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TUC warns UK government of ‘insult’ over sick pay change

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Changes to sick pay will affect nearly seven million workers who rely on statutory wages as their only form of support when sick, unions warn.

The TUC said the government’s decision to end ‘day one’ payment of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will put millions of workers at further hardship if they have to self-isolate.

From the end of March, workers with coronavirus will have to wait until their fourth day of illness before they can get financial help through the SSP.

The union organization estimated this would leave workers stricken with Covid-19 £38 to get through their first week of illness, up from £96 currently.

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The TUC said the new restrictions on access to sick pay add “insult to the injury”.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘No one should be embarrassed if they are struck down with the disease, but the government is making it even harder for people with Covid-19 to get basic support.

“£38 a week is a pittance for people to survive. What planet are the ministers on?

“If Boris Johnson really wants British workers to follow the example of the Germans and stay home when sick, he should increase sick pay – not ax it.

“Failure to provide decent sick pay for all is a threat to public health and will leave the UK vulnerable to future variants and pandemics.”

The TUC added that the changes to the sick pay provision will affect 6.8 million employees who rely on the SSP as their only form of support when sick.

A government spokesperson said: ‘At the start of the pandemic we needed people to self-isolate while protection was boosted through our vaccination program and we developed a range of new treatments.

“That is why we have made temporary changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to help people follow Covid rules and keep others safe.

“It is up to employers to determine their sick pay policies and many employers choose to pay more than the minimum level.

“But PAS should not be seen in isolation.

Government support through the social protection system, including universal credit, is also available for low-income people who need extra financial help when they are sick or unable to work for long periods of time. periods.”

Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labor Party and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work, said: “It is the policy of the Labor Party to make statutory sick pay available to all workers, from the day one, including those on low wages currently being cut off by the lower eligibility limit and those who are self-employed.

“People should never be in a position where they have to decide between their health or putting food on the table.

“This government has failed throughout the pandemic to fix sick pay.

“Their inaction and chaos are hurting workers.”

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