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Check if you're entitled to sick pay

This advice applies to England

If you work (and aren’t self-employed), you’re legally entitled to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as long as you:

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.

If you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus 

The government have ended the laws about self-isolating. This means you don't legally have to self-isolate, but the government still recommend you self-isolate if you test positive for coronavirus.

If you’re able to work, you don’t have the right to get SSP just because you’re self-isolating or you’ve got coronavirus. It’s worth speaking to your employer - they might agree to let you take paid sick leave.

If you’re too ill to work, the normal rules about getting SSP apply.

Check your contract

If you're entitled to statutory sick pay, you can get £99.35 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.

Who isn’t entitled to Statutory Sick Pay

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)

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.

Common issues

You're pregnant 

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.

If you don’t qualify you might be able to get pension credit and other benefits like Attendance Allowance.

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
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