Call for Workers to Be Supported During Coronavirus

THE TUC has called on employers to support workers affected by the Coronavirus.

The union body says those forced to self-isolate because of the virus and those who become ill should not lose out on pay.

The TUC is urging bosses to:

The TUC says that at present many people are at risk of getting no financial support when sick because their earnings are too low.

Nearly 2 million UK workers do not earn enough to qualify for statutory sick pay (SSP), including 1 in 10 working women.

People in insecure work are even more likely to miss out. Nearly a quarter (23%) of zero-hours contract workers don’t earn enough to get the protection.

Low pay threshold

The TUC has called for the minimum earnings threshold for statutory sick pay to be scrapped. People who earn less than £118 a week don’t qualify for statutory sick pay.

At present, workers need to have been off work sick for 4 or more days in a row to receive SSP. The payment is £94.25 per week and is paid by the employer for up to 28 weeks.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Employers have a duty of care to support workers affected by Coronavirus.

“No one should have to worry about making ends meet if they have to self-isolate or if they fall ill. They should be able to focus on getting better.

“The threat of coronavirus shows why sick pay should be a day one right for everybody. It’s not right that millions of UK workers miss out on this protection. The government must ensure everyone gets statutory sick pay, however much they earn.”

Break down of workers missing out on SSP (Labour Force Survey, Q1 2019)

Employees earning below £118 per week in employment (excluding self-employed) Proportion
Male 608,509 13,856,403 4.4%
Female 1,381,459 13,701,002 10.1%
Total 1,989,968 27,557,405 7.2%

 

If the earnings threshold for SSP were removed women would be the main beneficiaries:

Proportion who would benefit from removal of qualifying earnings rule for SSP
Male 30.6%
Female 69.4%

 

 

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