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  • Union body said workers must not lose pay if they are forced to self-isolate or become ill
  • TUC warns that millions of low-paid and casual staff are currently ineligible for sick pay

The TUC has today (Friday) called on employers to support workers affected by the Coronavirus.

The union body says those forced to self-isolate because of the virus and those who become ill should not lose out on pay.

The TUC is urging bosses to:

  • pay workers sick pay
  • keep staff up to date with the latest information from Public Health England
  • allow workers time off to seek medical advice especially if they feel they are developing symptoms

The TUC says that at present many people are at risk of getting no financial support when sick because their earnings are too low.

Nearly 2 million UK workers do not earn enough to qualify for statutory sick pay, including 1 in 10 working women.

People in insecure work are even more likely to miss out. Nearly a quarter (23%) of zero-hours contract workers don’t earn enough to get the protection.

The TUC has called for the minimum earnings threshold for statutory sick pay to be scrapped.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Employers have a duty of care to support workers affected by Coronavirus.

“No one should have to worry about making ends meet if they have to self-isolate or if they fall ill. They should be able to focus on getting better.

“The threat of coronavirus shows why sick pay should be a day one right for everybody. It’s not right that millions of UK workers miss out on this protection. The government must ensure everyone gets statutory sick pay, however much they earn.”

Notes to editors:

- Working people can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they’re too ill to work. It’s paid by the employer for up to 28 weeks. Workers need to have been off work sick for 4 or more days in a row to receive the payment.

- People who earn less than £118 a week don’t qualify for statutory sick pay.

- Table breaking down workers missing out on SSP (Labour Force Survey, Q1 2019)


Employees earning below £118 per week

in employment (excluding self-employed)














If the earnings threshold for SSP were removed women would be the main beneficiaries:  


Proportion who would benefit from removal of qualifying earnings rule for SSP






- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

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