Understanding Sick Leave

 Understanding Sick Leave

How many days of sick leave have I got? 

Parliament has recently increased sick leave entitlements for employees to from 5 to 10 days’ per year. This means that from 25 July 2021, all employees – regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time – will be entitled to 10 days’ sick leave (since there is no provision to pro-rata this amount down for part-time employees). 


When can I use sick leave? 

Sick leave can be used when an employee or their partner is unwell or injured, or when someone who depends on them for care is unwell or injured. 


When can I start using my sick leave? 

Employees are entitled to sick leave once they have worked with the same employer for six months. This includes employees who have worked continuously during those six months as well as those staff who haven’t worked every week, but have worked an average of 10+ hours per week, including at least one hour a week or 40 hours a month, in the previous 6 months. Looking ahead, the government anticipates introducing legislation next year to give employees access to sick leave from their first day of employment, rather than after 6 months – watch this space! 


Does my sick leave expire? 

An employee will now be only able to carry over 10 days’ of sick leave entitlement each year (not 15, as before) to mean that an employee’s maximum entitlement to sick leave stays at 20 days. 


Recap of the 25 July changes: 

  • New employees will receive 10 days entitlement as soon as they become entitled to sick leave; and 
  • Existing employees will become entitled to 10 days’ sick leave on their next entitlement date (an employee’s entitlement date is usually 6 months after they started working for their employer, and then every 12 months after that). 
  • Employees can only carry over 10 days of sick leave each year (so as to keep the maximum amount of sick leave an employee can be carrying at 20 days). 


If you have any questions or queries in relation to understanding sick leave, please get in touch with the Watermark team directly. We are happy to advise you.

Geraldine Crudge