Retail trade union Usdaw continues to call for reform to Statutory Sick Pay following the Government announcing a mesely £3 rise to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that will take it to just £99.35 a week.

Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Covid infections in the UK are at a record high, with an estimated one in 13 people infected with the highly transmissible variant of Omicron. It is hardly surprising that more people are catching Covid when the Government has now ended free tests, mandatory mask wearing and self-isolation rules.

“The UK has one of the lowest rates of Statutory Sick Pay of any developed country. Being ill has a huge financial impact on low-paid workers, as many people forced to live on Statutory Sick Pay of just £99.35 per week. Even worse, those that earn less than £123 per week are not even entitled to any Statutory Sick Pay. The Government must remove this discriminatory policy, so all workers are entitled to sick pay based on their normal rate of pay.

“With inflation soaring, the cost of everyday items rising and energy bills skyrocketing, many low paid workers feel they cannot afford to be ill. Workers should not have to live in fear of being unable to pay the bills when they need time off to recover from illness.

“Trade unions secured Statutory Sick Pay from day one for Covid absences during the pandemic, which was later removed by the Government. It shouldn’t take a pandemic for key workers to be able to claim sick pay from the first day they are ill, rather than the fourth day. Sick pay needs to be paid from day one, at an individual’s normal rate of pay.

“We need urgent reform of Statutory Sick Pay as part of a new deal for workers and we will keep pressing the Government on this important issue.”

Usdaw’s call for a new deal on Statutory Sick Pay:

  1. Improve SSP so it reflects average pay, rather than the current £99.35 per week.
  2. Pay SSP to low paid workers – those earning below the lower earnings limit of £123 per week currently do not qualify for SSP.
  3. Commit to paying SSP from day one for all absences, removing any reference to three waiting days.
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