Measles has been eliminated in the UK for the first time – so no more Sick Leave for measles patients

27/09: The UK has eliminated measles for the first time, global health leaders have said. Elimination of measles or rubella can be verified once a country has sustained "interruption of endemic transmission" for at least 36 months, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The situation means that Sick Leave taken for this disease has been eliminated as well.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness with a higher risk of serious complications for pregnant women, young children and those who are immuno-suppressed. Although it is generally found amongst young children, it attacks all ages.

So what Sick Leave has been available?

In the UK if a worker is unable to attend work due to sickness, and requires Sick Leave, he/she may get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) - that is money paid by law or contractual sick pay that is money a worker is entitled to according to his/her contract of employment. SSP is paid by the employer for up to 28 weeks if the worker’s weekly income is more than £109. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is paid at a fixed weekly rate of £86.70. The contract of employment may give an employee more than the amount of SSP and for a longer period. Contractual pay might not be the normal rate of pay, but it cannot be less than SSP. If a worker is sick for longer than 28 weeks or if a worker does not earn enough to qualify for SSP, he/she may qualify for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead.

Who has taken Sick Leave?

British workers have reported the lowest level of sickness absence since records began almost a quarter of a century ago, according to official figures for last year.

About 137m working days were lost from illness and injury in 2016, said the Office for National Statistics, equivalent to 4.3 days per worker, the lowest rate since 1993, when it was 7.2 days.

Minor illnesses such as coughs and colds accounted for almost a quarter of the days lost due to sickness in 2016, at 34m. The second most common reason for not turning up to work was musculoskeletal problems including back pain, neck and upper limb problems, which accounted for 22.4% of days lost to sickness.

Find out more about Sickness, Pay and Job Security in the UK

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