12-month rolling company sick pay scheme

Here is a interesting question that i found on another forum, and there seems to be no definative answer. Please let me know your views !

What is the correct calculation of contractual sick pay in these scenarios

Scenario 1: An employee is off for 8 weeks from 1st January so is paid 4 week full pay 4 weeks half pay.  They return to work then go off sick again for 4 weeks the 2nd week of the following January.

Are they:

A - paid 4 weeks full pay (because, at the start of the 2nd period of sickness, in the prior 12 months they have had 4 weeks half pay and 3 weeks full pay, and each week a full pay drops off  from 12 months ago - so they get the 4 weeks full pay again)

B - paid 4 weeks half pay (because they have had 7 weeks off in he last 12 months so they are at a half pay week i.e week 8 of 8, and they will be at week 8 of 8 for the full 4 weeks, because weeks will keep dropping off at the other end)

C - something else

Scenario 2: An employee is off for 60 weeks continuously Jan 1st onwards (and we assume they're not sacked).  In week 2 of the following January...

A - they get nothing because it's one perod of sickness

B - They go back into benefit at full pay for 4 weeks then half pay for 4 weeks,  because every week that goes by, 1 week of drops off from 12 months ago - the first weeks to drop off are the full pay ones, then the half pay ones

C - They go back into benefit but at half pay because they have had 7 weeks off in the last 12 months so it is calculated that this new 8th week of sick is at half pay - because the policy says weeks 5 to 8 are half pay.  This half pay would continue for 8 weeks (as each week a prior paid week drops off from 12 months ago so they have only had 7 weeks pay as each new week start), After 8 weeks,  they will have had 8 weeks in the last 12 months so sick pay is exhausted.

D - something else

  • Hi Jo

    These things are down to the rules of the individual sick pay scheme. However, having worked with a number over the years, in my experience the entitlement is usually calculated on the first day of the absence and that is what is paid, no matter how long the absence lasts. You don't recalculate again at the start of each week. Therefore, the person who has already had 7 weeks absence in the previous 12 months will only have 1 week at full pay, however long they are off sick. Most policies that I have seen will explicitly say the entitlement is worked out by looking at the 2 months from the first day of sickness, not the first day, then the next week, then the next week etc.
  • In reply to Elizabeth:

    Thanks for your comment Elizabeth,
    I am in agreement with what you say, but is there a arguement to say because this is specified as rolling (therefore ever changing) and also we have defined a time period (12 months) that this could be challanged!
  • In reply to Elizabeth:

    Hi and welcome Jo!

    A 12 month rolling entitlement invariably is variable depending on cumulative absence over the 52 weeks immediately preceding each episode of absence but once determined at that point becomes the fixed sick pay entitlement applicable to that particular episode of absence, however long it lasts.

    For any other method of calculation to apply, IMHO it would need to be fully spelled out in t & c - otherwise the above represents usual payroll practice.

    As Omar Khayyam famously put it:

    “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
  • In reply to David:

    Very apt!
  • In reply to David:

    Well, it could hypothetically be challenged, Jo, but the way of calculating it which I tried to outline above is very much usual / standard practice, so that way ought to apply by default.
  • In reply to Jo:

    In answer to your point about it being open to challenge, that is why you specify that the calculation is carried out on day 1 of the absence. TBH, if a policy is ambiguous, it deserves to be challenged.

    There is an art to writing clear and explicit English. It helps me to call to mind a particular lone worker who is based at the other end of the country to me looking at a policy by himself out of office hours when he can't phone up and ask for help. When I'm sending out any form of mass communication, I take considerable pains to use simple, direct, clear language that won't puzzle him.