336,000 retail workers risk of no income over Xmas if they fall ill, TUC reveals

Almost 336,000 retail workers do not qualify for statutory sick pay, leaving them with no income over the festive period, according to a new report.

Trade union, TUC, said its research revealed new self-isolation rules introduced as a result of the Omicron variant, requiring anyone coming into contact with a confirmed Omicron case to self-isolate for 10 days, even if they have been vaccinated.

Hundreds of thousands of festive workers, who are most likely to come in contact with people over the busy festive period, receive no sick pay while self-isolating, and could face “drastic cuts” to their livelihoods over Christmas, the union warned.

As a result, 647,000 festive workers, including 238,000 hospitality workers, 336,000 retail workers and 73,000 arts and entertainment workers will get no sick pay.

READ MORE: Many key workers do not qualify for sick pay, union says

The TUC said the UK has the “least generous” statutory sick pay in Europe, worth just £96.35 per week and it is only available to employees earning £120 per week or more.

“Every worker should have the security of sick pay if they fall ill or need to be isolated, but while we’re out celebrating and buying presents, many workers who make that possible get no sick pay protection at all,” TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said.

“Our sick pay system is broken. No one should be left to choose between doing the right thing or putting food on the table. And we all risk having our Christmas ruined because our sick pay system doesn’t do what’s needed to stop the virus spreading.

“Ministers must extend sick pay protection to every worker and it should be worth at least the same as the Living Wage to make sure people can afford to be isolated.”

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DiscountersIndependent retailersSupermarkets


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