Getting sick pay when you're pregnant

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

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. 

Getting sick pay can affect your maternity pay

Your maternity pay might be affected if you're off sick while you're pregnant. 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.


Mandeep works during the whole 8-week maternity pay qualifying period and receives her usual pay of £200 a week. This means her first 6 weeks of maternity pay will be £180 a week.

If Mandeep is off sick for 2 weeks during her maternity pay qualifying period, her normal pay of £200 a week drops to £116.75 a week - the amount for statutory sick pay. This means her first 6 weeks of maternity pay will drop from £180 a week to £161.27 a week, because she claimed sick pay.

You can check what maternity pay you’re entitled to.

If you're off sick because of your pregnancy

You can claim statutory sick pay until 4 weeks before your baby is due.

You might also be able to get your maternity pay. If you go off sick in the last 4 weeks before your due date, your maternity leave and maternity pay will start.

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 can find out about pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

You also have other rights while you’re pregnant - for example, time off for antenatal appointments. Check what rights you have while you’re pregnant.

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, you can claim any sick pay you’re entitled to as usual. You’ll get sick pay 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.

If you have problems getting sick pay

If your employer won’t pay you for time off sick or has paid you the wrong amount, you can find out the steps to get the sick pay you’re owed.

If you’ve been dismissed or forced to resign because you’re sick, you can find out whether your dismissal is fair or not.

Page last reviewed on 09 December 2022