A recent study, following 7,000 employees, has found that people that feel ‘micro-managed’ are more likely to take extended sick leave due to symptoms of stress such as a shortness of breath, headaches, chest pain and sickness.

Long-term sick leave is defined as ‘more than 16 days off in a row’, and sick days taken under this category account for a total of 75% of overall sick leave cost to businesses.

As an employer, there are two questions that you should ask yourself having considered this information:

  • Could you find a way to give your employees more control and flexibility?
  • How do you know when a need for long-term sick leave is genuine?

Long-Term Sick Leave – The Rules

An employee can self-certify their sickness, legally, for up to 7 days. After this, you can request a ‘fit note’ from their GP. The fit note may state that your employee ‘may be fit for work’, in which case you might need to provide them with additional support. If an employee is taking long-term sick leave then an employer has a right to request a medical assessment from a GP.

What about Short-Term Sick Leave?

Long-term sick leave can be a risk for employees. As an employer, you have a right to ask for documents that provide proof of someone’s need to take time away from work. Unfortunately, some employees get around this by frequently taking self-certified short-term sick leave for just a few days at a time.

If you suspect this or notice a pattern, then you should speak to the employee in question and should ask for an explanation.

If you’re paying statutory sick pay but suspect that an employee is moonlighting or is not genuinely ill then you also have a right to refuse to pay SSP, which is usually payable after 4 consecutive days of sickness (within the self-certification period). Your employee, however, has a right to ask for the reasons for your decision.


If you suspect that employee absenteeism is due to moonlighting or fraudulent sick leave, then we at EJM Investigations can source the evidence that you need to avoid paying unnecessary sick pay or to make a stronger case for your suspicion. Why not call now to see what our detective agency in Blackpool we can offer?

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