82% of small business owners 'can't afford to take a day off when ill'

82% of small business owners have worked through an illness at some stage, according to a recent survey.

This is despite risking further health problems down the line by not taking the time off to rest and recover. The respondents said that they felt they needed to work when sick because “they could not afford to take more time off.”

The survey by FreeAgent also showed that long hours are common among small business owners. Almost a third of respondents (30 per cent) said they worked more than 48 hours a week when running their business. Five per cent said they worked more than 64 hours a week.

Are you hoping for sick pay provision?

As small business owners, you know that running a business is hard work. Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said that “what makes self-employment especially tough is that there is rarely any kind of safety net in place to help protect you from the unforeseen.”

In another survey of over 900 small business owners conducted by FreeAgent and the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) in June 2017, 76 per cent of respondents said that they don’t have any way of providing sick pay, maternity and paternity leave, holiday or redundancy pay in their business.

The survey revealed that small business owners would value sick pay provision over these other benefits.

What support can the self-employed claim?

Small business owners are unable to claim the statutory sick pay benefit that employed people have. However, you may be able to get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if your illness or disability affects your ability to work. Read more about ESA.

Insurance policies like personal accident insurance can pay compensation for accidental injury or death. This insurance covers injury or death caused by a one-off accident and can pay out for things like lost income, medical costs, and hospitalisation benefit up to the limit of the policy.

Small business owners didn’t take time off over Christmas

As further proof of the hard work of small business owners, a recent survey by Simply Business revealed that 20 per cent of small business owners didn’t even take a break on Christmas Day.

Even if they took Christmas Day off, two thirds of small business owners continued to work over the Christmas period (24 December-2 January), with as many as one in 10 (12 per cent) taking no days off at all. 44 per cent of respondents said they worked because they couldn’t afford the potential loss of business.

Have you ever continued to work on your business through an illness? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.

Looking for personal accident insurance?

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