Register | Forgotten password?

Job Hunting
In Work
Thinking About Quitting

Resigning while on sick leave

Resigning while on sick leave

I hope someone can offer me some advice

I am currently off sick due to stress and anxiety caused by my job role and have been off so far for six weeks. I am only being paid SSP as company sick pay is only paid out at the company's 'discretion' .

I feel unable to return to my job at this present time - I don't feel capable of carrying out the workload that is expected of me there and I have been advised by the HR Manager that basically if I did come back there wouldn't be any changes to the role! I am in a further discussion with the Regional HR Manager as I don't feel I am getting anywhere fast.

Essentially, my situation has reached crisis point - if I continue on SSP for the next month, I could potentially end up in severe financial straits. I can earn more on either temporary contracts or even stacking shelves at my local supermarket and earn more than my SSP.

I can't afford to return to my current job presently (healthwise) but yet I can't afford not to work full stop - SSP won't pay the bills and basically this whole only being paid SSP situation is compounding my stress.

I want to resign as I have an opportunity to work as a receptionist/admin worker on a temp 6 month basis which would suit me down to the ground - little stress and the ability to pay my bills. However my notice period in my contract is 4 weeks and I wondered if anyone knew if a) if I resigned on medical grounds, can I finish immediately? (I am concerned re breach of contract) and b)if I have give the four weeks - do they have to pay me full pay even though I'm on sick leave?

I would really really appreciate anyone's advice - I feel stuck in limbo with no way out at the moment.Many thanks


11/21/2008 6:04:32 PM

Under section 87 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, you have the legal right to your normal, *full* pay during the period of your *statutory* [not contractual] notice. This may be counter-intuitive especially to your employer but it's clearly the applicable employment law. So is the fact that your contract of employment continues during periods of sickness so your notice normally can apply then too.

Your contractual notice requirement being four weeks, you can normally no problem put this in and 'work' it whilst off sick and your employer would be obliged to pay your full pay for one week of it and presumably the SSP over the other three. But you may have accrued holidays that you could use up during your notice period too, otherwise get paid for them in lieu when you leave. Moreover, you might just invite your employer to pay you your one week in full and to agree to waive the other three.


11/21/2008 6:28:41 PM

Thanks for the advice. Things have progressed since my post. My doctor has signed me off for a further four weeks and given me medication and referred me for counselling.

However I have come to the stark realisation that I feel that it is now just a case of me not being able to do the role they want' essentially, I am not what my manager needs to do that job effectively. I remember my first year and a bit doing the job and not feeling the way I do now. I just can't see how as it all seems to have melded into one big stress ball.

So - I know I can't go back to that particular job or potentially that workplace as things will have changed irrevocably and basically the thought of having to step foot in the place puts the fear of god into me.

I need to work - apart from the 'money' issue - the fact that daytime tv is pretty horrendous is enough! Not feeling useful or having a purpose each day is driving me mad and I have been offered this 6 month contract post and they want me to start next week so I have drafted my resignation letter resigning on medical grounds as it is the only way I can see them letting me finish straightaway.

Do you think it is likely they will accept my resignation with immediate effect? (They have also made some people redundant last week - not that they know that I know that - but that tells me the company is struggling financially)

Thanks again for the advice


11/26/2008 10:41:59 AM

You have my greatest sympathy for the daytime TV problem! I had five months on the sofa after I broke my leg a couple of years ago, and was desperate to get back to work to keep my brain ticking over!

First a practical point. If you are signed off and struggling for money, speak to your local Benefits Agency. They may award you incapacity benefits, which can apply regardless of whether you are in employment. They might also consider the payment of other benefits for rent or bills. But act quickly - I don't know enough about incapacity benefits in particular, but in general the Benefits Agency tends to work slowly and are averse to backdating claims without a very good reason. Also, check the terms of any loan or mortgage cover protection cover that you may have - this will usually kick in if you are signed off sick, regardless of what you are actually receiving from your employer.

Moving on to the issue of accepting your resignation, we can't really do any more than guess at how your employer is going to react to a request to shorten your notice period. If I was presented by a request to go immediately from somebody who was signed off for the rest of their notice period, I would immediately agree, but I'm not the one making the decision. However, given the circumstances of your sickness, and the opportunity you have to start a new job elsewhere in less stressful surroundings, I would hope that an understanding boss/HR Dept would agree. But it really is no more than hope, for all that it makes perfect sense to me.

If they do not agree to let you go immediately then you may have other options that simply sitting at home and waiting for your notice period to expire. We've debated it on the site before, and not always agreed, but the fact that you are signed off from this job does not necessarily stop you from starting another job, so it may be possible to serve your notice period while off sick and also start your new job.

However, you would need to tread carefully, especially if your contract gives your employer the right to approve any other employment that you want to have while working for them. Regardless of this, they may not be very pleased to find you starting another 9-5 job when apparently unfit to work for them. Employers do not have to accept your sick note - it is not a legal document forbidding them from letting you work.

Rather than get too tied down in what may or may not be able to happen, I think it's best to keep your fingers crossed that they will agree to your request to leave immediately, and come back to us if you need any advice if they refuse.

monkey steve

11/26/2008 11:15:41 AM

Thanks for the advice, I truly appreciate it - it is a very confusing issue I know! I hope that they will understand my situation and my reasons. I bear no ill will against them or my manager and I feel the sooner they know my plans it gives them a chance to find the right person for that role and my manager has a PA/administrator working for her that can give her what she needs. I've already done the benefits thing and also waiting to hear back re claims on PPI on my credit card and a loan I have - so fingers crossed! Thanks again.


11/26/2008 11:34:47 AM