The Real Reason You Can't Get Fired For Going Out Drinking On A Sick Day In The UK

Realistically speaking, sick days should be called freebie days. Whether you're actually sick, need a mental health day, have a family emergency, or honestly just need a break from work, what you do on your "sick day" really shouldn't be anyone else's business. Generally, there's no difference between paid time off (PTO), vacation time, and sick time. APS Payroll explains that vacation and sick time are "subsets" of PTO. Either way, you call in and have the day off and are typically compensated.

Each business categorizes these definitions differently. For example, PTO could be an x-amount of hours while vacation time is an allotted amount of days. Sometimes, companies may ask you to take your vacation time all at once or in large clumps. Newcastle, England driver Colin Kane made the choice to spend a duration of his sick day at a pub, and was consequently fired several weeks later because of it (via Metro). However, a judge overruled this termination and now Kane is awaiting possible financial compensation — here's why.

There's no disciplinary rule that says workers can't use sick days to socialize

Because Colin Kane has a previously known lung condition, his employers figured he was home in bed sick. But as bad luck would have it, a higher-up of Kane's spotted him at a pub later that day and tattletaled on him to their boss. His next day at work, Kane was sat down and scolded for being at a pub when he was reportedly too sick to come into work. He was found "guilty of misconduct" while "being signed off on the sick with chronic lung disease/chest infection and claiming to be at home in bed" and was fired from the company, per The Daily Mail.

In an employment tribunal, Judge Andrea Pitt ruled that the cause for his termination was unfair and unjust as there is no rule in writing saying employees are banned from engaging in socialization on a sick day (via Metro). "There is no rule [Debmat] can point to, which says that an employee cannot socialise in whatever way they deem appropriate whilst absent from work through illness," Pitt said. In the coming weeks, Judge Pitt, Kane, and others will be in discussions regarding a financial compensation he will be granted for what his former employer put him through. Cheers to that!