Claiming Sick Pay When You’re Self-Employed

It’s almost inevitable that at some point in your working career you’ll need to take some time off due to sickness. When you work for an employer, you may still receive full pay or at least a portion of it when you’re under the weather, but what happens when you’re self-employed? Is it just a case of accepting the missed income or is there anything you can claim? Keep reading to find out all you need to know about being self-employed and sick pay.

If you’re self-employed, are you entitled to sick pay?

If you’re off sick for few days with the common cold or a sickness bug, the short answer is no, you won’t be able to get sick pay. In this case, it’s best to save up and have a rainy-day fund available to help you out on months where you’re short on what you’d usually earn due to illness, lack of work, etc. However, if you’re long-term sick due to a disability or health condition, you may be able to get a type of sick pay from the government.

ESA and self-employment

You can apply for employment and support allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that impacts your ability to work. This can help you with living costs and provide support for you to return to work if and when you’re able.

Criteria for ESA

As with any form of benefit, there are certain criteria you’ll need to fit to be able to get ESA, you’ll need to:

  • Be under state pension age
  • Have a disability or health condition that impacts how much you can work
  • Have worked as an employee or been self-employed
  • Have paid enough National Insurance over the past two to three years
  • Not be claiming statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay or jobseeker’s allowance too

How much ESA will I get?

How much ESA you’ll get will depend on a variety of factors, including what stage your application is at, your age and your ability to go back to work. Here’s a handy table to give you a quick overview of ESA and self-employment amounts:

Status:Amount you can claim per week:
Under 25 and under assessmentUp to £59.20
Over 25 and under assessmentUp to £74.70
Work-related group (fit enough to return to work in the future)Up to £74.70
Support group (not fit enough to return to work)Up to £114.10

It’s worth noting that the assessment period takes around 13 weeks. If your claim is successful, payments will be made into your bank account every two weeks.

How do I claim sick pay when I’m self-employed?

In order to claim ESA, you’ll need to fill out the claim form on the GOV.UK website. To support your form you’ll also need to provide: your national insurance number; bank or building society account number; doctor’s name, address and phone number; income details and the proposed end date to your Statutory Sick Pay if you’re currently claiming it.

There you have it, that’s our guide to being self-employed and sick pay. Where you won’t be able to claim for shorter term illnesses, there is support available if you’re long-term ill. For shorter illnesses and when things go wrong, it’s a good idea to have savings to cover you and make up any shortcomings.

Looking for more self-employed advice? Check out our self-employed allowable expenses list, next.