Statutory Sick Pay: New briefing lifts the lid on the financial difficulty working people face when their sick pay doesn’t pay the bills.

A new analysis of the UK’s statutory sick pay arrangements has prompted calls from cancer and health charity CEOs for political parties to back improvements to statutory sick pay; as an estimated 250,000 workers living with cancer have been left without sufficient income to cover essential bills like rent and heating. 

Action Kidney Cancer is one of the organisations spearheading a joint effort by cancer and health charities to tackle the UK’s currently inadequate statutory sick pay arrangement, as a new policy briefing sheds light on the severe impact faced by thousands of people who are only eligible for statutory sick pay if they are unlucky enough to fall ill.

The call comes as workers with a cancer diagnosis shared stories of the impact of surviving on the UK’s very low legal minimum statutory sick pay and the personal difficulties they faced, including:

  • Clare, a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor who reported working from her hospital bed in between rounds of in-patient chemotherapy.
  • Tony, a leukaemia survivor who declared bankruptcy due to sick pay being insufficient to cover the bills.
  • Alan, a bowel cancer patient who received just statutory sick pay after 40 years of working and paying taxes, who was unable to provide for his family and had to rely on help from family and friends.

Join Clare, Alan and Tony in writing to your MP by clicking here.

The Cancer and Sick Pay Policy Brief estimates that of 127,000 people of working age diagnosed with cancer each year, 38,000 face a disastrous hit to their income, with the total number living with cancer who have been impacted estimated as at least 250,000 people. They are able to access just £116.75 a week statutory sick pay, or no sick pay at all if they work multiple jobs below the £130 a week earnings threshold. 

Read the Cancer and Sick Pay Policy Brief here: Cancer and Sick Pay Policy Brief


The Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University calculated that the income loss for people taking time off for cancer treatment in SSP could rise to tens of thousands of pounds in the worst case scenario. 

This would put a financially comfortable couple on two average salaries into significant financial difficulty, far below the minimum income standard (MIS) needed for a decent quality of life

Please take two minutes to support the campaign:

The Safe Sick Pay campaign is encouraging people to write to their MPs.

Anyone interested in finding out how they could join like minded people to take action and support this campaign can find out more here

The campaign was covered on ITV’s flagship morning news show, Good Morning Britain, on 23 April 2024:
There are also couple of pieces of national newspaper coverage: