What is sick pay?
If you are ill and need to take time off work you might have a right to sick pay. This includes both physical and mental health issues.
If you are an employee your contract should say:
- how much sick pay you get
- how long sick pay can last
- any rules for using sick pay
You can check your Employment Status
Who gets sick pay?
If you are an employee, worker, agency, casual or zero hours worker and you:
- have been off sick for at least 4 ‘qualifying days’ in a row (days when you’re usually required to work)
- earn on average at least £123 a week, before tax
- have told your employer you’re sick within any deadline the employer has set or within 7 days
Then you are eligible for statutory sick pay – this must be paid by law. You should not need to use holiday pay to cover time off sick and if fall ill whilst on paid holiday leave you should be able to receive sick pay and recover any holiday you lost because of sickness.
How much sick pay do I get?
Statutory sick pay is £109.40 per week. It can be paid for up to 28 weeks.
How does sick pay work?
Your employer does not have to pay statutory sick pay for the first 3 days of sickness absence – these are called ‘waiting days’.
Statutory sick pay is the minimum amount employers must pay. Some employers might pay more – for example half pay or full pay for a certain length of time. This must be written in the contract or workplace policy.
It should also say in the contract or the organisation’s policy whether the first 3 days of sickness absence are paid or unpaid.
What is a fit note?
You may need to get a ‘fit note’ – sometimes called a ‘sick note’.
This is a statement from a registered healthcare professional giving their medical opinion on your fitness for work.
You must get a fit note if you’ve been off sick for more than 7 calendar days to give to your employer.
What if I’m not getting the right sick pay?
If you’re not sure about your sick pay whilst your ill it can add to your worries but there are some things you can do.
If you’re not sure what your sick pay entitlement is, check your employment contract, talk with your manager or someone in HR.
If you don’t think you’re getting the right amount of sick pay you can raise the issue with your employer.
You could get Legal Advice from Citizens Advice – they offer free confidential advice for free online, over the phone and in person.
You can also speak call ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helpline: 0300 123 1100 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) and access the Holiday, Sickness and Leave section of their website for info about sickness.
What if my sickness or a disability means I can’t work?
If you are not able to work or have to work less because of sickness or disability you might be able to claim Employment Support Allowance. To qualify, you need to have both:
- worked as an employee or have been self-employed
- paid enough National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years –
You may have to have a Work Capability Assessment which is an interview that is used to find out how your illness or disability affects how much you can work.
You can find out more about how to claim and apply employment support allowance on the Government website.