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Are you on sick leave?

Do you have entitlement to contractual sick pay or will it be statutory sick pay only?

When you are off sick, firstly check your contractual/statutory entitlements with your employer. If possible try to get dates of when any sick pay or entitlements will end.

If you are off sick, have a substantive contract, and have a certain amount of income per week, you will have entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for 28 weeks from your fourth day of sickness. 

If you have entitlement to ‘full’ contractual pay, your employer will use the SSP as a component part of your full pay. 

If you are on reduced contractual pay and still within the 28 week period, you will need to check if they will use the SSP as a component part or if they will pay it on top of your reduced pay. 

If you are on nil contractual pay, SSP will be the only payment you will receive.  

A benefit called Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can in most cases be claimed when SSP runs out at 28 weeks. Your employer will need to provide you with an SSP1 transfer form to enable you to make a claim.

More information on SSP and ESA can be found at (universal credit may apply in some areas; the job centre will confirm if this is the case).

Important: SSP can be affected by previous periods of sickness in some cases.

Check your benefit entitlement

If you are not employed, or your pay is reducing, check for possible benefit entitlement. 

Online calculators can be helpful, such as those on the Turn2us website or the Entitled To website. They will give you an idea of possible entitlements depending on your circumstance. 

You can also visit your local Job Centre or call the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) directly on 0800 055 6688 nearer the time of the reduction in pay.

Is PIP a consideration for you?

Personal Independence Payment provides an extra income to assist in meeting some of the extra costs of living with a disability or long term health condition.  

You are able to claim the benefit whether you are in or out of work as it is non means tested and is awarded on the basis of your ability to manage the tasks of everyday living. Qualification will depend on the extent to which your condition affects you. 

More information on Personal Independence Payment can be found here:

Facing the possibility of ill health retirement?

The RCN has advice on NHS ill health retirement application and appeal process. If you suffer from permanent ill health that affects your employment you may be facing the possibility of having to consider ill health retirement. The guide gives advice for before, during and after the application process.

Non-members can access a fact sheet on ill health retirement on the NHS Business Services Authority website.

For private pension schemes you will need to contact the scheme provider to establish the provisions and processes of that particular scheme.

Need further advice?

If you would like further advice on this subject, contact the lamplight team.

If you have an appointment booked with us, preparing will help you get the best from it.

0345 772 6100  

8:30am - 8:30pm, 7 days a  week

How to access the service

To speak with someone about the Lamplight service and schedule a telephone appointment:

  • RCN members can call RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100;
  • Individuals not in RCN membership can call 0345 772 6200.

Lines are open 8:30am - 8:30pm, 7 days a week

Before booking an appointment, look at our advice guides further down the page. You may find the answer to your query there without the need of an appointment.

How to prepare for an appointment

After you have booked an appointment we need you to complete the pre-appointment questionnaire. This will provide us with the information necessary to give you advice specific to your circumstances. Do not complete the questionnaire before booking an appointment.

At the time of your appointment make sure you are somewhere that you can receive a call and speak in confidence. We will text you a reminder of your appointment before your appointment. 

How to cancel an appointment

Please cancel your appointment if you can’t make it so someone else can have it. You can cancel by:

  • Replying “CANCEL” to the text message that you receive confirming the time of your appointment.
  • Emailing with your name and time of appointment.

To rebook follow the instructions within “how to access the service” detailed above.

Pre-appointment questionnaire

Complete after you have booked your appointment.