The sick pay scheme for medical professionals within the NHS is provided based on the length of service of the individual. While the length of service seems a fair way of distributing benefits to employees, it can make the process of buying income protection insurance a little tricky.
Income protection is an insurance policy that pays out a regular income if an individual is unable to carry out their job due to an accident or ill health. It is designed to kick in once the employer stops paying sick pay, meaning they can expect the same standard of living while they recover. You can read more about it in our article 'Income protection insurance - Do you really need it?'.
However, because sick pay in the NHS is based on length of service and the amount of sick pay an individual receives increases with each year of service, a standard income protection policy doesn't quite fit the bill. It means that someone could end up having to adjust the cover multiple times or even re-apply or else face paying more than they need to for the cover.
Luckily there is a solution in the form of a specialist NHS income protection policy, a product that is designed to be flexible and adjusts as your benefits adjust. Below we reveal the best and cheapest place to buy it, as well as how to get up to £100 cashback.
NHS sick pay - How long is it paid for?
Sick pay in the NHS is based on the length of your service. If you are in your first year of service, you will receive full pay for one month, followed by half pay for two months, paid by your employer. State benefits including Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) start being included in your sick pay from the fourth day of sickness absence and continue for up to 28 weeks and later you may qualify for the employment and support allowance and/or universal credit. The sick pay benefits are increased with each year of service up to a maximum benefit of six months full pay, followed by six months half pay (after six years of service) providing up to 12 months of income replacement. Any long-term illness that lasts longer than 12 months is assessed individually.
We have provided a table below which explains NHS sick pay benefits based on the length of service.
NHS sick pay benefits according to length of service
|If you become sick:||Full pay paid for:||Half pay paid for:|
|1st year of service||1 month||2 months|
|2nd year of service||2 months||2 months|
|3rd year of service||4 months||4 months|
|4th and 5th year of service||5 months||5 months|
|From the 6th year of service||6 months||6 months|
As you can see from the table above, the sick pay benefits change with each year of service and so you would ideally need an income protection policy that is flexible and changes in line with your benefits.
The best income protection policy for NHS workers
Insurance companies are getting better at understanding their customers and there have been some positive changes in recent years thanks to increased competition and improving technology. It has meant that insurers have had to be more creative in terms of the policies that they offer and one such policy is a specialist Income Protection policy specifically designed for those that work in a medical profession within the NHS service.
What is Income Protection for NHS medical professionals?
Income protection for NHS medical professionals is a specialist insurance policy that is specifically designed to pay out in line with work sick pay arrangements through NHS employers. Normally, when you buy Income Protection insurance you are required to select a 'deferred period', which is the period after which the policy would payout. As most employers have a fixed sick pay policy, an individual would normally select the 'deferred period' that best fits their contract of employment.
However, with a specialist Income Protection policy designed for NHS medical professionals, the policy automatically adapts each year and guarantees to pay out in full, meaning that you never have to amend your policy, therefore, ensuring you are always fully covered.
How do I get Income Protection for NHS medical professionals?
In order to qualify for Income Protection for NHS medical professionals, you would need to:
- Work in a medical profession in the UK, with a sick pay entitlement that exactly matches the NHS sick pay structure
- Be registered, or provisionally registered, with the General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council or General Dental Council
- Have a current license to practise in the UK (If you are a doctor or surgeon)
How does Income Protection for NHS medical professionals work?
Income Protection for NHS medical professionals is flexible in that it adapts each year in line with your benefits. This means you do not have to amend your cover and you will never be paying more than you need to.
How the deferred period works on Income Protection for NHS medical professionals
With Income Protection for NHS medical professionals, the insurance company will start paying out as soon as your sick pay halves, meaning your income is topped back up to the insured amount. Then once your sick pay stops, the policy pays out an increased amount up to the full insured amount which will carry on being paid to you until you are able to return to work.
Example of how Income Protection for NHS medical professionals is paid
Let's assume you have been working for the NHS for 2 years and so you receive 2 months full pay and 2 months half pay. With a specialist Income Protection for NHS medical professionals policy, the plan would pay out as follows.
How income protection pays NHS workers based on 2 years of employment
|Month||NHS Pay||Insurer Benefit||Total income|
|Month 1||Full pay from NHS||£0||Full pay (NHS)|
|Month 2||Full pay from NHS||£0||Full pay (NHS)|
|Month 3||Half pay from NHS||Top up to maximum benefit||Half pay (NHS) plus top-up from insurer|
|Month 4||Half pay from NHS||Top up to maximum benefit||Half pay (NHS) plus top-up from insurer|
|Month 5 onwards||£0||Payment of maximum benefit||Full insurer benefit|
Is there a minimum number of hours you need to work in order to claim?
There is no minimum requirement in terms of the number of hours worked, however if you work less than 16 hours a week, the insurer will assess your claim based on whether you can carry out 'everyday tasks' rather than whether you can do your own occupation.
Additionally, you need to have worked at least one shift a week for the last 13 weeks prior to the start of your sickness.
Where is the best and cheapest way to buy an Income Protection for NHS medical professionals policy?
There are two insurance companies that currently offer specific Income Protection policies for NHS staff and they are Royal London and LV=. The best way to buy the policy, however, is not to speak to them directly, but to speak to an independent income protection specialist*, as they will be able to compare both policies for you and provide advice as to which policy is best for your own personal circumstances.
Additionally, an independent income protection specialist will be able to guide you through the application process, chase the insurer on your behalf and even help you if you ever need to make a claim. Simply click on the link above and complete the short form for a quotation with no obligation to take things further. Those who decide to take out a policy will qualify for up to £100 cashback.
If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses and do not wish to qualify for the cashback referred to in the article - LifeSearch