Cancer and sick pay entitlement
If you work for an employer and take time off sick because of cancer, you may be able to get sick pay.
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – this is money that most workers get if they are too sick to work. If your employer cannot provide anything through a company scheme, they should still pay you SSP.
- Occupational or company sick pay – this is your employer’s own sick pay scheme. Check your contract to find out what you are entitled to. It may be more generous than SSP or paid on top of it. Some employers offer full pay up to a certain time.
You can get SSP if you:
- are off work sick for 4 days in a row or more (including non-working days)
- earn at least the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) a week on average
- tell your employer that you are sick before their deadline or within 7 days if they do not have one.
Your employer will pay you SSP for up to 28 weeks.
Before your SSP is due to end, your employer should give you a form called SSP1. This form will tell you when the last payment will be. You will need this form if you want to apply for a benefit called Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Speak to your line manager or HR manager to find out what sick pay is offered, and how you can claim it.
There is more information about how to claim for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) on the GOV.UK website.
To qualify for sick pay, you will need to tell your employer you are sick. Your company may have rules or policies about when and how you tell your manager.
If there are no rules of policies, you will need to tell your employer within a week of the first day you are sick, to qualify for SSP. Your employer does not have to pay SSP for any days before this.
After a week, your employer can ask you to provide medical evidence (such as a fit note). They may need this to give you company sick pay or SSP.
You do not have to tell your employer you have cancer if you do not want to. Call our Work Support Service on 0808 808 00 00 to find out how we can support you.
If you are self-employed, you will not get sick pay. But you can still apply for other benefits if you cannot work or your income decreases. For example, if you lose some of your income, you may be able to get:
If you already get certain benefits such as Housing Benefit or tax credits, you should get advice before applying for Universal Credit. These benefits will stop, and you may get less money if you apply. You can speak to our welfare rights advisers on 0808 808 00 00.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our financial help and benefits information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at email@example.com
GOV.UK www.gov.uk (accessed January 2021).
Benefits and pension rates 2021 to 2022. www.gov.uk/government/publications/benefit-and-pension-rates-2021-to-2022/benefit-and-pension-rates-2021-to-2022 (accessed January 2021).
nidirect.gov.uk www.nidirect.gov.uk (accessed January 2021).
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by Macmillan professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Sean Conroy, Macmillan Welfare Rights and Energy Advice Team Service Manager.
Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.