Kate Brooks
Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services
Make an enquiry
Date Published:03 Feb 2020 Last Updated:21 Jul 2021

National Sickie Day – Should you really come in if you have a cough or cold?

Employment Law Advice

The dilemma is that you feel ok, and can do some work, but do not want to infect your colleagues.

Particular consideration should be given if you are working close to people with low immune systems. If you have a colleague who is for example a carer, pregnant or suffering with a low immune system, it would be sensible for the employer to carry out a risk assessment and educate staff about being wary of germs.

If you are unsure about going to work, the ideal is to have ability to work from home.

Employers should carefully monitor reasons for staff absences. If there is a particular trend e.g. lots of singular days off for coughs and colds, employers could take steps to reduce the spread of germs for example by having anti-bacterial gel available, ensuring desks and shared areas are clean, and posters reminding staff about infection and cleanliness.

An employer cannot sack you for having a day off with a cold. Employers should have robust and written policies in place to manage sickness absence. I advise employers to operate a policy under which it has triggers depending on the level of absence. If an employee has taken too many sick days, the employer is obliged to meet with the employee to discuss the reasons for the absence and to ask for improvement before moving towards a dismissal.

If you have any queries in relation to this please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Employment Lawyers on 01202 525333 for further advice.