Coronavirus: Sick pay from day one but low paid workers miss out

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Sick pay from day one but low paid workers miss out

Boris Johnson said sick pay will start being paid from day one, not after four days of sickness – but it still won’t be available yet to those who earn less than £118 a week

Statutory sick pay laws will be changed in emergency legislation to help people with Coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announce the £94-a-week payment will be available from day one, not after four days of sickness as the law currently says.

But Jeremy Corbyn slammed the changes for not going far enough – because restrictions remain in place barring sick pay to 2million low paid workers.

The Prime Minister faced groans of fury as he said those workers can claim Universal Credit , and that the £118-a-week minimum earnings threshold was still under review.

Mr Corbyn said the situation will leave low paid workers with a “terrible choice between health and hardship”. He added UC claimants face a five week wait for payment.

A large group of part-time workers – about two million – are not even entitled to statutory sick pay because they do not earn the minimum of £118 a week. This includes nearly a quarter of workers on zero hours contracts and one in 10 working women. The more than five million self-employed workers in the UK are also not entitled to SSP.

Unite sick pay from day one for all workers

Unite has now called on the government to introduce emergency legislation to ensure all workers receive statutory sick pay from day one, regardless of how much they earn. The union is also calling for workers who must self-isolate to be fully paid for the time they must take off.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said this was “a vital public health issue — the state must intervene to protect workers where collective agreements don’t exist.

“Acas advice, which can be found online, is useful for those unsure about their entitlement to sick pay,” he explained. “But as a union Unite will be working to negotiate well beyond Acas guidance – this guidance only highlights that there is no legal right to sick pay if a worker is forced to self-isolate where they have no symptoms, unless the employer instructs the worker to remain home.”

Public Health England advises self-isolation when returning from certain specified countries, whether a person has symptoms or not.”
“Employers must acknowledge their responsibility to slow the transmission of this serious virus,” he added. “There is a high risk of workers coming into work in these circumstances if they know they will not be paid if they stay at home. This then puts other employees at risk if that person is infected. The only way we can contain and mitigate the impact of this virus is if everyone works together to do their bit — including employers.”

You can join the call for the government to guarantee sick pay for every worker from day one by signing the TUC’s petition here.

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