One-fifth (20%) of employees who are forced to self-isolate due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic have received no extra sick pay or wages from their employer, according to a poll conducted by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The research polled 2,231 people in England and Wales who were working, on furlough, or recently made redundant. It found that 40% of employees would go into debt or go into arrears on their bills if they only received the statutory sick pay (SSP) instalment of £96 a week while self-isolating. This rose to 48% for disabled staff.
In addition, 21% of employees who have been forced to self-isolate had to raid into their savings, while 10% struggled to cover bills or went into debt. Some 14% of low-income staff are likely to be forced to self-isolate without being able to work from home, compared to 8% of middle and high earners.
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Frances O’Grady, general secretary at TUC, said: “The government must do everything possible to slow down the spiralling rise in Coronavirus cases. With the virus becoming more infectious, more important than ever that people self-isolate when they develop symptoms.
“But the lack of decent sick pay is undermining Britain’s public health effort and is forcing employees to choose between doing the right thing and being plunged into hardship. Ministers must stop turning a blind eye to this problem and raise sick pay to at least the real living wage of £320 a week. And they must ensure that everyone has access to it.”