Are self employed entitled to statutory sick pay? What are my benefit options as a self employed worker if I am sick or injured and unable to work?
Self-employed professionals in the UK are not entitled to statutory sick pay.
One of the downsides of taking charge of your career and being self-employed is that you are not entitled to statutory sick pay from an employer if an illness or injury prevents you from working.
This means that self employed professionals will need to rely on their savings and/or take out appropriate insurance if they can’t work else they will need to try and apply for other government benefits.
In the past, all self employed people that are unable to work or were forced to reduce their hours and earnings may have been able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support.
However, the new Universal Credit scheme has turned the old benefits system on its head. It’s gradually being rolled out across the country, and the benefits that you were once able to claim separately are now lumped together under the name of ‘Universal Credit’.
Universal Credit payments now include:
When applying for Universal Credit it can take up to 5 weeks to receive your first payment. In some unfortunate cases while the scheme is in its early days, it has taken longer than 5 weeks for claimants to receive their payments.
Government benefits aren’t the only solution for the self employed without sick pay or adequate savings to meet their financial commitments.
There are two useful insurance products for self employed workers that can give them financial support if an illness or injury prevents them from working.
Self Employed Income Protection is an insurance product that you can use to protect your income if you are unable to work as a result of injury or illness. With this type of insurance, you can claim up to 70% of your usual income in the form of monthly benefits.
Unlike Critical Illness Cover, Income Protection Insurance will cover any health problems you may have as long as they prevent you from working. A definition of incapacity is used to determine whether you are entitled to claim on your policy, with different incapacity definitions used to adjust the comprehensiveness of your policy’s cover.
Make sure you get an own occupation definition of incapacity, which means you’ll be able to claim long as your health problem prevents you from working in your specific role.
Policyholders can also decide on the maximum length of their claims. Choosing Long Term Income Protection allows you to claim these benefits until you reach retirement age if you need them, while Short Term Income Protection will pay out for a maximum of only 2 years.
Critical Illness Insurance pays out a lump sum in the event that the policyholder is diagnosed with a critical illness.
Insurers offer a set list of conditions with the agreement that if you are diagnosed with one of the conditions included on the list, they will pay out a lump sum. The number of conditions that insurers cover can range anywhere between 40 and 100, although the quality of a policy can be found in the definitions of critical illnesses covered by the policy rather than just the number.
One of the main weaknesses of Critical Illness Cover is that it only covers a set list of serious illnesses, leaving you unprotected for a lot of illnesses or accidents that could keep you out of work.
To protect your income while you are unable to work, we would typically recommend Income Protection to replace a lack of sick pay. It can cover your important expenses and can be claimed for any type of health problem that meets your policy’s definition of incapacity.
Applying for Income Protection when you’re younger can help you save money on your policy. The cost of Income Protection depends mostly on your risk of claiming, so policyholders that are young and healthy non-smokers can expect to pay a lot less for their policy than someone who is older and perhaps not in great health.
Policyholders can also lock in the cost of their policy by choosing guaranteed premiums. Guaranteed premiums are fixed at the start of your policy and wont’ change in price unless you decide to adjust your policy’s cover.
We started Drewberry because we were tired of being treated like a number and not getting the service we all deserve when it comes to things as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to let us help.
Drew was incredibly helpful all the way along and very responsive and patient with any questions I had (which were many). He was able to get me a much better deal on my new health insurance than I had been able to get online. A success all round!