Are you on sick leave?

COVID-19 and your finances

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the government's response, some information on this page may have changed. 

Please check our COVID-19 and your finances page for the most up to date information.

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. Further details on eligibility can be found here.

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 qualifying period, you will need to check if they will use the SSP as a component part of your reduced pay 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.  

What happens when my SSP runs out?

If you are still signed unfit to work by a GP when SSP runs out following 28 weeks of payment, you may qualify to claim an earnings replacement benefit through the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). You would look to claim either Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance.

Universal Credit is a means tested benefit and takes into account your personal circumstance, any access to other income, savings and capital. New Style Employment and Support Allowance is based on your national insurance contribution record over the last 2 – 3 years. The only income that can affect payment of New Style ESA is pensionable income but it would be dependent on the amount of pension you receive.

In order to apply for either benefit you will need to submit an SSP1 Form to the DWP. Your employer should send you this form by the beginning of the 23rd week if your sickness is expected to extend beyond your entitlement to SSP. If you have not received your SSP1 transfer form by the 23rd week of receiving SSP you should follow up on this by contacting your employer.

More information on Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit can be found on the government's website here.

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 try calling them. Details on how to contact your local Job Centre can be found here.

Are Personal Independence Payments (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 the 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.

Contact the RCN 

You can contact the RCN on 0345 772 6100. (Lines are open 9am - 5pm on weekdays, and 9am - 4pm on weekends.)

LiveChat is available until 8.30 weekdays, or you can e-mail anytime.

Before contacting the service, we encourage you to view the advice guides located above, as these may answer your query without the need to wait for an appointment.

If you do need to speak with someone about the Lamplight Support Service call:

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

Once you've booked an appointment, please remember to complete our pre-appointment questionnaire.

Pre-appointment questionnaire

Once you've booked an appointment, you'll need to complete the pre-appointment questionnaire.