How long does NHS sick pay last?

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As with many NHS benefits, the amount of sick pay you are entitled to increases with length of service. In your first year of service you start with one month of full pay and two months worth of 50% pay, gradually increasing to six months of full pay and a further six months of half pay after five years of service.

The table below outlines how sick pay allowances increase over time:

Length of serviceSick pay entitlement
Up to 12 monthsOne month of 100% pay, two months of 50% pay
Up to two yearsTwo months of 100% pay, two months of 50% pay
Up to three yearsFour months of 100% pay, four months of 50% pay
Up to five yearsFive months of 100% pay and five months of 50% pay
At least 5 yearsSix months of 100% pay and six months of 50% pay

As with most other entitlements, the length of service does not need to be continuous; a slightly different calculation called reckonable pay is used. For example, you could work for an NHS hospital for two years, work in the private sector for a year, then come back to the NHS for two years and you would have four total years of service to consider when working out your sick pay entitlement.

Your employer will take into account any periods of sickness due to ill-health in the immediately preceding 12 months when working out how much sick pay you have left. For example, if you started your first year of NHS service in January, and took a month off due to illness in February, you might only receive 50% pay for further time off that year.

What happens if I’m injured at work in the NHS?

If you’re ill or injured because of something that happened at work (for example, if you were injured in an accident), the general rules around sick pay still apply. If you are able to recover before your full pay entitlement runs out, there is nothing further offered as standard by the NHS in terms of support – although you might want to consider legal action of your own if you feel your organisation has been negligent or put your in harm’s way.

If you take longer to recover than your entitlement to full sick pay covers, you might be eligible for “top up” payments through the NHS Injury Allowance scheme. This provides financial support for staff with longer-term issues which have clearly been caused by their work, with additional funding up to 85% of their usual salary.

Claims via the Injury Allowance scheme are assessed on an individual basis and may take some time to process. There is more information on the Injury Allowance scheme on the NHS Employers website.

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