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Standards and regulation

Sick leave and sick pay

When you are unwell and cannot attend work, you might be worried about attending meetings with your employer, how you will manage on less money, or how and when you will be able to return to work.

Our advice can help you.

Sick pay

Your sick pay entitlements will be in your employment contract.  

If you don't receive contractual sick pay, find out about statutory sick pay (SSP) at

Read section 14 of Agenda for Change if you work in the NHS.

If you are an agency worker, or are unsure about your entitlements, our sickness advice guide can help. 

See our financial wellbeing resources if you need practical help with managing your finances, benefits or tax credits while off sick.

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Meeting your employer

It is normal to meet with your employer during sick leave. 

Read your employer's sickness absence policy so that you are well prepared for any meeting. 

Our comprehensive sickness advice guide will help you understand what both you and your employer should do while you are off sick, and when you need to contact us. 

Work-related stress

If you are on sick leave due to work-related stress, it is important your employer knows the reason why and that this is documented in your fit note. 

Your employer has a duty of care. They should do everything reasonable to protect your health, safety and wellbeing.

Read our short guide on coping with stress, and remember that our Counselling service can help you deal with difficulties at work.

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Working with a disability

If you have a long-term condition that is classed as a disability, find out what enforceable legal rights the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 provides to people with disabilities. 

We have some useful guidance on managing your career around ill health or disability. The RCN Peer Support Service also offers members advice and coaching to assist with disability related issues that impact upon your ability to remain in, or return to, nursing. 

If you have been disabled due to an injury at work, find out more about Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

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