Sending someone home due to sickness - Sick leave

Sending someone home due to sickness

If an employer feels an employee is not well enough to work, they can send them home or tell them not to work.

If the employee agrees

If the employee agrees they're too sick to work, this time off is likely to count as sick leave. They should get any sick pay they're entitled to.

If the employee thinks they're well enough to work

If the employee feels they are well enough to work, they should make this clear to their employer.

Their employer might still insist that they should not work. In this case, the time off should not be counted as sick leave.

As the employer has made the decision for their employee not to work, they should pay them their usual pay.


If an employee continues to work when they're unwell, this might suggest there's a problem with 'presenteeism' at their organisation.

Presenteeism is when staff continue to attend work even though they're sick. It has become more common with more people working from home.

Presenteeism can have a negative impact on staff morale and productivity. It can also mean employees take longer to recover from illness.

To reduce presenteeism, employers should:

  • have a consistent policy on sickness absence that does not punish employees for taking sick leave
  • have return to work meetings with employees to check they're well enough to be at work
  • offer phased returns to work, where appropriate, so that employees can gradually come back to work after absence
  • create a culture at work where employees do not feel pressured to work when they're ill
  • promote positive wellbeing among employees

Contact the Acas helpline

If you have any questions about sending someone home due to sickness, contact the Acas helpline.

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