one goes into a job thinking that they are going to be sick or unable to work for any reason. The mere idea of sitting in an interview and saying “Really, I’m only going to be here for the first two months because then I have a scheduled major illness that’s going to have me off sick for the rest of the year,” feels ridiculous.
Unfortunately, that’s a situation that can happen and does – and when it does it can be a complete financial disaster, especially for someone who is supporting a family and a mortgage with their salary.
Companies are under no obligation to provide a comprehensive sick pay scheme, and many just leave it up to the government-enforced Statutory Sick Pay scheme which, while better than a complete loss of income, doesn’t really do much to dent the average family monthly bills.
Wondering about income protection to help you? Here’re 7 little-known facts about sick pay and the great relief provided by income protection:
In the excitement of getting a new job, most new employers are ready to sign pretty much anything in their contract without ever reading it! High on their mind is salary, followed by holiday entitlement, but very few people check the company sick pay scheme before signing their work contract. A huge number of people who have been employed for more than six months still don’t know their company policy! Do you?
Like many additional finance products, many people think that income protection is out of their reach on their salary. As income protection is tailored to pay out based on that salary, the premiums are adjusted accordingly – meaning that it’s an affordable and sensible product no matter how much you earn! Far from being out of the reach of those on low salaries, income protection becomes even more of an accessible option.
A lot of people are put off by the “65% of salary” figure that is tied to income protection, assuming they are going to be thirty-five percent worse off if they fall ill. The reality is that all those taxes you have to pay while receiving a salary are irrelevant to income protection insurance and so the actual amount in the bank is a lot closer to your initial take-home pay.
Don’t assume that just because there is a sick pay scheme that you can take off a day for free. Increasingly company sick pay schemes are being adjusted to require more than a single day off before they kick in – presumably to stop all those hangover sick days and lazy tired TV skives! If you are the kind of person who takes a day here, and a day there to keep you peppy, you may find your pay-packet is lacking.
It is possible to make your income protection and your company sick pay scheme work in accordance with each other with some clever deferring (offsetting the start time to a time other than the first day of illness). If you have an occupational sick pay entitlement that lasts for the first three months of being ill, set your income protection to begin at its end. You’ll call on the insurance less (which substantially lowers the cost of it) and end up with a longer total period of cover – a win-win situation all round.
A lot of people believe that work sick pay follows some sort of national guideline, making it fairly immutable and not up for discussion. That’s not the case – your company can put into place any sick play scheme it needs provided it meets the legal minimum (which is statutory sick pay). This means that negotiating your sick pay can be done similar to any other negotiation (such as salary) you might have. There’s no rule saying your sick pay has to be configured identically to a colleague, or people in another department – so if you are not happy with it, consider speaking out.
One of the biggest problems with company sick pay schemes and even statutory sick pay, is their requirement that you be a contracted employee with the company. Income protection has no such need and can be purchased by anyone who is currently working. It is important that you can provide your proof of income so that you don’t take out an incorrect level of income protection, but other than that there are no barriers in your way.
Don’t feel that your depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue is in any way less acceptable for a period of time off work than a broken leg or bout of pneumonia. Mental health conditions are considered equally valid for calling on your income protection cover as any physical issue and are dealt with in a similar fashion.
So, don’t hide and suffer in silence if you are feeling unwell, contact your insurer and take the time you need to fully recover.
One of the problems with sick pay systems that fail to provide financial cover for the first day is that of transferable illnesses – such as a cold. Stay at home for a couple of days while you are feeling bunged up and miserable, and no one at work can catch your lurgy – but force yourself into work and you offer your germs up to everyone you encounter, potentially making multiple people sick and temporarily decimating the work force.
Remember this argument when you go to renegotiate your sick pay situation, it may be the winning one!
This one really goes without saying, but as specialists in income protection, especially income protection for the self-employed, we at QQL are experts in finding the right income protection deal to suit you.
Don’t delay until you are sick and no longer entitled to set up an insurance policy to guard against it – put your income protection cover in place today and relax, safe in the knowledge that if disaster ever struck, that you would be financially protected from it.
Give us a call or fill in our contact form to have one of our expert advisors phone you for a chat at a time more convenient to you.
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