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Strike benefit claim

If your employer has deducted your pay because you took RCN strike action you can claim strike benefit for each day you took part.

When you take part in RCN strike action, the strike benefit is there to help limit the financial impact of withdrawing your labour. 

To receive strike benefit, you must: 

  • have been a paid member of the RCN when you took part in strike action. You cannot claim strike benefit if you were in arrears with your RCN membership when you went on strike. This is because the strike benefit is part of your membership benefits. 
  • have taken part in strike action for the duration of strike action called in a day, even if official strike hours are shorter than a full working day, at an employer where strike action was formally called.
  • have had your pay deducted due to striking and be able to show us evidence of this.  

Submit one claim for each round of strike action you took part in

To help us process your claim, please complete one claim for each round of strike action you took part in. For example, if you went on strike for two days in January and one day in April, you will need to submit two claims – one for January and one for April.

If you work for more than one employer, and you took strike action against multiple employers during the same round, you will need to complete one claim per employer.

How do I submit my claim?  

Permanent staff

To complete your claim, fill in the form on the next page. You will need:

  • a payslip that shows your pay was deducted due to strike action
  • basic information about your working hours. 

Images of work rotas, systems used to book leave, or other applications that show you were absent due to strike action cannot be submitted without a payslip. We need to legally demonstrate that your pay was deducted by your employer. This means you may have to wait to receive a payslip or similar documentation. 

Bank workers 

If you’re a bank worker, you won’t be able to provide evidence that your pay has been deducted in the same way as other staff. Contact us at and we'll advise you on how to claim.

Any information you share with us will be encrypted and stored securely and will only be visible to our staff for the purposes of handling your claim. Your claim will always be subject to the RCN’s Privacy Policy. 

When can I submit my claim?

Your claim must be submitted within three months of the pay date on the payslip you are submitting.

Payment of your claim

If we can approve your claim based on the information you share with us, we’ll aim to pay your benefit within 28 days of your submission. If we need clarification or additional documentation to verify your claim, the process may take longer. Please read our guidance below to ensure you submit everything we need.

Other frequently asked questions

In order to be paid strike benefit, you will need to have already taken strike action and be able to demonstrate that your salary for that day/ those days has been deducted from your pay. Therefore, it is not possible to claim strike benefit in advance of taking strike action.

Strike income is not treated as income for benefits purposes, so you can claim strike benefit without it impacting on any of the benefits you currently claim. If you lose pay because your labour is withdrawn, the DWP regulations provide that you should still be treated as having the same earnings. If this happens, your benefits levels should remain the same. In some situations you may find that your benefits are recalculated to take into account the reduction in earnings. If you are concerned about the impact of strike action on your benefits entitlement, please contact the RCN Welfare Service

If you’re an agency worker, you would only be eligible for strike benefit if:

  • you’re employed by an NHS employer and
  • you take part in lawful industrial action on a day when you were rostered to work and
  • you withdraw your labour accordingly

For further details, please see the RCN Industrial Action Handbook.

It might be that your employer has reduced the number of hours you worked in that month, which has altered the calculation of your final pay for the month. This is not acceptable. Employers have a legal obligation to clearly show what the deduction from your pay is - this must be shown on your payslip (or by a direct communication to you, either a letter or email).

It should clearly state that your pay has been deducted for the day of strike action you have taken. The maximum pay deduction for each strike day for salaried staff working under AfC terms is 1/365th of their annual salary if paid weekly or 1/12th of salary divided by the number of days in that calendar month rule if paid monthly (unless a local variation to AfC applies), as they can on any other strike day. You can use the template letters here to challenge unclear or incorrect deductions with your employer. You can also contact for help.