Usdaw has called on the Prime Minister to back up his words with actions by improving Statutory Sick Pay so that it reflects the average earnings and doesn’t penalise those taking necessary time off to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

At today’s Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson responded to a question about workers being deterred from self-isolating because it would result in a huge drop in income when they go on to SSP.

Usdaw is calling on the Government to:
• Improve Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) so it reflects average pay, rather than the current £95.85 per week.
• Pay SSP to low paid workers – those earning below the lower earnings limit of £120 per week currently do not qualify for SSP.
• Commit to continue paying SSP from day one of absence and not revert to three waiting days.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary says:
“We agree with the Prime Minister that ‘nobody should be penalised for doing the right thing’. That is easy to say, but means very little if it is not backed up with action.

“We have long called for significant improvements in SSP, which plunges many workers into poverty when they are forced to take time off, but the issue is now more pressing in the midst of the Coronavirus emergency.

“Low-paid workers should be helped to go into necessary self-isolation by ensuring there is no loss of income. This has to be seen as a crucial part of tackling local outbreaks of Covid-19 and the overall effort to beat Coronavirus.”

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

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