Construction business Kier Group has agreed to implement day one sick pay above statutory levels for 10,800 of its employees as of September, following a campaign by the union Unite.
The highway maintenance workers will now receive sick pay of up to £100 per day from the first day of their illness. Previously, they were entitled to receive the statutory rate of £99.35 a week, which could amount to as little as £16 per day, according to the union.
Sharon Graham, general secretary at Unite, said: “This is a much-needed step forward in an industry which is notorious for insecure pay and an inadequate safety record. We urge other construction employers to provide the same cover for their workers. Thanks to the terrific efforts of Unite team, 19,000 Kier workers now have added protection when sick. This is what Unite does, it protects the jobs, pay and conditions of our members.”
Malcolm Bonnett, regional officer for the construction sector at Unite, added: “Unite has been campaigning hard to end the discrimination on sick pay for construction workers so we’re delighted by this victory. Statutory sick pay in the UK is the lowest in Europe, so it was vital we persuaded the employer that they had a duty to pay when workers are ill. From here, we build further. Unite is determined that other construction employers act to end sick pay discrimination, too.”
A Kier spokesperson said: “At Kier, we recognise that our people are our greatest asset and our teams have been working hard to provide industry-leading policies and measures to support our people. In the last 12 months, we have launched improved family-friendly policies, our new and enhanced standard for sick pay for all and we have become signatories of the real living wage. They form part of our performance excellence culture and underline our focus and commitment on doing the right thing.”