The Workers Union has blasted the 50 pence per week increase to statutory sick pay.
In a strongly-worded statement, a union spokesman described the change as ‘miserable’ and said it would do little to help those already struggling on low-pay:
‘It’s clear that the extra 50 pence per week will not help anybody. At the outside it represents an extra apple or half a load of bread. People on low-pay need to know that they will be looked after in the event of illness, and this just does not cut it.’
From the 6th of April, SSP rose from £95.85 a week to £96.35 a week. In response, the Workers Union called for the government to use the Living Wage Foundation’s assessment of the “real” living wage as a base line for SSP payments. The Foundation’s currently suggests that £9.50 in the country and £10.85 an hour in Greater London represent the minimum acceptable hourly rate.
‘The government needs to understand that worrying about sickness is a constant challenge for many workers. As a union we have dealt with plenty of instances of people feeling like they have no option but to go into work because they simply can’t rely on SSP to support them if they stay at home. That can’t be right.’
The Workers Union on the SSP increase
Over the past year we’ve given many of the government’s support initiatives a cautious welcome. In extending furlough, for example, Rishi Sunak showed himself to be sensitive to the plight of businesses and working people. In the same way, the £500 payment for self-isolating workers on low-incomes demonstrated that our political leaders are committed to helping the most vulnerable in society.
But now they must go further. The level of sick-pay provision in the UK falls scandalously short of providing working people with a safety net. And with self-employed people receiving no help from the state at all, many workers are pushing themselves to the limits of their endurance.
We have to tackle this issue and tackle it now.
So, we’re calling on the government to do right by working people and give them assurances that sick leave does not mean empty pockets.
The Workers Union – fighting for social justice, fighting for you