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Getting money when you're off work sick

This advice applies to England

If you’re entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) when you’re off work sick, you can get £89.35 per week for up to 28 weeks.

But you won’t get it for the first 3 days you’re off sick, unless you’ve already had it for another period of sickness within the last 8 weeks.

Your employer might pay you more than the statutory amount (this is called contractual sick pay), so you should always check with them. You might get this from your first day off sick. 

Contractual sick pay can’t be less than £89.35 per week.

To get sick pay you’ll need to follow your employer’s rules.

What extra money you could be entitled to

If your income is reduced while you’re off work sick, you might be able to claim benefits like housing benefit. You can use our benefits checker to check what you might be entitled to.

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

You can contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help claiming benefits. 

If you already get benefits, including tax credits

You’ll still get tax credits when you’re getting sick pay.

Some benefits might increase while your pay is less than usual. Tell the department that pay you about your illness to see if you are entitled to more.

Get a tax refund

You might be able get a tax refund if you've been off sick.

You still pay tax and National Insurance when you get sick pay so if your pay is less  than usual you might end up paying too much tax and can get some back.

Using your holiday pay

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

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

You’ll need to talk to your employer about it as they don’t have to let you.

Example

You’ve been off sick for 6 months and aren't likely to return to work for another month. Your contract says you’re entitled to be off sick on full pay for 6 months and then on half pay for a further 6 months. You ask to take the next 4 weeks as holiday, so you receive full pay instead of half pay.

When your sick pay ends

If you have a long-term illness and your sick pay is coming to an end, you might be able to get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Check if you’re eligible for ESA.

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

If you’re not getting the sick pay you’re entitled to

There are steps you can take to get money you’re owed if you’re not getting contractual sick pay you're entitled to.

Try speaking to your employer if you think your statutory sick pay is wrong - ask them to explain how they’ve worked it out. The rules can be tricky. 

If you’re not happy with your employer’s explanation, you should contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

HMRC employees' enquiry line

Telephone: 0300 200 3500
Textphone: 0300 200 3212

Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.

Calls can cost up to 12p a minute from landlines, and between 3p and 45p a minute from mobiles.

If you need more help at any stage, contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

If you're having money problems, you can:

If you need more help, you can get advice from your nearest Citizens Advice.

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