Scrapping Covid-19 rules to “hit low-paid workers hard”, Usdaw warns

The government’s decision to scrap all Covid rules in England a month early could “hit low-paid workers hard”, trade union Usdaw has warned.

The warning came as prime minister Boris Johnson gave a speech to the House of Commons which confirmed all Covid legal restrictions would be removed come 24 February.

This would end self-isolation after testing positive and free Covid tests under the’Living with Covid’ plan.

READ MORE: 77% of low-paid workers feel “worse off” than last year, Usdaw warns

The union have highlighted concerns about whether removing guidelines was based on “following science of political convenience”.

Placing Covid decisions in the hands of individuals rather than the state’s mandate has raised concerns workers who “can’t afford to take time off may feel pressured to go into work”. Spiking infections could also place pressure on “staffing levels and low-paid workers’ finances”.

Additionally, Usdaw highlighted the inadequacy of Statutory sick pay of £96.35 per week and for many low-paid workers “being ill has a huge financial impact on them”.

“Scrapping free tests is purely an economic decision by the Government,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.

“However, charging for tests will price out low-paid workers who are already struggling to make ends meet with food and fuel prices rising, energy bills soaring and real wages falling. This will be an additional cost that many cannot afford.”

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