Statutory sick pay is not enough, warns Usdaw

Retail trade union Usdaw has called on the government to improve Statutory Sick Pay (SSO), branding the current rate as “far too low”.

Currently, the government is offering just £96.35 per week, which 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, according to the trade union.

Instead, Usdaw is urging the government to improve statutory pay, allow lower-earning individuals to receive SSP pay and commit to paying SSP from day one of absence for all absences, removing any reference to three waiting days.

READ MORE: Usdaw urges customers to respect shopworkers

“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,” general secretary Paddy Lillis said.

“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,” Lillis added.

“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.”

The news comes as Lillis launched the petition after it recorded a sharp increase in the number of cases of abuse towards shopworkers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The survey found that on average, shopworkers faced verbal abuse, threats or assaults every fortnight in 2019, with the figures being doubled to every week during the coronavirus lockdown period.

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