Medical suspension pay

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Medical suspension pay
  • Entitlement
  • Qualifying service
  • Excluded groups
  • The basic entitlement
  • Employee must be capable for work
  • Meaning of ‘suspension’
  • The relevant medical grounds
  • When the right to medical suspension pay will be lost
  • Calculation of medical suspension pay
  • More...

Medical suspension pay

An employee is entitled, under section 64 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) to be paid for up to 26 weeks while suspended from normal duties by the employer, on certain prescribed medical grounds. These medical grounds are very narrow.

The aim of the legislation is to ensure that employees in particularly high-risk employments (such as those involving exposure to lead or radiation) do not lose out financially if, although capable of work, they have to be temporarily suspended or moved to other jobs to safeguard their health, for example if a test reveals they have a high level of lead in their blood.

The right to pay during medical suspension is quite separate from the right to pay during a suspension on the grounds that an employee is pregnant, has recently given birth or is breastfeeding. For further information on that right, see Practice Note: Risk assessments, suspension or removal from work relating to maternity.


The right to pay during medical suspension applies only to employees (see Practice Note: Employee status). The term ‘employee’ is defined for these purposes by ERA 1996, s 230(1). However, the right also extends to Crown servants and staff employed in the House of Commons and House of Lords, even though such workers do not have a contract of employment in the traditional sense.

Qualifying service

The right to

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