How long can an employee be absent from work due to sickness before being dismissed?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 6 June 2017
Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI
Issues covered:

There is no specific 'safe' date or formula which applies, it will all depend on the circumstances of each individual case. It is not how the long the absence was or is, rather what steps the employer has taken to deal with the situation that will determine when it is fair for an employer to dismiss. The general principle is that an employer should consider dismissal as a last resort in situations involving genuine sickness absence.

However, employers will be in a stronger position to resist claims if they can demonstrate that they:

  • have not acted prematurely;
  • have investigated and carefully considered the situation (including alternatives to dismissal);
  • have consulted with the employee;

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 06/06/2017

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI

The main content of this article was provided by Chris Fullerton. Contact telephone number is 028 9023 0007 or email

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