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Sick pay

Q: I am off sick at the moment as I am suffering from stress and anxiety. I can't face going back to school and have decided to hand in my notice. As an NQT, how much sick pay should I receive, and for how long?

A: Assuming you started teaching at the beginning of September, you will still not have completed one term's service. Although there are generous national terms for teachers' sick pay that most local authorities adhere to, they are graduated on your length of service. Thus, for teachers with less than four month's service you will receive 25 working days on full pay. After four month's service you would also have been entitled to an additional 75 days on half pay.

However, do not despair, you are also entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP).

This is paid to any employee for a maximum period of 28 weeks in any spell of sickness absence. It is paid after taking into account any other pay received. It is not paid for the 25 days you receive full pay.

If you are still unable to work after the 28 weeks are up, you may be entitled to state incapacity benefit. Your employer may have discretion to extend the length of time you receive sick pay, but unless you can make out a good case, they probably won't do so. However, if your employment ends when you are on sick pay, your benefits may also change depending upon why you left your employment. You should seek advice on this point.

As you are handing in your notice, you seem to have decided that you did not make the correct career choice. I am sure that has been a difficult decision, but it's wise to make it sooner rather than later.

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