During your cancer treatment you may need some time off of work. This could be the odd day, couple of weeks or a few months. It's important you know where you stand when it comes to sick pay.
Will I get sick pay?
Contractual sick pay (sometimes called occupational sick pay)
Check your contract or organisation’s guidance to see if you are entitled to contractual sick pay – many employers will pay your full wages for a certain period whilst you are off sick, sometimes followed by another period on reduced wages.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you aren’t entitled to contractual sick pay you should be able to get statutory sick pay of £99.35 per week for up to 28 weeks starting from the fourth day you are off sick, so long as:
- You’re an employee rather than self-employed; and
- Your average earnings in the period leading up to going off sick have been at least £123 per week.
If you get contractual sick pay and it then stops before 28 weeks, you should be able to get SSP for the rest of the 28 week period.
If your employer thinks that you aren’t eligible for SSP they should give you a form SSP1 explaining why not. If you aren’t happy with the situation and can’t resolve things with your employer you can contact HMRC’s Statutory Payment Dispute Team on 0300 322 9422.
Other financial support
If you aren’t eligible for SSP (for example because you are self-employed) you may be able to get new style Employment Support Allowance, depending on your National Insurance contributions in the previous two to three years. New style ESA is a contributory benefit, so isn’t means-tested (based on your income). It will normally pay an initial amount of £61.05 per week if you are under 25 years old or £77 per week if you are 25 or older. These amounts may increase after 13 weeks.
If you are terminally ill then you should get new style ESA of £117.60 as soon as you claim.
Depending on your income from other sources and also the amount of your savings and other capital, it may also be worth claiming Universal Credit, which can provide a top up to your income even when you are getting sick pay.