The Workers Union is calling for the government to produce a ‘cash fund’ to stop self-isolating employees from missing out on full pay. The call is a response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis that could see many people with C-19 symptoms receive statutory sick pay (SSP) if they are forced to stay at home.
The situation is particularly likely to affect staff in the healthcare and gig economy sectors, where an obligatory ‘waiting period’ of three working days before statutory sick pay kicks in is common. Moreover, because of fears that reduced income could lead to dire financial consequences, some workers have been taking risks with their own health and the health of others by deciding to go to work, even though they could be carrying the virus.
Workers Union chief spokesperson, Johnathan Morgan, said: ‘We are asking government to take this crisis seriously and offer employees with limited sick pay options the chance to make the right decisions. Staff in the union central office have had many members contact them asking for help and some of the stories they’ve heard have been absolutely heart-breaking. One man with virus-like symptoms felt pressure to go to work, even though he was feeling faint, sweating profusely and having trouble breathing. He subsequently collapsed on shift and ended up in hospital, but not before exposing himself and innocent colleagues to the potential of further harm. Hard-working people want to do their job to the best of their ability and it’s shameful that some business executives are prepared to exploit their labour without acknowledging – and managing – the current risks.
‘It’s time the PM worried less about the optics and more about the substance. We want to see a cash fund available to bridge the gap between SSP and minimum wage that compensates workers for doing the right thing.’
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