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Sick pay if you’re in work

If you work for an employer and you’re too ill to work, you may be able to get sick pay. This could be either occupational sick pay, Statutory Sick Pay, or both. 

Statutory Sick Pay

Statutory Sick Pay is paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks if you’re too ill to work. It’s the amount that your employer is legally required to pay you if you meet the following criteria:

  • You’re classed as an employee (including agency workers and part-time workers)
  • You earn £113 a week or more (before tax)
  • You’ve been ill for four days in a row.

People without an employer, such as the unemployed and self-employed, don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay and may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance instead.

Statutory Sick Pay is £89.35 a week. There are no additions for your husband, wife, civil partner or children. You won’t be paid for the first three days that you’re off sick and it runs out after 28 weeks. After that you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance.

You cannot get Statutory Sick Pay on top of your occupational sick pay. So if your employer provides occupational sick pay, the Statutory Sick Pay you get will count towards your occupational sick pay entitlement for any day that you’re off sick.

Occupational sick pay

Whether you get occupational sick pay depends on what your employment contract says. An example of a good occupational sick pay scheme is one that gives you full pay while you’re off sick for up to six months, and then half pay for the next six months, after which it ends. You would need to check your contract or contact your manager or human resources department to find out if you’re covered. 

If your employer doesn’t provide occupational sick pay, they must still pay you Statutory Sick Pay if you qualify.

How to claim sick pay

If you’ve told your employer that you’re off sick or going to be off sick, your occupational sick pay and Statutory Sick Pay should be paid automatically to you in the same way as your normal wages.

It’s unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because of your illness or another disability. Your rights are protected under the Equality Act or the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland. You can read more about your rights at work in our guide

If you're not eligible

You may be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you're not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay or if your Statutory Sick Pay has ended or is coming to an end.

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