Share this content

Am I toooo generous??'

Am I too generous in providing staff with up to 10 days paid sick leave per year? Asking around seems to suggest many small practices don't offer any paid sick leave!

We are only a small practice (2 partners and 6 staff)

Anyone like to comment on their own sick leave policy??


Please login or register to join the discussion.

A month of continuous

Hi - when I employed staff, we paid 30 days of continuous sick leave on full then 2 weeks on half, then switched to SSP.  As far as non-continuous was concerned, we had no limit however, if there were lots of odd days and a gap of less than X days between then they were treated as continuous.

Then there's always the fall back of discussing capability with someone who is cleary unwell and unable to do the job.

Thanks (0)



Generosity it is valued by employees, helps moral and  makes the working environment a better place. In turn, this is likely to increase productivity and reduce staff turnover.


It is entirely down to you whether you want to pay sick days. Obviously it is your discretion to decide if these sick days are genuine and not Monday morning hangovers!


My workplace pays sick days in full for up to 30 days (at managers discretion). After that it’s SSP. 

Thanks (0)

Managers discretion - Aaaagggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ..........

mrme89 wrote:

Generosity it is valued by employees, helps moral and  makes the working environment a better place. In turn, this is likely to increase productivity and reduce staff turnover.

It is entirely down to you whether you want to pay sick days. Obviously it is your discretion to decide if these sick days are genuine and not Monday morning hangovers!

My workplace pays sick days in full for up to 30 days (at managers discretion). After that it’s SSP. 


I agree with the above - however I have never understood "managers discretion".  In my opinion, you either have a policy or you do not.

On the flipside, it depends on the individual staff - I previously worked for a company that paid 5 sick days a year and some staff assumed this to be an addition to their holiday entitlement (also the same staff who suffered from (self diagnosed) bird flu, and also have difficulties getting to work in the snow etc.etc.).



Thanks (0)

When I was employed

My employers paid senior staff up to 6 months- the last things an employee wants to worry about is there salary when the are that ill.


10 Days per year doesn't seem that generous to me

Thanks (0)

Small firms tend not to pay.....focuses the mind and stops the Monday hangover illnesses.


Thanks (0)

Just to add we were asked about bringing in paid sick pay, and we suggested that we put the next years pay award into a pool and that would be paid out as sick pay.

When the staff realised that if someone was off sick that it was those others who were at work that would be paying them, the notion was soon dropped. 

Funny how people are always experts at spending other peoples money, yet make a different decision when it's their bizarrre, lol.

Thanks (0)

Offering paid sick leave to a member of staff is a very good perk as compared to there weekly wage SSP will be signifcantly less.

The only thing I would say is that if you have a rule of 10 days paid sick then some staff may think that is an extra 10 days holiday they can have un challenged. (This was a common attitude within local governement etc).

If you only have a small staff team you will know who is genuine and who is not. Single day sickness (always mondays etc) need to monitiored and where I currently work anyone with more than 3 single days is subject to a staff interview. Amazingly enough since that was brought in  very few people go beyond the 3 days.

If it becomes a problem maybe change the 10 day rule to "Paid Sick Leave is paid at Directors descretion"

Then someone who has had an genuine accident and is off for a few weeks you would pay fully whereas the joker who regulalrly misses a monday goes unpaid.

I always think that if you look after your staff well you get that bit extra from them when you need it, but you always have to watch for the one who thinks they can play the system.

We employ over 900 staff so SSP over the year is a huge cost which we cannot recover as we are too big as a company, so managing sickness is a key responsibility of our management team.











Thanks (0)

Thanks for the reply's

I am considering increasing holiday allowance each year by 5 days (to 28) and removing paid sick days entirely so that those members of staff who are sick in the year can utilise the additional holiday to cover their absence and those that are not ill during the year will benefit from extra holiday in the year

Do you think this would work / be fair?



Thanks (0)

I give mine Christmas Day off from noon

Thanks (1)

Why From Noon

bernard michael wrote:

I give mine Christmas Day off from noon


Ha Ha

My company Directors would love you.

Although our staff dont even get Xmas day off.



Thanks (0)

Use Sick Days as Holidays.

The annual holiday allowance should already be 28 days (inclusive of Bank Holidays).

I Think you will fall foul of employment law/tribunal if you force staff to take holidays to cover any sick leave.

You are either sick or on annual leave.

If someone has a planned abscence say to go into hospital for an operation they may choose to use than holidays for this instead of only receiving SSP.

However you would definatly be on a sticky wicket if you forced people to use holidays to cover single/short sickness abscences.



Thanks (0)

Sorry the 28 days excluded the bank holidays!

Thanks (0)

@ B Roberts – With social

@ B Roberts – With social networking and stupid employees adding their employers, it is easy to see comments from 1am on the Monday night along the lines of “had a great night with the lads, going to feel it in the morning”. Therefore, it enables the manager to use his discretion to decide if an employee is taking the biscuit or not. 


@Marmite - Your suggestion of increasing holidays and elimating sick pay seems reasonable to me.

Thanks (0)

Sick leave

I formerly worked in the public sector and had up to six months sick leave on full pay. Some people played the system and abused it. However, it did take away the worry about paying the bills when you aren't well.

Where I currently work, we get 5 days paid sick leave per year, after that it's SSP. In my view this isn't enough as preople frequently try and work whilst ill and end up infecting the rest of the office!!  


Thanks (1)

We do not pay the first two days of any sickness, but then pay up to 20 days per year. Subject to a back to work interview.

Stops the Monday morning blues, but also helps those who are truly ill.


Thanks (0)

SSP only

Up until about ten years ago I used to pay three days per month max. The thing that really annoyed me was when one member of staff would tell another with a cough or cold that they should go home as their illness may be contagious. One member of staff was ill three days each month. I told him I wanted to vary his contract so that he would receive a small pay increase but he would no longer be paid for sickness. He was never sick after that. There was also a lady with cancer who I paid in full (making up the balance in excess of SSP) for three months after she first took time off. (I also had to pay a temp). I was having some financial problems at the time and said that I would have to revert to the three days per month but she became most indignant suggesting that as I had been paying her in full there was now an implied term in her contract that she would be paid in full throughout her illness! I then obtained a report from her consultant confirming that she had a poor prognosis and was unlikely to be able to work again so I was able to sack her. About a year later she died and I have felt ashamed about my action ever since.

Now my seven staff only get SSP. They are rarely away sick. Last year there were only eight days of sick leave taken between them. Two of these I did actually pay as the staff member was sent home by me after turning up half dead with 'flu. They do however get paid well and when I appoint them I make a point of telling them that their salary is above the norm but I do not pay sick pay nor for time off if they can't get in due to snow, poorly kids, etc.



Thanks (0)

Why not flip it around.... if you want to provide a perk

Instead of offering an enhanced sick pay scheme - why not offer a bonus based on "lack of sick days". Rewarding those who turn up faithfully day in day out :)

Thanks (0)

No right or wrong answer

fpurves wrote:

Instead of offering an enhanced sick pay scheme - why not offer a bonus based on "lack of sick days". Rewarding those who turn up faithfully day in day out :)

Unfortunately this may just promote people coming in to work when they should be off sick - eg. somebody with flu coming into work and passing on their germs to their colleagues, thus making the problem much bigger.

Some interesting comments on this thread though - it just goes to show that this is a difficult subject area with no right or wrong approach.




Thanks (0)

The world has gone mad - SICK CULTURE

I expect staff to have zero sick days. 

I have never enjoyed sick days, and have always worked from home, even if feeling too ill to attend the office. 

The employees I want working for me, I expect to be of the same substance. 

I have had some really great staff who would never let the business down, and when personal circumstances have dictated, they have been upset to be letting the business down,  I have been totally supportive and understanding and offered  support and paid them on full salary pay leave them on full pay until reasonable to return to work.

In a small business, we all need to take resposibility for our individual workloads, feeling under the weather, mild colds, periods, late nights and hangovers are not an excuse not to get to the office.

Needless to say I would never suggest 10 days standard sick leave is acceptable, it is absulutely shocking that any one would consider that reasonable or average.

When a staff member is genuinely ill, there is never any doubrt about the seriousness and of course they need full support without fear of not being paid.




Thanks (1)

some good ideas

I like the idea of not paying for the first two days. That really stops the Monday p***takers.

Probably best to avoid paying sick pay at manager's discretion. You could then be seen to unfairly prefer one employee to another instead of treating all staff equally. If you favour one employee, then the others by implication are getting worse terms and conditions. Next stop employment tribunal.

Thanks (0)

suppose it depends on whether

youre Bob Cratchett or Scrooge and to mix my Dickens 'please Sir can i have some more?'

Thanks (0)

its important to help people who are off sick

the corollorary is that employees should be subject to ceratin checks if they are taking excessive time off as it adds to the burden of thos still working

Thanks (0)

Find a mix

I have always worked in industry, often for SME companies with around 200 employees. Having seen different approaches, I think a mix is the best - such as

Maximum of 10 days or three periods of sickness (ie 3 x 2 days would be the maximum, for example)

We have always had exceptions for surgery, and cancer etc. We recently lost a colleague to advanced cancer, after three weeks off sick, with a previous blameless life.

Bear in mind, that an employee will never fully have the mindset of the owner - it is not their business after all.

Personally, I would not work for an employer who only paid SSP, and I only take 0-2 days per year.

Thanks (1)

Us & Them?

From the above comments it does seem as if we still have some of Carnmores' Dickensian attitudes about.

In the same way that you might see "staff" as potential liberty takers you can rest assured they won't think much of you either.

I'm sure tom123 didn't mean to suggest that there is any blame involved in getting cancer but I disagree that, just because one party is the employer and the other the employee, they can not share common values over the wellbeing of the business and the people that work in it, surely doesn't it make sense to engender that approach rather than us & them?

If someone takes time off sick, when they aren't, the first question should be, "why do they prefer doing that to coming in to work?"



Thanks (0)

A view

1.Taking a day off sick if you are not sick is theft and should be treated as such.

2. Every effort should be made by an employer to ensure that a sick employee is valued, they shouldn't have to worry if they are going to be paid or not, and they should be welcomed back when they are fit enough.


Thanks (0)

SSP only

As a small practice ourselves with 8 or so staff our approach is to have SSP as the contracual entitlement.  In practice however we normally end up paying sick days in full on a discretionary basis.  We are fortunate in that our staff are all very good and seldom have time off, but you need to protect yourselves from p*ss takers - especially for a small firm.  The carrot is that we also pay an annual discretionary profit-share bonus which is loosely based on performance, attendance etc,  It seems to me that it is more motivating to have an annual bonus than guaranteed paid sick leave.

Thanks (0)


I pay nothing for the first three days. Thereafter SSP & an insurance policy held in the name of the employee pays about 75% of normal pay for six months. The policy is paid as a additional payment to cover the cost and remitted directly to the insurance co. It varies with each employee as they are different ages & sex, but they pay the tax and NI of this additional payment.

Thanks (0)

Us and Them

I started my career in owner managed firms, where there was no 'us and them', and used to wonder about friends complaining about 'management' in the large corporates they worked for. I had no real concept of these faceless 'higher ups' who took the decisions.

More recently, working for international firms, I have seen the way that hard working and committed employees can be treated by these upper levels of management when it comes to deciding which plants to close.

However, one thing in favour of the larger organisations is that they do have fair policies on sickness. Paul, sometimes it is difficult to explain quite what one feels in print, dont you find? I guess I didn't really manage to express what I meant. Given that the worst happened in our case, I am glad that no one is left feeling a bit uneasy about possibly reducing someones salary for a week or so.

Suffice to say my colleague was well treated during their illness, and the family continued to be treated fairly afterwards.


Thanks (0)

Sick pay is at manager's discretion where I work but to ensure some objectivity in how the discretion is exercised we monitor absences using the Bradford Factor score.  Each employee's score is the number of days absent over a rolling twelve month period multiplied by the square of the number of incidences.  Thus a single bout of sickness lasting three days will score 3 but three "Mondays" will score 27.  Once the score gets above a certain level disciplinary procedures kick in, which may lead to a reduction in sick pay.  We've had very few "Mondays" since this system was introduced.

Thanks (0)


what is your definition of sick? what if an employee is distressed deos that count as 'sick'. i do concur that taking time off becuase they cant be bothered is wrong

Thanks (0)

What is sick?

I guess anything that a doctor would sign off saying you really shouldn't go to work with that.



Broken bones


Am i boring you yet?

What is your definition of distressed? If you mean a form of mental illness of course that counts as sick. If you mean a bit fed up, not 100% (who is?), distracted, or distressed because they have forgotten their partner's birthday then 'no'.

Thanks (0)

my sick pay is nil

because I'm self employed. It does concentrate the mind.

Thanks (0)