There are many reasons you might take sick leave from work. Some people take a period of time off work due to stress, which could be days, weeks or even longer. However, being signed off work can be stressful in itself.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can be paid for up to 28 weeks, but it is just £99.35 per week (as of 2022). Unless your employer chooses to pay you more, you could also be left worrying about money while you’re off work. This might lead you to consider taking on another job or continue to work another job you already have, particularly if you can do so without the same stress levels you experience in your existing role.

But can you work a second job on stress leave? Is it legal, and will your current employer allow it? There are several things to consider when it comes to UK law and what it says about both stress leave and whether you can start a second job.

Can an Employee Work a Second Job While on Sick Leave?

Employers might not be too happy to find out that an employee on sick leave is working another job. However, it’s important to understand the circumstances and the occasions when it might be more acceptable.

One important factor to take into account is the reason for the leave. If the reason you have been signed off from one role would also make you unfit to do your other job, continuing to work the second job while receiving sick pay is likely not a good idea. The reason for this is that your employer could think your stress leave isn’t genuine and might bring disciplinary action against you.

If the reason you have been signed off work wouldn’t make you unfit for your other role, it might make more sense to continue working. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the employer who signed you off might see it differently.

An example might be if you are signed off with work-related stress. If your stress is related to a particular workplace, there isn’t necessarily any need to take time off from a different job.

It’s important to check your employment contract to see what it says about sick leave and whether you are allowed to work another job while signed off. If there is a clause in your contract saying that you can’t, an employer might bring disciplinary procedures against you if you break it. If you’d like to look the legal implications of working a second job whilst NOT on sick leave, you can read our guide here.

Another thing to consider is existing case law. Employment tribunals in the past have suggested that it may be acceptable to continue working a second job while signed off from the first role. For example, in the case of Perry v Imperial College Healthcare, it was ruled that an employee was unfairly dismissed from her role of community midwife for continuing to work another desk-based job while off sick with a knee injury.

Finally, official guidance says that it is possible to qualify for sick pay from more than one job, or to qualify in one job but be fit to work in another. If you need help setting up your discrimination policies or need representation with a case, please don’t hesitate to contact us