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Statutory sick pay is not enough – Usdaw calls on the Government to deliver a New Deal for Workers

Date: 06 April 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has expressed disappointment that after today’s increase, Statutory Sick Pay, at just £96.35 per week, is still far too low. SSP does not provide the necessary financial support for millions of low-paid workers who have to take time off work because they are ill, self-isolating or shielding.
Usdaw renews its call for a New Deal for Workers and urges the Government to:
 
  • Improve Statutory Sick Pay (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 of absence for all absences, removing any reference to three waiting days.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw has long called for significant improvements to SSP. The Coronavirus crisis has highlighted that SSP is too low, meaning that workers are plunged into poverty or forced to attend work whilst ill. The current situation, whereby workers cannot afford to self-isolate is hampering our efforts to defeat this appalling virus.

“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:
 
  • £10 minimum wage 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.

Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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