Do Freelancers Get Sick Pay? What if You’re Not Feeling Your Best

Are you wondering, do freelancers get sick pay? Unfortunately, being a freelancer is not like being an employee. You don’t get sick pay because you don’t have an employer, you have clients. And you are not the responsibility of a client the way an employee is the responsibility of an employer.

However, there are some things that you can do to help you out. This will of course require some preparation on your end. But it will help you get through your sick days without having to suffer major setbacks for your freelancing career or freelance business.

Do Freelancers Get Sick Pay? Tips for Preparing for Sick Days

It happens, everybody gets sick, even freelancers. Since the answer to the question do freelancers get sick pay is a no, there’s really no work around that. However, you prepare for having sick days as a freelancer. Below are some tips to help you out, just in case you get sick or will require a sick day:

Woman in bed blowing nose in tissue

Managing Tasks

When it comes to managing tasks, there are definitely many things you can do to give yourself a “free day” just in case you get sick. These tasks will of course depend on the type of freelancing industry you are in:

• Pad your schedule

As a general rule, you should always have some padding when it comes to fixing your schedule. For example, if you are an artist and you can complete a portrait in 1 day, tell your client you can finish in 2 days. This way, you have enough time to finish the portrait without having to exert too much effort.

At the same time, it will give you that much-needed “space” in case there is an emergency or if you get sick. If you finish in advance and you are happy with your work then you can send it to your client. They’ll be happy to know that you “work fast”.

This is way better than making a promise to finish something in 1 day than having to request an extension. Of course, if you are ever faced with this scenario, know that there is a way to request an extension for your deadline without annoying your clients.

• Do work in advance

Another way that you can manage your tasks is to do work in advance. Let’s say you are aware that you have padded your schedule, which technically gives you an extra day. This extra day should not be used to “relax” before you even get started on the project.

As soon as you have obtained all of the information from your client, you should get started with work right away. If you end up finishing in advance and you still have that “extra day” then that is your time to relax. When you work in advance, this will help you get an “extra day” if ever you feel ill the following days.

Working in advance can be especially helpful for some industries, such as social media management. Maybe you can “bank” ideas for upcoming months for your clients. You don’t have to include these in your deliverables right away. But this “idea bank” can be used for your sick days or generally just days when you are experiencing a mental block.

• Get a backup buddy

Woman sitting on couch writing on notebook, laptop on coffee table in front of her

Networking is a must for a freelancer. No, it’s not a way to find out if the answer to “Do freelancers get sick pay?” ever changes. But rather, it’s a way for you to accomplish tasks if you are not feeling your best.

One of the best things about freelancing is the community is generally very helpful. You’ll have to find yourself a group or a buddy who will be there for you in case you need help with work. In exchange, you have to do the same for them. So, if you are a programmer and you suddenly find yourself feeling dizzy from all of the coding, maybe it’s time to call for help.

If your backup buddy is doing major work for you, you’ll have to inform your client about this. The backup buddy may be your replacement if you’ve only managed to do a small chunk of the project. However, if this is just a minor thing, for example, searching for a bug, then this step isn’t necessary. Make sure to thank your backup buddy for the help.

• Utilize automation features

Thank goodness for modern technology. Nowadays, freelancers can have an easier time, especially when dealing with admin work. Utilize these tools so you can take a “sick” day. This is a pretty good solution if you aren’t handling a certain project or you don’t have a deadline. You should have a bot for your social media accounts or your email so if you get any inquiries, the bot will do the work for you.

You can also make use of tools that can post on your accounts automatically. Maybe you have a Facebook or Instagram professional account. Make sure you post regularly so potential clients will know you are still “live” or available. You don’t have to post on a daily basis, just use the tool to schedule these posts.

Managing Finances

Woman looking at phone resting arm on table with a laptop and crumpled up tissue

Now that the “tasks” part has been tackled, it’s now time to talk about handling your finances. Sadly, freelancers don’t get sick pay the way they would if they were employed. However, as a freelancer, you are technically running a business. You are your own boss and you are also your own financier and accountant. You can make changes to your budget if you ever get caught on a sick day.

• Consider insurances

There are dozens (even hundreds) of insurance products on the market today. You might want to check out sick pay insurance, especially if you are a full-time freelancer. Think of it as a safety net for your finances in case you ever need to stop work due to health reasons.

Make sure to do your research as there are many things you need to check out with the insurance. For starters, will they be able to offer coverage for a full-time freelancer? Aside from that, you also need to check what it is they can offer you if you ever get sick. Be meticulous when reading the fine print so that you can protect yourself in an event of a health scare.

• Budget a contingency fund

Do freelancers get sick pay? Technically no. But if you know how to budget your money properly, then you may be able to make your own “sick pay”. As a freelancer, you get money from clients then it will be up to you to budget this. This isn’t like a salary where you get a fixed amount every month.

As a freelancer, you also need to be your own accountant. You have to compute how much money you will need to keep running your business (electric bills, coffee, etc.). Some freelancers fail to budget for a contingency fund, which is a must for everyone.

This contingency fund will be set aside for your sick days. In case you get sick and fail to make a deadline, you know that you still have funds to fall back on so that you can survive during the following weeks or months.


Woman working on laptop on bed

Again, the answer to do freelancers get sick pay is no. But as a freelancer, it will be your responsibility to come up with the money in case of emergencies. Everyone gets sick and you need to learn to plan ahead so that you don’t get caught up on deadlines and tasks in the event that you feel ill.

When you are not feeling your best, what you need to do is to rest. Don’t take up new clients or projects, especially if the deadline is ASAP.

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