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In sickness...

Your job and career questions answered

I was signed off work with glandular fever six weeks ago. I started teaching in September 2003 at an independent school. Last September, I moved to a state school and am doing my training. I'm not sure how many days of full pay I am entitled to: does it start from September 2003 or September 2005?

I'm sorry you are ill. Assuming you started teaching at the beginning of September, you won't have completed one term's service. There are generous national terms for teachers' sick pay that most local authorities adhere to, but are graduated on your length of service. Teachers with less than four month's service will receive 25 working days on full pay. After four month's service you'd have been entitled to an additional 75 days on half pay. You are also entitled to statutory sick pay. This is paid to any employee for a maximum of 28 weeks in sickness absence. It is paid after taking into account any other pay received: it is not paid for the 25 days full pay. If you are still unable to work after 28 weeks, you may be entitled to state incapacity benefit. Your employer may have discretion to extend the length of time you receive sick pay, but unless you make a good case, they won't. If your employment ends when you are on sick pay, your benefits may change depending on why you left. Seek advice. All this is based upon being employed with a proper contract. I've assumed that you're on the graduate teacher programme and have such a contract. If not, because you are on a different programme, or are a student, different rules may apply. I think it unlikely that your previous service will count, so ask your employer or consult your professional association.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email susan.young@tes.co.uk

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