The Congress of Trade Unions and Small Business Confederation made a rare joint appeal to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to help the lowest paid workers.
Image: Getty Images)
Sick pay should be expanded so more workers can benefit, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been warned.
In a rare joint intervention, the Trade Union Congress and the Small Business Federation urged the Cabinet Secretary to “create an effective sickness pay system to underpin the economic recovery.” .
The rules mean statutory sick pay, currently £96.35 a week, is only available to employees earning £120 a week or more – leaving two million mostly underpaid workers. as a woman, without any sick pay.
Demand comes like Boris Johnson is set to outline the Government’s plan for “living with Covid” on Monday.
He is expected to repeal the law forcing people to self-isolate if they test positive for Coronavirus.
A letter from TUC Secretary General Frances O’Grady and FSB boss Martin McTague urges the Prime Minister to “ensure that all workers who need sick pay receive it regardless of income.” and ensure that all employers are able to pay. “.
Ms O’Grady said: “No one is forced to choose between doing the right thing and isolating or leaving food on the table.
“But millions of low-paid workers are faced with this impossible choice.
“Two years after the pandemic, it is time for ministers to stop turning a blind eye to this obvious problem and fix our broken sick pay system.
“Paying everyone sick will be an important first step.”
Mr McTague said: “Small business owners are struggling to find £5 billion a year in sickness costs.
“Last year, the Prime Minister responded to our call for help with the reintroduction of the sick small employer wage deduction until the end of March.
“However, with inflation driving up the cost of doing business – and soon the NIC will increase the tax burden to levels not seen since the 1950s – there could not have been a worse time to remove this rebate. ”
“Getting sick has a huge financial impact on low-paid workers, as too many are forced to live on statutory sick pay,” said Usdaw of the store workers’ union.
General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Union organizations have secured the SSP from day one because of Covid’s absence during the pandemic.
“This must continue and be extended to all sick leave, with sick pay that reflects average wages and is available to all workers.”
Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Jonathan Ashworth said: “Learning to live with Covid is not the same thing as ignoring it and undermining statutory sick pay which would be completely irresponsible – forcing wage earners to must choose between their health and putting food on the table.
“Labor fought to secure sick pay from day one from ministers when negotiating the original Covid Act two years ago.
“But even this concession – however important – is not enough; we still need decent sick pay for all.
“The current statutory pay cut will prove once again that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are not on the side of the working people.”
A Government spokesman said: “We understand how important sick pay is to small businesses and employees during the pandemic, which is why employers Employers with up to 250 employees can get two weeks’ statutory sick pay reimbursement for Covid-related absences.
“There is a financial support package for workers who need to self-isolate.
“So far, the Government has released £344 million to local authorities to fund £500 in support for the lowest earners who need to self-isolate.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/rishi-sunak-told-fix-broken-26261897 Rishi Sunak demands to fix the 'broken' system that makes the poorest workers without pay sick