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50p Increase to SSP Not Enough, Says Union

50p Increase to SSP Not Enough, Says Union
08 April 2021
 

Statutory Sick Pay in the UK increased from £95.85 to £96.35 this week, but the TUC says that this is not enough to support those who need to self-isolate due to COVID-19.

Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O'Grady told the BBC that the inadequacy of the weekly sick pay rate risked “undermining” lockdown efforts:

"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 wants SSP to be raised to the equivalent of a week’s living wage (£326) and expand it so it’s available to all. Otherwise, those who have to self-isolate will face the tough choice between self-isolating and falling into debt, or going to work with symptoms.

The current SSP rate is around one-fifth of average weekly earnings according to the TUC, meaning that if the average worker is off work sick for a week, they lose around 80 per cent of their usual earnings.

 

SSP Not Available for All Workers

 

To be eligible for SSP, an employee must, on average, earn £120 per week. This excludes 1.8 million employees, 70 per cent of whom are women. This particularly impacts young workers, older workers, those on zero-hours contracts, and low-paid occupations.

The UK’s five million self-employed workers are also not eligible for SSP.

 

NHS Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme

 

Government advice says that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result should stay at home and self-isolate immediately, and could be fined if they do not, following a notification by NHS Test and Trace.

However, some may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, if they are required to stay at home and self-isolate.

Picture: a photograph of a person sleeping

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 08 April 2021

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