Medical suspension from work

By law, medical suspension is when an employer tells an employee to stop working because there are health and safety issues working with:

  • dangerous chemicals
  • lead
  • radiation

For example, if someone has been exposed to high levels of lead and has to temporarily stop work to protect their health.

Before using medical suspension, the employer should consider:

  • making temporary or permanent changes at work
  • offering the employee suitable alternative work – with the same pay and terms and conditions

If it's not possible to make any adjustments, the employer might need to suspend the employee until it's safe for them to return to work.

Pay during medical suspension

An employer must pay an employee their usual pay (including bonuses) during medical suspension for up to 26 weeks, as long as they've been employed for a month or more.

By law, an employee is not entitled to pay if they:

  • are not available when needed for suitable alternative work
  • refuse other suitable work from the employer without a good reason
  • are an independent contractor

Other types of medical suspension

If medical suspension does not relate to working with dangerous chemicals, lead or radiation, these rules do not apply.

You can find advice on suspension during pregnancy in our maternity advice:

For more advice on any type of medical suspension contact the Acas helpline.

Last reviewed