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sick paythe payments made to an employee who is unable to work normally due to illness. In principle these payments could be made in place of a wage, from a national insurance fund, or by the employers themselves. The current system of ‘statutory sick pay' in the UK (in operation since 1986) combines elements of both. The employer makes payments to the sick employee at a level determined by social security regulations, which are financed out of the National Insurance contributions held by the employer. No payments can be made until the fourth day of absence (unless there has been a previous period of absence due to illness shortly before). After seven days of absence a doctor's certificate is necessary; prior to that the employee provides self-certification. After a prolonged period of sickness absence (currently 28 weeks) responsibility for payment transfers to the DEPARTMENT OF WORK AND PENSIONS.
Many UK employers choose to operate their own sick-pay scheme alongside statutory sick pay, and provide more favourable benefits than the state scheme. Although, traditionally, occupational sick-pay schemes have been applied to managerial and white-collar rather than to blue-collar workers, most UK employees are now covered, by such a scheme. Often they will provide for the employee to receive full pay for up to 28 weeks. Provision of favourable sick pay is often thought to encourage ABSENTEEISM but the evidence suggests that this a short-run phenomenon largely confined to the period immediately after the scheme is introduced.