Understanding Your Rights to Sick Pay

If you’ve fallen ill or been injured and you can’t work, you should be entitled to statutory sick pay.

This can be taken by nearly all workers who have become unwell due to something inside or outside the workplace.

You may choose to claim for compensation if you’ve suffered either an injury from an accident in the workplace, or have been diagnosed with an industrial disease. If you’d like to know more, speak to one of our legal advisors about your situation.

What is sick pay?

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is the legal amount many employers must pay their workers who are too ill or injured to work.

Government guidelines say the minimum payment is £92.05 per week for up to 28 weeks. All employers can offer more as a private policy, but none can offer less.

How does sick pay work?

You’ll receive sick pay during any days that you would normally work, in lieu of your full-time pay. You’ll still pay tax and national insurance on that wage, so you might not see the full £92.05 in your account.

You won’t be paid sick pay until up to your fourth consecutive day of illness. Many companies offer a private scheme of full pay for a set number of days, so if you’re unsure about when you should receive sick pay, check your contract or talk to your HR department or office manager.

Do I need to provide and proof of sickness?

A 'fit note’ can be given by your doctor free of charge. These notes outline the central illness or injury, and will say if your doctor believes you’re ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for work’.

Your employer can’t request that you provide a fit note until you’ve been ill for seven days. If you choose to get one from your doctor before the seven-day period has passed, you may have to pay the doctor for it.

Many workplaces also have a self-declaration form where you’ll fill out when you were ill and became better, and the details of your illness.

If you have been ill or injured for less than four days, you may have to fill one in even if you don’t receive any sick pay.

If you are off work for between four and seven days, you will almost certainly need to fill in a self-declaration form to coincide with your statutory sick payments.

Why haven't I been paid any sick pay?

While many people should get sick pay, there may be some circumstances where you don’t get any payment:

  • You earn less than £116 per week: Only those who earn over this threshold qualify for Statutory Sick Pay.
  • You missed your notification deadline: Most employers have a deadline by which you must tell them that you are unwell. If you fail to notify your employer during this timescale (or within seven days if there isn’t a guideline) they may not have to pay you any sick pay.
  • You’ve exceeded the limit: If you are absent from work due to sickness or injury for more than 28 weeks, you will not qualify for any more sick pay.
  • You are receiving maternity pay: Those who are currently being paid maternity pay will not qualify for sick pay.
  • You have had a long-lasting linked period of sickness: If you have an illness that requires you to be absent from work for four or more days at a time, over continuous periods of eight weeks or less, you’ll only be paid for up to three years. After this time frame, you will no longer be eligible

Agency workers are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.

Are there any other payments I could be owed?

If you don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay, or your illness or injury is particularly severe, you may be entitled to certain benefits.

The best way to find out is to go to a Job Centre, or you can apply using the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for those who are not eligible for sick pay.

For those who have become seriously injured and will expect to be unable to fulfil daily living tasks, you may consider applying for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

It’s designed to give financial help to those struggling with a health condition or disability. This payment may also continue when you have returned to work, if you qualify.

Was your illness or injury caused in a workplace?

If you were injured or became ill because of an accident at work, you may be able to claim for compensation. Your employer must still pay your sick pay if you choose to start a claim, and they cannot discriminate against you if and when you return to work.

You can contact First4Lawyers to find out if your case is eligible for a No Win No Fee claim.

Only pay a fee if you receive compensation

Our No Win No Fee solicitors will take a success fee from the compensation you are awarded for a successful claim in the form of a percentage of your damages. This could be up to 25% but it won't be more than that, except in cases of road traffic accidents and housing disrepair. Changing laws mean our solicitors will now take a payment of 35% of the final compensation amount plus VAT for all road traffic accident and housing disrepair claims.

First4Lawyers are an award-winning claims management company with a track record of delivering service that our clients love.

More about industrial disease and accidents at work


Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances and not rely on First4Lawyers’ online information alone.


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