I have been very fortunate in who I have worked for in terms of sick pay and pension. When I was in my late twenties I was unlucky enough to have a type of bone cancer. The company I worked for then in the early eighties, Philips Scientific (part of the bigger Philips group) had full salary sick pay for six months and a defined pension scheme. They also worked out a return to work on crutches. I was on the shop floor, engineering, so they were pretty advanced in their pay and conditions. I then transferred that over to a Local Authority when I started working for them. Broke my leg badly in around 2000 and again 6 months full sick pay and defined pension scheme. Then ended up with taking voluntary redundancy with a decent payout and an early defined pension. The reason I am giving the above details is that when people moan about the cost of tradesmen I have to point out that all the above is almost always not available and is a massive benefit to the employee. I would also argue, though I have benefited from it, that the terms and conditions of those working for the public sector, because subsided by the taxpayer, are pretty unfair. It does irritate me when people who have always worked in the public section moan about their jobs, teachers come to mind; many have known nothing else. The "real world" would come as a bit of a shock I think.