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Q: Should I pay contractual sick pay when an employee takes time off for a nose job?
24 May 2017

A: You may want to think about a policy on elective or cosmetic surgery within your staff handbook. Whilst this is not a legal requirement, it will provide clarity on how you will deal with time off for these procedures and whether you will pay sick pay.

In relation to sick pay it would be difficult to see how you could stop an employee stating they were taking sick leave and claiming SSP if they are recovering from surgery and are incapable of working. If, for example, they are convalescing after elective surgery and their GP advised them to stay off work they could legitimately be off sick and therefore entitled to sick leave and sick pay. 

As far as Company sick pay goes, you could choose to work your Company sick pay policy so that those having elective of cosmetic surgery would not qualify. It may be helpful to set out which kinds of elective of cosmetic surgery are excluded from Company sick pay. As for annual leave, your policy could state that you anticipate that such surgery would be undertaken during annual leave.

However you need to take care making any assumptions that elective or cosmetic surgery is not for medical reasons as there maybe physical or psychological reasons for such surgery being performed . Failure to make contractual sick pay payments or to allow sick leave could result in an Employment Tribunal claim. In short, it maybe helpful to have the policy and to set out examples but it is likely that each individual case will need to look at on its own merits

For further advice, please contact Julia Fitzsimmons on 01952 208420 or Alternatively, find out more about our Employment & HR Services

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