The government’s Living With Covid plan has been announced and includes changes to key payments including Statutory Sickness Pay. Changes are being made as people learn to live with the pandemic
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Living With Covid-19 Plan was announced despite hundreds of Covid deaths a day and warnings from opposition MPs and health experts that lifting restrictions was too soon.
The changes could also hit Britons out of pocket as concerns about workers’ rights are raised by key changes to the Statutory Sickness Benefit (SSP) and Employment Allowance. and Support (ESA).
Labor leader sir Keir Starmer said of the plans: “This is a half-hearted announcement from a government crippled by chaos and incompetence.
“It’s not a plan to live well with Covid.”
So what is the new regulation and how much can people claim?
What changes are being made to the SSP?
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The SSP will revert to its pre-pandemic state and will only be issued to people from day four of illness. The payment under the Covid rules has been in place since day one, but now people will have to wait three days from illness before being eligible on day four.
This is despite calls to keep the payment from the first day of illness and also to increase it, which currently stands at £96.35 a week.
TUC Secretary General Frances O’Grady said: “The government is creating unnecessary hardship and taking a sledgehammer over public health. It’s failure to provide deserved sick pay for everyone. – from the first day of illness – is reckless and self-defeating.”
She also said in a statement before the plans were announced: “Paying sick pay for all will be an important first step. But with statutory sick pay at £96 a week, we need ministers to increase it to real wages.”
Terms in their current form will be removed as of February 24.
How will ESA change?
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ESA payments will also change from February 24, and people will no longer be eligible if they are isolated due to Covid. Payments will revert from day one to day eight.
Isolation rules are changing to the point that people are no longer legally required to isolate if they test positive for the virus, but are encouraged to exercise caution instead.
The government explains: “From this date, people will no longer be eligible for the Employment and Support Allowance as they are self-isolating due to Covid-19. ”
With the changes to the ESA and SSP, there is concern that people will be forced to go to work even if they are clearly ill or have tested positive for the virus. It is thought that increasing pay will discourage people from going to work when sick.
The ESA will still be eligible for those who “meet the eligibility criteria”.
Those who claim benefits and wait for an initial assessment rate for approximately 13 weeks will be paid as follows:
- up to £59.20 a week if you’re under 25
- up to £74.70 a week if you’re 25 or older
After the assessment, claimants will be owed:
- up to £74.70 a week if you’re in the work-related activity group
- up to £114.10 a week if you’re in the support group
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/covid-statutory-sick-pay-changing-26299836 Covid Lawutory Sick Pay - when does it change and how much can I claim?