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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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If ive have been signed off work for alcohol misuse by a doctor

Customer Question

If i've have been signed off work for alcohol misuse by a doctor will i still be paid the company sick pay while i commit myself to a 12 week course to address this problem?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What is your company sick pay entitlement? PS: I am travelling at the moment so there may be a delay in responding, thanks for your patience in advance
JACUSTOMER-jzp67oqe- :

I work for a British company working abroad but the policy is half pay for the first 6 months but i intend to go back to work immediately after completing the 12 week course

Ben Jones :

Thank you for clarifying. You will have two separate rights to sickness benefits - one is your company's own sickness absence policy and the other will be your entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The company sick pay entitlement will be administered as per your contractual terms and conditions or the wording of any relevant policy. It is important for you to read if there are any exclusions as to specific reasons for absence - some may specifically exclude absence for drug/alcohol misuse, etc. In the absence of any specific exclusions, it would be down to the employer to decide whether they treat your absence as 'incapacity', or if it is a voluntary absence. Similarly, there may be a wording in the policy which specifically includes absence due to alcohol/substance misuse or related treatment.

Usually, an employer has to be careful not to exclude someone from their sick pay policy if they have a disability because that will make the withholding of sick pay more serious. However, the Equality Act 2010 specifically excludes addiction or dependency to alcohol from the definition of a disability, unless this was originally the result of the administration of medically prescribed drugs or other medical treatment.

So in the first instance, you need to approach your employer and be frank with them about the reasons behind your proposed absence and see whether they believe the sick pay policy covers you for this. If they say it does not, then you need to consider whether the alcohol misuse can be attributed to the previous administration of medically prescribed drugs or other medical treatment, in which case you could claim that it amounts to a disability and excluding you from the policy may amount to discrimination.

If that is not possible, then you can consider going down the internal grievance route but the only way you will get a certain outlook of your position is by going to the employment tribunal or the court and claim either unlawful deduction of wages or breach of contract. They will then decide whether the employer was right to refuse your claim in the circumstances or if it is something that should have been covered.

Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you are unhappy for some reason with the advice - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you very much

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