Unions criticize ‘miserly’ 50p rise in statutory sick pay

Unions have criticised a 50p-per-week increase in statutory sick pay (SSP) as “miserly”.

SSP 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: “No-one should be plunged into hardship if they need to self-isolate.”

A government spokesman said there was a “comprehensive package” in place to support those who need to self-isolate. It also said many employers pay more than the minimum level of statutory sick pay.

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.

However, its coverage lasts longer than in most European nations. Ms. 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.

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. Nor are the self-employed eligible to receive it, unlike in most other European countries.

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. Nor are the self-employed eligible to receive it, unlike in most other European countries.

-BBC

%d bloggers like this: