Lower Earnings Limit, which is £112 per week, (for 2016-2017) from one employer. Whilst many zero hours contract workers may not reach this threshold due to the ad hoc nature of work being offered, those that do are entitled to receive sick pay. It should be emphasised that if a zero hours contract worker relies on more than one job to reach the Lower Earnings Limit they will not be entitled sick pay as it must be reached from the earnings from one employer.

Related: Zero hours contracts: holiday pay and entitlement

What is zero hours contract sick pay and entitlement?

Providing a zero hours contract worker has reached the Lower Earnings Limit, they will be entitled to statutory sick pay the same as any other worker. In order to receive statutory sick pay an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • be sick for 4 full days or more in a row (including non-working days)
  • not be in one of the ineligible categories
  • follow their employer’s policy for getting sick pay

Employees receiving statutory sick pay are entitled to £89.35 a week for up to 28 weeks. An employer may pay more than this, but they will not be able to pay less. It is advised that terms surrounding sick pay are written in an employees’ contract, this is called contractual sick pay.

If an employer feels that the employee is not entitled to statutory sick pay they must provide their reasons for denying sick pay in writing. 

guide to zero hours contracts

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