Money Wellness
illustrated man sick in bed
category icondebts
calendar icon20 Mar 2024

Sick leave harming personal finances: what are your options?

Sick leave lasting four or more weeks are having a serious impact on the nation’s personal finances, data from debt management firm EuroDebt reveals.

This type of sick leave makes up for 20% of total sickness workplace leave in the UK.

Why is sick leave affecting finances?

While workers are somewhat protected by UK law, long sick leave absences can have a serious effect on savings, investments and other aspects of personal finances for individuals and households both.

If someone eligible for sick pay, an employer must pay them the what sick pay is listed in their contracts. For many, this will be Statutory Sick Pay.

But even with sick pay, a long-term sick leave can drain a person’s finances as it likely won’t cover their usual wage.

Kevin Still, EuroDebt director, said, “The impact on those who may have to take unexpected leave due to ill health can be very significant. Monthly bills and saving and investment commitments need to be paid.

“This may be particularly acute if the household counts on extra income from the partner working part time where one family member’s illness could have an effect on the status quo.”

 Eurodebt found that Stress due to heavy workloads is the biggest reason for long-term absences amongst non manual staff.

On sick leave, the opportunity to earn overtime shrinks and other non-standard payments stop.

For freelancers and the self-employed, it can be even worse.

If you’re on long term sick leave

If you’re currently on a longer term of sick leave, there may be some financial help available.

Firstly, if you’re eligible for sick pay but haven’t been paid anything from your employer, make sure you ask them to.

Check if you’re eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.

Statutory Sick Pay usually lasts for 28 weeks, and is paid at a rate of £109.40 a week.

If you're self employed and temporarily unable to work due to illness, check if you have made enough national insurance contributions to qualify for New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

If your employer refuses to pay you

Contact the HMRC Statutory Payment Dispute Team.

If your Statutory Sick Pay has run out, you might be able to claim certain benefits.

Check what benefits you’re eligible for.

 Debt help

Our free debt advice is available to people all over the UK, online or over the phone. We’ll go through your finances in detail and explain your options. 


Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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