A new TUC study of 175 local authorities shows demand for self-isolation support scheme is massively outstripping allocated funding, as 7 in 10 applicants end up without support.
Here, one zero-hours worker shares their experiences of applying for the Test and Trace Support Payment.
I started a new job in December on a zero-hours contract. I hadn’t even worked a full month before my partner tested positive with Covid.
I self-isolated straightaway. But because I am on a zero-hours contract I’m wasn’t eligible for sick pay.
I heard about the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme and applied to my local council.
But so far – just like many others – I’ve been told I won’t be getting the £500 grant.
This really hurts. In the two weeks I was forced to self-isolate I lost nine shifts – that’s around £900 worth of work.
And to make matters worse my employer cancelled another fortnight of shifts.
That means the only payment I will receive in February is for three shifts which I worked at the start of January – around £300.
Luckily my partner has been working throughout, but if I was on my own I simply wouldn’t have managed.
There’s just not enough help for people in my situation. I feel as though I have been punished for following the rules.
If I’d known how hard it was going to be to access financial support I would have probably thought twice about self-isolating.
I’m struggling t pay my bills and all of my food shopping has had to go on the credit card.
How are people supposed to do the right thing if they are pushed into financial hardship? Why hasn't the government woken up to this fact?
Everyone needs access to decent sick pay, paid at a real living wage. And they need it right now.
Related content: Take a look at TUC press release "Huge demand for self-isolation support sees councils facing big funding shortfall"
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