Taking a Sick Day When You’re Self-Employed

Some people take pride in the fact that they never take sick days. Of course, this sounds great for companies, but the true fact is that they end up spreading their illness to other employees, especially when they are trapped in the same office all day.

If you are self-employed you don’t have that problem, in fact, if you work from home you’ll never have to phone in sick again! However, no-one is superhuman, you are still going to get sick even if you work from home. Once this happens you’ll need to have a plan of action.

Budget for loss of earnings

If you are self-employed you won’t receive any payments when you are ill. There’s no boss to pay your salary and no Statutory Sick Pay you are entitled to.

Sometimes you may have a common cold and be able to push through and still get some work done, but sometimes illness can be too much. This is where budgeting for lost days of earnings becomes useful.

Putting some money away each month is a great idea to budget for days where you might not be able to work. Not only is this handy to have, but it can also be used for days where you aren’t sick but are not available e.g. while travelling back from a holiday, or the day after when you eventually unpack!

Find some cover

If you only have a few things to do on a day when you’re sick then it could be worth asking a family member or a close friend for help. They may not be as used to the work as you are, but you may be able to coach them through it enough that it gets you through the day.

Having a couple of emergency freelancers that you trust could also be useful if you want to avoid disappointing your clients. Yes, this will cost money, but if there is a pressing deadline that you can’t afford to miss, a freelancer could help you hit it.

Let your clients know

Communicating with your clients is always key and nobody is immune to getting ill. If you have a good working relationship with your clients, they will likely be sympathetic to the situation. If you have pressing deadlines, a compromise could be worked out or even an extension made to the finish date.

If you don’t give your clients a heads up then they may start to wonder what’s going on, especially if they’re used to the steady workflow.

Focus on getting better

It’s important not to rush getting better. By now, most of us will roughly know how long it takes to get over a cold. If you manage to get some light work done, that’s great, but if you push yourself too much, you’ll likely only lengthen your illness by trying to ‘fight through it’.

Are you currently self-employed and running into this problem? What are you doing about it? Powering on or taking some time off? Let us know in the comments section below. We love hearing your thoughts.


Elizabeth Hughes

An SEO Copywriter and Content Creator. After more than ten years of enjoying myself by turning difficult subjects into elegant, simple language, I still can't believe I get paid for this.