Thank you. If you were only off for 3 days then indeed you would not be entitled to SSP as that starts on the 4th day of absence. So you would be relying on the company’s suck pay scheme alone to be eligible for any sick pay for these days of absence.
Looking at the relevant policy, it specifically states “At our discretion, we will pay you your normal pay and benefits (inclusive of state sick pay SSP) while you are sick”. They key word there is ‘discretion’ – it does not guarantee payment of sick pay. In effect the employer will decide whether to pay you company sick pay and they retain full discretion as to whether that will happen.
If the policy does not state that the benefit accrues throughout the year, then one can assume that it is a benefit you can rely on straight away even without having worked the time to accrue the 5 days for that year. However, the issue is still that payment of this benefit is at the employer’s discretion rather than a given when one goes off sick.
Your best argument would be that if this benefit has been paid without fail to all those who go off sick, the employer’s discretion would have effectively been removed. However, that is just an argument, nothing with concrete legal binding effect and only a tribunal can decide if this has happened.
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