Sometimes a quick discussion and a common sense approach is all that may be needed to prevent escalation of an employment dispute and to resolve it.

A client who was signed off work due to stress received a letter from his employers, a sizeable company, advising him that his sick pay, which was effectively his full salary, would stop on a particular date and subsequent payments would amount to only statutory sick pay.  The reason given was that payment of sick pay was at the company’s discretion.  Following his receipt of the letter, the client had approached his employers with a view to persuading them to change the position.  He had no success.

Following a phone call we met the client and it quickly became apparent from what he said that although there was nothing specific in employee contracts on sick pay, the company had actually made a point of advising all its employees that payment of sick pay was not at the company’s discretion and that sick pay would be paid on the basis of full salary.  Questions as to how long it was reasonable in the client’s case for the company to continue paying sick pay on such a basis did not arise in this case as the client had only been off work a very short period of time.

We advised that a letter to the company outlining what seemed to be clearly their position should be sent to the company’s Human Resources Department.  This was done, common sense prevailed and sick pay was paid on a full salary basis.