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Getting sick pay when you're pregnant

This advice applies to Scotland

If you’re off sick while you’re pregnant, it can affect how much Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) you get. Different rules might apply depending if your illness is related to your pregnancy or not. 

Coronavirus - get help from your council or local volunteer groups

If you're pregnant you can ask your council for help with getting food or medicine. You can also get support from local volunteer groups.

Getting sick pay can affect maternity pay

Your maternity pay might be affected if you're off sick while you're pregnant and your pay is less than usual.

This is because your first 6 weeks of maternity pay is 90% of your average pay during an 8 week ‘qualifying period’. This qualifying period takes place while you're pregnant.


You work during the whole 8-week maternity pay qualifying period and receive your usual pay of £200 per week. This means your first 6 weeks of maternity pay will be £180 per week.

However, if you're off sick for 2 weeks during your maternity pay qualifying period, your normal pay of £200 per week drops to £99.35 per week (the amount for statutory sick pay). This means your first 6 weeks of maternity pay will drop from £180 per week to £157.35 per week, because you'd claimed sick pay.

Off work sick because of your pregnancy

If you're ill because of your pregnancy:

  • you can claim statutory sick pay until 4 weeks before your baby is due
  • you might get maternity pay and your maternity leave will start early in the 4 weeks before your baby is due

Your doctor can tell you if you're ill because of your pregnancy.

You can’t be dismissed for having time off sick because of your pregnancy as you’re protected against discrimination while you’re pregnant.

You also have other rights while you’re pregnant, for example time off for ante-natal appointments.

You can read more about sickness during pregnancy and maternity leave on the Maternity Action website.

If you’re sick and it’s got nothing to do with being pregnant (for example, you have the flu or a stomach bug) you can claim any sick pay you’re entitled to as usual, until either:

  • the week the baby is due
  • the date you’ve chosen your maternity pay to start

Then you’ll start getting any maternity pay you’re entitled to.

You should be treated the same as anyone else who is off work sick. If you think you're being treated differently because you're pregnant, you can contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.

Problems getting sick pay

There are things you can do if you have any problems getting sick pay. If your employer:

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