The information in this section is about epilepsy and working in the UK. If you live outside the UK, you can find out about working and epilepsy in your country by contacting your local epilepsy group.
Am I entitled to sick leave and sick pay?
It depends on your terms and conditions. But you shouldn’t be treated less favourably than other people without epilepsy, as that would be discrimination. This is particularly important if your work’s policies are flexible. An example would be when the company are making individual decisions about stopping sick pay or sickness reviews.
Can my employer count disability-related absence as sick absence?
While some employer’s separate disability-related absence from other sickness absence, this is not an automatic requirement under the Equality Act. Employers can decide how much sickness absence they will allow before your absence due to epilepsy is considered excessive. They might consider these changes to be a reasonable adjustment.
This is what Saleem says about his work:
“I need regular hospital appointments during my usual working hours. My work does their best to accommodate them. They also log my epilepsy sickness separately from sickness for other reasons. This means it doesn’t look too bad on my sickness record.”
Will I get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
If you are sick and unable to work, you may qualify for SSP, which is the government sick pay. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks and you are eligible if you have been off work sick for 4 or more days in a row.
See gov.uk for more information about SSP.
Contractual sick pay
Some employers also pay contractual sick pay (CSP). The length of sick pay varies but you should be able to see whether your employer pays CSP from your terms and conditions. If you are eligible for CSP, your employer tops up your SSP so that it amounts to your normal pay.
Am I allowed time off for medical appointments?
You are allowed time off for medical appointments in the same way as other people you work with. But it depends on your terms and conditions whether you get paid for these absences. If you also need to have limited time off work to go to medical appointments related to your epilepsy, it could be considered a reasonable adjustment to count these separately. You will have to agree with your employer how much time is acceptable before any sickness reviews are needed.
If you would like to know where our information is from, download a copy of this information with references.
Epilepsy Action would like to thank Liam Kinealy, solicitor at Spencer’s Solicitors for his contribution to this information.
Liam Kinealy has declared no conflict of interest.
This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.
- Updated December 2020To be reviewed December 2023