Getting money after your sick pay runs out

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

If you’re too unwell to go back to work when statutory sick pay (SSP) ends you might be able to:

  • get benefits

  • use your holiday pay to cover the time you’re off sick

Check what benefits you can get

If you have a long-term illness, you might be able to get new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You can apply for new style ESA 3 months before your sick pay ends, as the application process can take a while.

Check if you’re eligible for new style ESA.

If you need long-term help doing everyday tasks or getting around, you might also be able to get Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

If you need long-term help doing everyday tasks or getting around, you might also be able to get Adult Disability Payment.

Using your holiday pay to cover your sickness

You’ll still build up your holiday pay entitlement while you’re off sick.

Holiday pay is the same amount as your normal pay so you might be able to use holiday pay instead of your sick pay. For example, if you’ve run out of sick pay or gone on to a lower rate of sick pay like SSP.

You’ll need to give your employer notice you want to use your holiday pay. If you want to take a week’s holiday you have to give 2 weeks’ notice.

Check how much notice you need to give for taking paid holiday.


Aisha has been off sick for 3 months and isn’t likely to return to work for another 4 weeks. Her contract says she can be off sick on full pay for 3 months and then go on to SSP.

Aisha tells her employer she wants to use any holiday pay she has to help cover the next 4 weeks, so she’ll get paid more money than just SSP.

If you're struggling with living costs

If you’re struggling with money, there are things you can do to save on your regular living costs. Check what to do if you need help with living costs.

If you’re finding it hard to pay your bills, you can get help. Find out more about getting help with your bills.

You can also get help with debts.

If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank.

Page last reviewed on 09 December 2022