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Government U-turn on reform of Statutory Sick Pay is deeply regrettable says Usdaw, we need a new deal for workers

Date: 29 July 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw is appalled that the Government has reneged on their promise to reform Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), after they claimed it is not the right time.
Usdaw renews their call for a New Deal for Workers and urges the Government to:
  • Improve SSP so it reflects average pay, rather than the current £96.35 per week.
  • Pay SSP to low paid workers – those earning below the lower earnings limit of £120 per week currently do not qualify for SSP.
  • Commit to paying SSP from day one for all absences, removing any reference to three waiting days. 
Usdaw is backing the TUC petition #SickPayForAll: Guarantee decent sick pay for every worker: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/sickpayforall-guarantee-decent-sick-pay-for-every-worker
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw has long called for significant improvements to SSP and the Government acknowledged the need in 2019. Their claim that now is not the right time begs the question - when would be the right time? The coronavirus crisis has highlighted that SSP is too low, meaning that workers are plunged into poverty or forced to attend work whilst ill. Workers not being able to afford to self-isolate is hampering efforts to defeat this appalling virus.
“We are backing the TUC petition to guarantee decent sick pay for every worker and I’m urging our members to sign up to the campaign.
“Statutory sick pay is simply not enough to survive on and workers earning less than £120 per week aren’t entitled to any statutory sick pay at all. People who are ill shouldn’t be worrying about their finances, and they shouldn’t be forced into work due to worries about paying their bills. Sick pay needs to be paid from day one, at an individual’s normal rate of pay, and it should be paid to all workers.
“Millions of low-paid workers have provided essential services to help ensure the country is fed, healthy and safe throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Usdaw members employed in supermarkets, the food supply chain, pharmaceutical distribution and the funeral industry welcomed their key worker status, but that respect and appreciation must not fade into the background when this national crisis passes.
“There must be lasting and fundamental change to the way society views all workers. We need a New Deal for Workers: a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour, an end to insecure employment, respect for shopworkers and action to ensure that retail jobs are no longer underpaid and undervalued.”
Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers calls for:
  • A minimum wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers, ending rip-off youth rates and providing a living wage.
  • Minimum contract of 16 hours per week, for everyone who wants it, that reflects normal hours worked and a ban on zero-hour contracts.
  • Better sick pay for all workers, from day one, at average earnings.
  • Protection at work – respect for shopworkers, abuse is not a part of the job.
  • A proper social security system, Universal Credit does not provide a safety net.
  • Job security, with day one employment rights for unfair dismissal and redundancy.
  • Fair treatment and equality for all workers, including equal pay.
  • A voice at work, stop rogue employers refusing to engage with trade unions and end ‘fire and rehire’. 
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 380,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
Health is Everyone’s Business consultation, published in autumn 2019: “The Government is concerned that employees on lower incomes are missing out on the protection that SSP provides. People may be working when unwell, or relying on the benefit system, when remaining attached to their employer is likely to be more beneficial. The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices recommended extending SSP to include those earning below the LEL. This would extend SSP protection to around 2m employees, including over 1m who work less than 16 hours per week. The government believes there is a case to accept this recommendation.” https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/health-is-everyones-business-proposals-to-reduce-ill-health-related-job-loss
This week a Government spokesperson said: “Government maintains that SSP provides an important link between the employee and employer but that now is not the right time to introduce changes to the sick pay system.”
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers