What if I am too unwell to work?

If you feel poorly, get help from a healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist, nurse or your doctor. You should be registered with a doctor’s practice. If you are not registered with a doctor, you can use the NHS website to find the closest one to you. If you tell them you are autistic, you can ask them to make reasonable adjustments to make it easier for you to be seen by a doctor. This guide from the NAS can help you explain any adjustments you need.

What should I tell my employer if I’m not well enough to come to work

If you are employed and you fall sick, you should follow the company procedures for how to tell them

Normally, you should ring your manager to let them know you are ill as soon as you can, and you will usually need to ring in every day you are ill. They may need to get someone else in to cover your work.

If you are sick for more than 7 days (including days you don’t normally work such as weekends and bank holidays), your employer may ask for a fit note (the proper name for it is a Statement of Fitness for Work).

Being sick is not the same as being disabled. If you are working for someone else and become ill, you should qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You have to be ill for more than 3 days (the ‘waiting days’) and you will not be paid statutory sick pay for these unless you were paid sick pay within the previous 8 weeks. You cannot get statutory sick pay if you are self-employed. You may need to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead. Benefits can be complicated to work out, so check one of the benefits calculators to see if you can claim.

You many be able to claim other benefits. See also our section about being unwell at work.