Is your pay protected?

Gillian Cooper
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What would you do if you couldn’t work? A new survey, by Legal & General has revealed that less than a quarter (24%) of British employees know that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is currently set at less than £100 per week. In fact it is currently just £88.45 a week for up to 28 weeks.
The latest official figure puts the average UK weekly wage at £496, from which the take home wage is £400 a week. With SSP coming in at just £88.45 a week, it’s easy to see that the sums just don’t add up. If you can’t work, SSP doesn’t go very far in plugging the hole in your finances.

Martin Lewis, of, recommends creating an emergency fund to the value of “at least six months’ worth of bills”. Anti-debt charity Step Change says that, if every household in the UK had £1,000 saved, it would reduce the number falling into problem debt by half a million.

However a survey by the Money Advice Service has found that four in 10 adults in the UK do not have £500 or more in savings. Another by ING bank suggests 28% of UK adults have nothing at all in the bank.

One solution could be an income protection policy, with some insurance providers allowing customers to choose their own waiting period and monthly cash benefit. Income protection policies are designed to pay out money if accident, sickness or unemployment stops the holder from working. This could provide you with an income of between a half and two-thirds of your normal pre-tax earnings while you’re claiming. The payout can be used to cover regular outgoings - from bills and rent to mortgage repayments.

The cost of your policy will be worked out based on your age, income and how long you’re prepared to wait for the policy to pay out. You should read the full terms and conditions carefully to check whether your lifestyle and any pre-existing medical conditions might affect your policy. According to the Money Advice Service, it doesn’t matter whether or not you have children or other dependants – if illness would mean that you couldn’t pay the bills, you should consider income protection insurance.


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