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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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my son works for mcdonalds. a notice has gone up at his work

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my son works for mcdonalds. a notice has gone up at his work stating that if anyone calls in sick or is sent home from work ill they are to not return to work for two weeks!! it states the reason is to ensure the person is completely better. surely this would depend on the type of sickness. I would understand if the notice said two days symptom free before returning. is this legal???

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. how long has he worked there?


about ten months but this is a general notice to all staff

Ben Jones :

Do the employees get paid for this time off? Is there a sick pay entitlement?


they operate a zero hour contract so I don't think they get sick pay

Whilst at first sight it may appear unfair, this practice will not necessarily be illegal. If they are employed on a zero hours contract, then they will not have any guarantee to the number of hours they work every week. It does mean that the employer can choose who to offer hours to and how many hours to offer. This may also be a decision made on the fact that someone has been off ill. It is not illegal not to offer hours under a zero hours contract to someone who has been off sick, even if this was a genuine illness, backed up by a doctor’s certificate. This would only be illegal if the reason the employee was off sick for was due to a disability. This could include more or less any illness as long it has or is likely to last for more than a year and has a substantial effect on the person’s ability to carry out their normal daily tasks. If this was just flu or a virus then it is unlikely it would be a disability so the employer would be free to refuse to offer them any hours as a result. This is unfortunately the pitfall of a zero hours contract – there is simply no guarantee on the number of hours they work each week and the employer can make a decision not to give them hours based on a wide range of factors, including sickness absence not related to a disability.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you wanted to hear but I hope you understand I have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands and sometimes this does unfortunately mean delivering bad news. Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything.
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