My own personal blog. UNISON NEC Member & National Convenor, Newham Councillor for West Ham Ward, Vice Chair of Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, Pension trustee, Housing & Safety Practitioner. Centre left and proud member of Labour movement family. Strictly no trolls please.
Sunday, March 15, 2020
#SickPayForAll: Guarantee decent sick pay for every worker
This is a TUC supported petition. Many infected workers may think they cannot afford to self-isolate since their families will run out of money. The government has moved on paying Statutory Sick Pay from 1st day but this is not enough!
Recently I had a "direct" conversation with a pension fund manager who did not want to get involved in a industrial dispute in a hospital were many workers had no occupational sick scheme. I made it clear that I did not want my 78 year old mother to be pushed on a wheelchair in hospital by a sick porter who is too frightened to report sick since his pay would stop. The coronavirus makes this issue even more important.
"It shouldn’t take a pandemic to resolve the inequality of sick pay. But the threat of coronavirus shows why sick pay should be a day one right for everybody.
The government has listened to unions and temporarily removed the 3 day wait for many. But this doesn't go far enough.
At just £94.25 a week, statutory sick pay in the UK isn't enough to live on - and 2 million people don't earn enough to qualify.
The government should introduce emergency legislation that:
- Gives every worker the right to statutory sick pay from the first day of absence
- Scraps the minimum earnings threshold for statutory sick pay
- Ensures that sick pay is paid to workers having to self-isolate
- Increase the weekly level of sick pay
- Provide funds to ensure employers can afford to pay sick pay, and provide additional support to those who miss out
Why is this important?
Workers affected by the coronavirus outbreak could have to go into quarantine or self-isolation to prevent the further spread of the virus.
But already companies like Wetherspoons are refusing to give staff sick pay from day one, even if they are quarantined by government order.
Right now millions of UK workers don’t earn enough to get this protection. And even those that do have to be off sick for at least three days before they get paid.
And workers with existing sick pay schemes should be paid at the full rate offered by the employer while in isolation, and not be considered as on annual or unpaid leave.
No one should worry about falling into debt or struggling to pay their bills when they’re ill or have to self-isolate.
If people aren't compensated for the time spent at home, the risk people go to work and spread the illness increases.
Nearly 2 million UK workers do not qualify for statutory sick pay, including 1 in 10 working women and 23% of zero-hours contract workers.
Currently, workers need to have been off work sick for 4 or more days in a row to receive the payment. And people who earn less than £118 a week don’t qualify for statutory sick pay.
The government must ensure everyone gets statutory sick pay from day one, however much they earn".