What happens if I go onto half or no pay?
After you have been absent for 183 days (including rest days) in any 12-month period your entitlement to full pay ceases and you are entitled to half pay for the next 6 months.
The Chief Constable will decide whether there is any reason to retain you on full pay. It is important to note that this is not a decision based on whether you are genuinely ill and unable to attend work. The decision is based upon whether there is something specific about your role as a police officer that will persuade him to retain you on full pay.
If you subscribe to the Sussex Federation Life Accident scheme and are reduced to half pay, you will receive a sickness benefit per week of 25% of your salary. Should you fall to no pay, the benefit increases to 50% for up to one year.
The Police Negotiating Board has offered guidance on this matter to Chief Officers. The guidance provides that the only reasons that you will be retained on full pay are if: -
- You are injured in the execution of your duty and are fully co-operating with the Occupational Health Unit to facilitate your return to work. This does not include merely being injured at work but is specifically related to your role as a police officer. Road Traffic Collisions whilst travelling to or from work would not be counted for this purpose.
- You are being considered for medical retirement and you have been referred to a Selected Medical Practitioner. In this instance the Force Medical Authority (FMA) will consider whether you are fit for restricted duties and what reasonable adjustments need to be made to allow your attendance at work. Once a suitable post has been found you will be expected to take up that post or your pay will be reduced. If the FMA considers you unfit for any work then you will be retained on full pay whilst you go through the medical retirement process.
- If you are disabled and covered under the Disability Discrimination Act your eligibility to full pay may continue if your absence is linked to your disablement and reasonable adjustments to enable you to attend work have not been made. Recent tribunal decisions have ruled that once reasonable adjustments are in place disabled officers shall be treated as any other officer for continued absence.
- You have a terminal illness
If you do not fit one of these categories you should expect to be reduced to half pay. Your HR Manager will make a recommendation and advise on the reasons for your absence. The Police Federation attends the meeting to ensure that the best and the most up to date information on your condition, and the causes of it, are put before the Chief Constable.
In order that they can do this you should contact the Federation Office when you are notified that you are due to go onto half pay to discuss your absence. You need to keep in regular contact with us as your case is reviewed on a monthly basis by the force.
At twelve months absence you entitlement to half pay ceases and you are then entitled to no pay. The same process and decision-making criteria as for half pay is applied. If you are placed onto half pay you will also be eligible to benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions. For the first 28 weeks you will receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Whilst you are receiving full pay this will come as part of your salary and you will not see any amendment for this. When you go onto half pay this will be shown on your pay slip as an additional payment.
Statutory Sick Pay is paid to employees who are unable to work because of sickness. Statutory Sick Pay is paid by the force for up to a maximum of 28 weeks. Statutory Sick Pay is not paid for specific illness or treatment but to all employees, who are incapable for work and who satisfy the conditions for payment. The standard weekly rate of SSP is £81.60 from 6 April 2008 to 5 April 2009.
Incapacity Benefit (applies only to those who are in system pre 27th October 2008)
After 28 weeks you will not be eligible for SSP but instead become eligible for Incapacity Benefit. The force will send you form SSP1 to help you transfer to incapacity benefit. This should be sent after 23 weeks absence so if you do not receive it contact your HR manager and request that it be sent.
You will also need to contact the Jobcentre Plus Contact Centre to discuss your claim. We advise you to again contact the Federation office who have trained representatives who can advice and assistance.
If the Chief Constable decides that you are to remain on full pay you will still receive part of this as Incapacity Benefit as above. You will be sent SSP 1 form and the benefit will be deducted from your salary and received directly from the Department of Work and Pensions.
Remember - it is important you take advice and also that you lodge some form of appeal each month at the case conference which deals with half pay / no pay. Please also bear in mind that if you do end up on benefits you must co-operate with the DWP and any agency working for them in relation to assessing you.
The links here will give you more details on benefits:
If you do get Incapacity Benefit please remember that because of government reform of the Welfare State it does include assessment under Pathways to Work. Dependant on individual circumstances not all claimants will go past the first three stages:
- A Personal Capability Assessment which is used to determine whether they are entitled to the benefit; and includes a Capabilty Report which focuses on what a customer could do rather than what they can't. Because of the nature of their illness, some people will be exempt from this assessment and any further mandatory involvement.
- A mandatory work-focused interview eight weeks after making a claim for incapacity benefit (except in cases where this is deferred or waived due to the nature of the illness).
- A screening tool at the initial work-focused interview will establish who will have more work-focused interviews and who will be exempt from further mandatory participation.
- Access to a range of programmes to support the customer in preparing to work, including the Condition Management Programme which aims to help the customer to manage their health condition or disability so that they can get back to work.
- A Return to Work Credit, where customers who enter employment can qualify for a weekly payment of £40 a week for 12 months if their salary is below £15,000 a year.
The Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be introduced on 27 October 2008 and will replace Incapacity Benefit for new customers only.
For more details of this allowance see the following links: