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Commenting on the publication today (Thursday) of a Work and Pensions Committee report on whether the government should reform statutory sick pay to provide more financial support to low-paid employees, TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic showed that our sick pay system is in desperate need of reform. 

“It beggars belief that ministers have done nothing to fix sick pay since. 

“It’s a disgrace that so many low-paid and insecure workers up and down the country – most of them women – have to go without financial support when sick. 

“The committee is right that ministers urgently need to remove the lower earnings limit and raise the rate of sick pay. 

“Wider reform is also needed to remove the three days people must wait before they get any sick pay at all.  

“Working people deserve better. 

“It's time for a new deal for workers, like Labour is proposing – which includes stronger sick pay and a ban on zero hours contracts.” 

Analysis published by the TUC in January revealed that 1.3 million people do not earn enough to qualify for statutory sick pay – and 70% are women. 

And zero-hours contract workers are eight times more likely than those on secure contracts (30.3% compared to 3.6%) to miss out on statutory sick pay because they don’t earn enough to qualify. 

Editors note

- Statutory sick pay: Statutory sick pay is currently just £109.40 per week – equivalent to just 17% of average earnings (it will be uprated in April in line with inflation). And there is a three-day waiting period before those eligible start getting statutory sick pay. This brings the amount for the first week for someone working a typical five-day week to £44, which is just 7% of average weekly earnings: The TUC believes that the three-day waiting period should be removed, as increasing statutory sick pay with waiting days still in place substantially reduces workers’ entitlements during their first week of sickness.

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