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Sick pay or not sick pay?
and the problem with that is?
As I see it... and do correct me...

SSP is a statutory right...

A certain qualifying period is allowed before further rights can be introduced... such as pension or sickness rights.

There is the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002

Now... the argument can be that a suitable qualifying period must pass... that however, should be stipulated in the contract...

[u]Employee#8217;s rights to written details about the employment contract</u>

All employees, regardless of the number of hours they work per week, are entitled to receive a written statement from their employer within two months of starting work. The statement should describe the main terms of the contract of employment. You are entitled to the statement even if your job finishes before the initial two months, as long as the job was supposed to last for more than one month.

An employee who wants a written statement may request one verbally or in writing. It is usually best to request the statement in writing and keep a copy of the letter, so that you can prove you asked for the statement.

What written details must be given

The written statement must include by law:-

* the names of you and your employer
* the date you started work
* the amount of pay and how often you will be paid, for example, weekly or monthly
* the hours of work
* your holiday entitlement, including how many days off you are entitled to and what your holiday pay will be, if any
* how much warning (notice) you are entitled to if you are dismissed and how much warning you must give the employer if you want to leave the job
* the title of the job
* where the job is based, for example, whether you will have to work in more than one location
* what the disciplinary, dismissal and grievance procedures are in the workplace
* what sick pay you are entitled to
* whether you can join the employer#8217;s occupational pension scheme, if there is one.

The above information does not have to be included in the written statement of terms and conditions. It can be given in, for example, a staff handbook which all the employees can have access to.

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
This follows on from the above;

Right to receive a written statement of reasons for less favourable treatment
5. - (1) If an employee who considers that his employer may have treated him in a manner which infringes a right conferred on him by regulation 3 requests in writing from his employer a written statement giving particulars of the reasons for the treatment, the employee is entitled to be provided with such a statement within twenty-one days of his request.

(2) A written statement under this regulation is admissible as evidence in any proceedings under these Regulations.

(3) If it appears to the tribunal in any proceedings under these Regulations -

(a) that the employer deliberately, and without reasonable excuse, omitted to provide a written statement, or

(b) that the written statement is evasive or equivocal,

it may draw any inference which it considers it just and equitable to draw, including an inference that the employer has infringed the right in question.

(4) This regulation does not apply where the treatment in question consists of the dismissal of an employee, and the employee is entitled to a written statement of reasons for his dismissal under section 92 of the 1996 Act[4].

Ask them in writing for the reasons why they are treating the staff differently.

Out of interest of any possible reply that Trowelfodder might receive, what are your reasons for believing there isn't a problem with different sickness payment for fixed term staff and permanent staff?
It should be noted that working in field archaeology exposes people to all sorts of cuts, scrapes, skin infections and other minor ailments which require (non urgent) medical attention. The location of site work usually makes it hard to just pop out to the doctors for a half hour to get some antibiotics. This often requires a day or half day out from a legal minimum annual leave allowance or taking time off unpaid. With many GP's not taking advance appointment bookings as they have to meet government targets on seeing patients the day they call up, taking time off is the only option.

I don't care what the legal position is, I believe there is a moral responsibility for archaeological employers to give field staff at least the same sick pay rights as office staff, regardless of length of contract. Personally, I won't work for a company that doesn't offer full sick pay from day one. I have a very good sick record (2 years without sick leave at the moment) and expect to not have to worry when my already small income is cut into by illness or injury. I have worked at places where this was not the case, and this was a cause of resentment for me.
Iluminated raises a serious point when he says:

"field archaeology exposes people to all sorts of cuts, scrapes, skin infections and other minor ailments which require (non urgent) medical attention".

This points to a culture of unsafe working practices that can and should be eliminated by for example wearing gloves all the time.

Dr Peter Wardle
I would argue for gloves to be made available at all times rather than forcing them to be worn 'for the sake of it'..
I'm not sure if enough detailed research has been done to say for certain that hand injuries (however minor) are drastically reduced on sites where a compulsory glove wearing policy is in action. I suspect it would cut out minor 'band aid' injuries, though I'd still like the choice to wear gloves.

Wearing gloves all the time in the heat/cold/wet can aggravate minor skin conditions. I prefer to work without gloves generally, though like to think I have the common sense to put them on if, for example, I am trowelling flinty soil or a rubble layer likely to contain glass or slate.

There is a balance to be struck between common sense, comfort, sensible precautions and nannying, and compulsory wearing of PPE in all situations is overkill. It's ridiculous shovelling away in 30 degree plus heat in long sleeves, gloves, goggles and hard hat digging shallow features in the middle of a field far from any vehicles or machinery. You are much more likely to overheat, or at best sweat uncomfortably.

Back on topic, I have found most employers are happy to find diggers a days work in the office on days when they do require a GP visit, allowing a quick trip out of the office and back, worth bearing in mind!
I use fingerless gloves-cycling types, sometimes woven - helps stop blisters, helps stops the skin drying out and leading to cracks, but also to stop liver spots on the top of the hand, I get quite attached to them and find that if I have left them behind it puts me off digging

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