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Press release: New report lays bare impact of Tory inaction on sick pay

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SNP challenge UK Gov over "inadequate" sick pay levels

The UK government is under mounting pressure to tackle inadequate sick pay levels in the UK, after a study by the TUC found that more than a quarter of a million workers were self-isolating without decent sick pay last month.

The Trades Union Congress warned that workers on low or no sick pay face the "impossible choice" of having to self-isolate and face economic hardship, or risk spreading Covid in order to put food on the table and pay bills.

Its research found that around 267,800 workers in private firms were self-isolating without decent levels of sick pay or any sick pay at all in December. It added that almost 210,000 people had to rely on statutory sick pay.

The UK has one of the lowest rates of sick pay in Europe, with the Council of Europe describing it as "manifestly inadequate." The SNP has consistently challenged the UK government to ensure that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is increased in line with a Real Living Wage and made available to all for 52 weeks.

Commenting, the SNP's Work and Pensions spokesperson David Linden MP said:

"At a time when households are grappling with a cost of living crisis and workers are being pushed into an impossible position over sick pay when self-isolating, the UK government has continued to sit on its hands and refuse to bring forward meaningful support.

"As restrictions are safely removed, self-isolation is crucial in tackling Covid infections. But people must not be forced into a choice between self-isolating or putting food on their table due to inadequate levels of sick pay in the UK.

"Statutory sick pay in its current form is one of the lowest in Europe and does not meet the needs of real people. The SNP has been clear that statutory sick pay must be increased in line with the Real Living Wage, made available to all and extended to 52 weeks.

"Despite the calls, this distracted Tory government is failing to learn any lessons from the pandemic - it has refused to lift a finger to tackle sick pay in the UK and has failed to bring forward measures to secure a fair recovery from the crisis.

"It's clear that only with the full powers of independence will we be able to act on sick pay and provide a social security system that meets people’s needs."


Coronavirus image by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash


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External links

From theguardian.com
TUC says more than 250,000 workers self-isolating 'without decent sick pay'

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