Self-Inflicted Injuries

George Heron

George Heron

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Phone 01952 566918

25 May 2016

It is an inevitable fact that, from time to time, your employees will have periods of sickness absence (some more than others). Many of these are completely unavoidable and there is nothing the employee can do to prevent them. However, if an employee enjoys playing sports – particularly high risk activities such as skiing – an absence due to a sports injury can be particularly frustrating for an employer.

So… in this kind of situation, is the employer still obligated to pay sick pay when the absence can be said to be ‘self-inflicted’? The answer is dependent upon what is in your contracts of employment.

Where an employee’s contract entitles them to contractual sick pay, your ability to restrict payment depends upon what exclusions you have specified. It is actually possible for such a clause to exclude any payment for absence due to injuries sustained during leisure pursuits. Alternatively, a contractual sick pay clause can state that any payment is at the discretion of the Company. Where this is the case, you must look back at previous cases to ensure you are acting consistently.

Where there is no contractual enhancement to sick pay, the situation is a lot more simple. If the employee would ordinarily receive SSP, they are still entitled to receive it. The actual cause of the incapacity is not relevant.

At Alpha, we have a vast experience in providing bespoke, practical advice on HR and employment law issues. This includes the preparation of contracts of employment that ensure the needs of our clients are met at every stage. We are proud of our commercial outlook and do not sit on the fence. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.


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