From the term benefit club.
on the club (not comparable)
- (Britain, slang) Temporarily away from work, usually due to sickness, supported by sickness benefit.
- 1913, D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, chapter 5
- Then he crept up the stone stairs behind the drapery shop at the Co-op., and peeped in the reading-room. Usually one or two men were there, either old, useless fellows, or colliers "on the club".