Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Sick Pay Rise "Miserly"

 Unions have criticised a 50p-per-week increase in statutory sick pay (SSP) as "miserly". It increases from £95.85 to £96.35 on Tuesday, but unions including the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Unite say it is too little to live on.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said "low" SSP payments could risk "undermining" public health efforts as lockdowns ease across the UK.

"Many working in pubs and shops are on low wages and face having to survive on just £96 a week if they get sick," she said.  "No-one should be plunged into hardship if they need to self-isolate."

The TUC is calling for the level of SSP paid to be raised in line with the National Living Wage, which stands at £8.91-per-hour for workers aged 23 and over. 

It also warned that nearly two million workers do not earn enough to qualify for SSP - most of them women.

According to the OECD, the UK has one of the lowest statutory sick pay rates of any developed country, as a proportion of the average worker's earnings. Nor are the self-employed eligible to receive it, unlike in most other European countries.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: "Time and again the government has been told that people will not isolate without a living income.

"Unless and until the government addresses the scandalously low level of sick pay provision in this country, any scheme to reopen the economy that rests on isolation but without income is half-baked and will fail."

Unions criticise 'miserly' 50p rise in statutory sick pay - BBC News

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