TUC – changes to sick pay rules will leave Covid sufferers just £38 to get through first week of illness

The TUC has today (Thursday) warned that the government’s decision to end ‘day one’ payment of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will put millions of workers at risk of additional hardship if they need to self-isolate.

From the end of March workers suffering from coronavirus will have to wait until their fourth day of sickness before they can get any financial help through SSP.

The TUC says this will leave workers struck down by Covid-19 with just £38 to get through their first week of illness – compared to the £96 currently on offer.

The union body says the changes to sick pay provision will affect 6.8 million employees who rely on SSP as their only form of support when ill.

The TUC says the new restrictions on access to sick pay are adding insult to injury.

Britain already has one of the lowest rates of SSP in Europe and the developed world, and two million low-paid workers do not have access to it at all.

The three-day waiting period already applies to all other sickness absences except Covid-19 self-isolation. The TUC says all workers should have access to sick pay from day one – regardless of what kind of illness they have

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“No-one should be pushed into hardship if they are struck down with illness.

“But the government is making it even harder for Covid-19 sufferers to get basic support.

“£38 a week is a pittance for people to be able to survive on. What planet are ministers on?

“If Boris Johnson really wants UK workers to follow the example of Germans and stay at home when ill he should be boosting sick pay – not taking an axe to it.

“The failure to provide decent sick pay to all is a threat to public health and will leave the UK vulnerable to future variants and pandemics.”