Check if you're entitled to sick pay
If you work (and aren’t self-employed), you’re legally entitled to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as long as you:
- have started work with your employer
- are sick for 4 full days or more in a row (including non-working days)
- earn on average at least £120 per week (before tax)
- are not in one of the ineligible categories
- follow your employer’s rules for getting sick pay
You’re still entitled to SSP if you work part-time or on a fixed-term contract.
If you’re an agency or casual worker and you’re working on an assignment when you get ill, you might be entitled to SSP until that assignment ends. If you’d already agreed to another assignment, you might be entitled to SSP till the end of that future assignment. If you’re not working when you get ill, you won’t be entitled to SSP.
If you’re on a zero hours contract, you can still get sick pay - you should ask your employer for it. If they say no, ask them to explain why. You can contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re not happy with their explanation.
You shouldn’t be made to feel bad about asking for sick pay you’re entitled to. If you think you’ve been treated unfairly, disciplined or dismissed because you asked for sick pay, you might be able to take action.
Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you want to discuss your options.
Coronavirus - if you’re off work because you're self-isolating or shielding
Tell your employer you’re self-isolating or shielding as soon as possible - you’ll get statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day you tell them. You might get contractual sick pay as well as SSP if your contract allows it.
If you’re returning to the UK from abroad, you can’t get SSP for being in quarantine. You might be able to get it for other reasons - for example, if you have symptoms of coronavirus.
If you're self-isolating
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll get SSP for at least 10 days. If you’ve tested positive, you’ll keep getting SSP until you stop having symptoms.
You’ll get SSP for at least 14 days if:
the NHS told you you’ve come into contact with someone who has coronavirus
someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus
someone you see regularly in another household has symptoms of coronavirus - check the rules on meeting with other households
If someone you live with or someone in another household you see regularly tests positive, you’ll get SSP until they stop showing symptoms.
If you’ve been told to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery, you’ll get SSP for up to 14 days. You’ll need to show your employer a letter from the hospital telling you to self-isolate.
After self-isolating for more than 7 days, your employer might ask for proof you need to stay off work. You should get an isolation note online. Your employer shouldn’t ask to see a note until you’ve been self-isolating for at least 7 days. You can:
get an isolation note on the NHS app if you’re using a smartphone
If you were told to shield
You’ll get SSP from your employer if you’re living in an area with a local lockdown and the NHS sent you a letter advising you to shield because you’re ‘extremely vulnerable.’ You can show your employer your letter from the NHS to prove you need to stay off work to shield again- you don’t need an 'isolation note'.
You might also be able to get SSP if you can’t work from home and it’s not safe for you to go to work. You’ll need a fit note from your doctor to give to your employer.
If you can’t get SSP, you might be able to get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Check if you can get ESA.
You can read the government guidance about shielding on GOV.UK.
Check your contract
If you're entitled to statutory sick pay, you can get £95.85 per week for up to 28 weeks. Your contract might also say that you’re entitled to contractual sick pay. How much contractual sick pay you get and how long you get it for will depend on what your contract says.
If you haven’t been given a contract or it’s not in there, ask your employer or check your staff handbook or intranet.
You won’t get SSP if you:
- are self-employed
- have already had SSP for 28 weeks (and the 28 weeks ended within the last 8 weeks)
- had Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the last 12 weeks
- are getting statutory maternity pay or Maternity Allowance
- are pregnant, your baby is due in 4 weeks or less and your illness is pregnancy-related
- had a baby in the last 14 weeks (or the last 18 weeks if your baby was born over 4 weeks early)
- are in the armed forces
- are in legal custody (detained either by the police or in prison)
- are an agricultural worker (read about agricultural sick pay on GOV.UK)
Even if your employer says you're 'self-employed', you might in fact be a 'worker' and entitled to sick pay. It’s always best to check if this applies to you - contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re not sure.
Your entitlement to sick pay will depend if your illness is related to your pregnancy or not.
Read more on getting sick pay when you’re pregnant.
You're returning to work after getting maternity pay
If you become sick before or during your maternity pay period you won't be entitled to statutory sick pay until 8 weeks after your maternity pay ends.
If you become sick after your maternity pay period ends you can get statutory sick pay if you're entitled.
You're in hospital
If you’re entitled to get statutory sick pay you should still get it during any time you have to stay in hospital.
You have more than 1 employer
If you have more than 1 employer you could be entitled to sick pay from each one. Treat each employer as if they were your only employer to see if they should pay you sick pay.
If your illness means you can do 1 of your jobs but not the other, you could get sick pay from 1 while getting your normal wages from the other.
You're getting your pension
If you work and get your state pension, you’re entitled to get statutory sick pay as long as you qualify.
You can use our benefits checker to see what you might be entitled to.
You're involved in a trade dispute
You're entitled to statutory sick pay if:
- your sickness started before the trade dispute began
- you're laid off because of a trade dispute elsewhere (that you aren't directly involved in)
You won't be entitled to statutory sick pay if you're already off work because you're involved in a trade dispute and then your illness starts. You might be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance instead.
If your employer refuses to pay your sick pay
If you’re not getting the pay you’re entitled to, for example if your employer says they can't afford to pay, you can take steps to get the money you’re owed.
If you think you’re entitled to statutory sick pay but your employer says you're not and refuses to pay it, you should contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or HMRC's Statutory Payments Disputes Team.
HMRC enquiry line
Telephone: 0300 200 3500
Textphone: 0300 200 3212
Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm
HMRC Statutory Payment Dispute Team
Telephone: 0300 322 9422
Textphone: 0300 200 3212
Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm
Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm
Your call is likely to be free of charge if you have a phone deal that includes free calls to landlines - find out more about calling 030 numbers.
If you need more help at any stage, contact your nearest Citizens Advice.
If you’re not entitled to sick pay
If you can’t get sick pay, check what benefits you might be entitled to.
If your employer says you’re not entitled to sick pay, ask them to give you a written explanation of their reasons. They should give you this on a form called Statutory sick pay and an employee's claim for benefit (SSP1). They should give you this within 7 days of you going off sick. You’ll need the SSP1 form to claim benefits.
They should also give you back any doctor's notes you gave them.
If your employer doesn’t give you form SSP1 there are 2 steps to take:
Step 1: request a written statement
If your employer hasn’t given you form SSP1, ask them for a written statement explaining why you can’t get Statutory Sick Pay. You could also give them a copy of the form to fill in.
Step 2: contact HMRC
If you can’t get form SSP1 or a written statement from your employer, contact HMRC’s employees' enquiry line on 0300 200 3500. They’ll ask your employer why they think you’re not entitled to SSP.
You’ll need to have this information ready when you to talk to HMRC:
- your name, address and national insurance number
- your employer's name and contact details
- your payroll number
- details of when you were off sick and what your employer said when asked for sick pay and the SSP1 form