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Change to Paid Sick Leave Conditions

(22 Posts)
Mancunian61 Wed 05-Apr-17 11:06:24

Hi all,

I'm after a little advice and opinions (confused)

I have worked for the same small company for almost 7 years starting with paid sick leave conditions that increased up to 5 years of working, the maximum then being allowed 6 months at full rate of pay and six months at half rate of pay. The company have been reviewing contracts etc and have now decided that this is too generous and want to reduce it, mentioning only 8 weeks at full pay and 8 weeks at half pay, as you can see this is a drastic reduction.

I'm not quite sure how to respond to this, I realise that my present allowance is very generous compared to some other companies that only offer SSP, but the condition was set when I began work 7 years ago and as I get older and possibly more prone to ill health it becomes more important to me. I have an excellent attendance record apart from a long period of illness last summer.

What is your advice - should I accept the change in condition, should I negotiate a compromise amount or should I stick to wanting to remain with the allowance I have.

I don't expect/hope to ever use the full allowance but as I get older if something serious crops up the last thing I want to think about is any loss of salary while I am ill. So I may never claim the full allowance and the company may never have to pay out the full allowance.

I'm at a quandary as to what to do? Comments would be appreciated (smile)

jollyg Wed 05-Apr-17 11:27:46

Are you a union member? Many firms prefer to employ people who are not.

Sorry cant help further.

Swanny Wed 05-Apr-17 12:00:03

If you stick to wanting to remain with the allowance you have, you may find yourself in breach of the new contract and facing possible dismissal. That is the worst case scenario.

How many employees are there? What is the general feeling among your colleagues about this proposal? There should be management/staff discussions about possible changes whether or not a union is involved - possibly a staff working group negotiating on behalf of all employees, with their approval. Lots of things to consider and find out. I suggest you start by clicking on this link here which will give you a straightforward explanation of procedures.

It may be of interest to you that a company I worked for had the same sick leave allowance. There were a dozen employees and in 15 years only one person needed the maximum allowance, which was followed by a staggered return to work over about 3 weeks if I remember right.

Good luck smile

gillybob Wed 05-Apr-17 12:20:29

Speaking purely as the co-owner of a small business, there is no way we could afford such generous sick pay allowances Mancunian61. The work we do and the people we employ is quite specialised so couldn't easily replace someone "off the shelf" from an agency. Having said that I do think we treat our employees very well and understand that everyone comes to work for the same reason and (with the exception of me and DH)all have lives away from work. I would never dock anyone's wages for being late, being off sick, being off to attend to urgent family business etc. but we could not afford to pay full wages for extended periods of absence no matter what the reason.

Jayanna9040 Wed 05-Apr-17 17:02:56

Gillybob is right, in that an extended period of leave for even one person could put a small company into financial trouble. So I would guess they have been advised to reduce what are very generous terms. So you may want to think about the implications of your company going under.
You need to see if your contract allows for changes to your terms of work and to what extent. You may be able to insist on your original terms but bear in mind to do this might invite redundancy.

Newquay Thu 06-Apr-17 08:45:44

I worked for s small-ish local firm for 30 years before retirement-about 25-30 of us. We all had paid sick leave and it was never taken advantage of. I had to have an ear operation-which stopped me going deaf- years ago and there was no question of not being paid. The original partners retired and followed by an awful shower including one man who was/is a terrible bully-"I can do what I like"!!
They then simply introduced new contracts with dreadful conditions. No staff representation so no choice. Just before I retired I suddenly needed a hip replacement and I was paid (I refused to sign new contract) but I think it was an exception. I feel very sorry for the folks stuck there now. It does seem to be the way now, no paid sick leave. I have a SIL who has the same thing and can rarely have time off when she needs it eg migraine as she can't afford not to be paid.
It's like going back to the dark ages I feel. My dear old Dad worked in the pottery industry-not it wasn't lovely like in Throw Down-and there was a 3 day rule. You didn't get paid for the first three days off and then received minimal benefits. I saw him dragging himself into work while suffering the ill health (which eventually killed him) actually caused by his work.
I realise there are always folk who will take advantage of a generous system but, if treated well, will respond in kind and always go "the extra mile".

cornergran Thu 06-Apr-17 09:20:50

Can you seek advice? CAB or ACAS? I agree there is a huge issue in terms of what is feasible for any small company but it's important to ensure all actions are within the law and fair. You can phone ACAS, might be a good place to start. Your relationship with your employer is also important so it seems sensible to keep conversations calm and pleasant, my guess is there is sound financial thinking underneath this and it's not something introduced lightly. Informed advice will help you through it. Good luck.

Teetime Thu 06-Apr-17 09:45:28

I would definitely consult ACAS and not except any changes to contracts until I have solid advice.

MiniMouse Thu 06-Apr-17 10:19:32

I agree about seeking advice, just to be on the safe side.

I had a similar contract with six months full pay and six months half pay, but new employees didn't have such a generous contract. From what I can recall, I wasn't even asked to sign a new contract, which was just as well, as I ended up needing the full six months + six months!

chelseababy Thu 06-Apr-17 15:43:51

Are they offering any "sweetener" to get you to sign the new contract?

Rigby46 Thu 06-Apr-17 17:51:10

The sensible advice on here is ACAS/CAB unless you are in a union. An employer cannot unilaterally change a contract so as others have said, don't do anything without proper advice

Mancunian61 Fri 07-Apr-17 22:03:48

Thank you all for your comments, it has been very useful to hear what others think, even some employers smile

It is a very small organisation with only two part time employees and is almost run like a not for profit company and like a very small family business. I have a very good relationship with the people who work and run the business; it’s also a bit like a co-operative.

I’m not a member of a union and generally very happy working there, this request to change the sick pay conditions came totally out of the blue but is in relation to a general overview of the two job descriptions and contracts.

I do understand that the sick pay is very generous but it was part of my original contract 7 years ago and very comparable to previous employment over the last 15 years or so. I’m also aware that I am more likely than ever before to have need of it in the future due to getting older and health problems are more likely to crop up.

There has been no ‘sweetner’ offered just a drastic reduction in the sick pay allowance. Also my contract states that I should receive a ‘cost of living’ rise annually, which I have not always received, sometimes due to the financial status of the company (not dire, just large outgoings at the time) or an increase in hours at a similar time to the salary increase date and I have not pursued it at the time.

I think what I might suggest is halving my current allowance to 3 months full pay and 3 months half pay, but that they also increase my hourly rate to what it should be if I had had a cost of living rise every year since I’ve been there. I wouldn’t be asking for back pay. How does that sound to everyone – is it a reasonable request? hmm

Thanks and best wishes

FarNorth Fri 07-Apr-17 22:11:23

Jayanna9040 suggested that trying to insist on the original terms could invite redundancy.
Redundancy can only happen if your job role ceases to exist.

FarNorth Fri 07-Apr-17 22:20:08

I think you should find out your legal rights, as already suggested.
Knowing those would put you in a stronger position, even if you decide to compromise.

Rigby46 Fri 07-Apr-17 22:36:16

Mancunian I think that's an incredibly sensible and fair offer for you to make. It is very drastic of them to absolutely slash the sick pay in one fell swoop and your suggestion shows another way to do it. Wonder how they'll feel about your suggestion for a pay rise? I'd still talk to ACAS first though so you are absolutely sure of your rights

MawBroon Fri 07-Apr-17 23:19:24

I'd just counsel caution re a "cost of living "rise. While most of us would maintain there has been a de facto increase in our everyday cost of living, the annual rate of inflation as calculated by the government has been negligible! That is ostensibly one of the reasons behind minute increases in public sector salaries, not to mention pensions.
I suspect you and they and possibly someone from ACAS need to sit down together to sort out your pay and conditions. If they are struggling as a company they may not be in a position to maintain what has been the case up to now.

Rigby46 Sat 08-Apr-17 00:02:42

Does your contract define 'cost of living' increase? Retail Price Index used to be the common one but now it's Consumer Price Index (as that works out less usually). Probably if you'd had pay rises in line with CPI over the last 7 years, you'd be earning about 11% more. Those on state pensions have a minimum annual increase of 2 and a half percent because of the triple lock - the basic state pension over the last 7 years has increased by about 25%

MawBroon Sat 08-Apr-17 09:10:26

I don't think mine has rigby! Better check before maligning our openhanded and generous government I suppose hmm

Jayanna9040 Sat 08-Apr-17 09:19:21

You're right farnorth, but changing the job role and then making someone redundant is common practice I'm afraid.

Rigby46 Sat 08-Apr-17 10:31:26

MB basic state pension 2010/11 = £97.65, in 2017/18 it's £122.30. An increase over 7 years of £24.65 which equals 25.24%.

MawBroon Sat 08-Apr-17 10:36:03

Thank you rigby
£€£$€ in my pocket -yay!!

Makes me feel not a lot better smile

Mancunian61 Tue 18-Apr-17 21:26:28

Thank you again to those of you who commented further, much appreciated.

I have looked at the ACAS site and taken into consideration all the info I've gleamed. I will be making my response to my employer by the end of this week by suggesting a slight decrease in my sick pay entitlement but also requesting that my hourly rate is brought up to what it should be had annual increases been given as stated in my contact.

Thanks for all your suggestions and advice smile