Currently only 1 in 8 workers in Wales are eligible for support through the scheme and the latest figures show that only 30% of applications for the fund have been accepted. New TUC research on how the near-identical programme is operating in England has also raised further concerns.
In addition, new Wales TUC/YouGov polling has found that one in five people in Wales said that being asked to self-isolate for 10 days would have a negative impact on their finances. This figure rises to 43% for some lower paid workers.
The Scottish Government has this week committed to broadening their isolation payment scheme to all workers earning the Real Living Wage (£9.50 p/h) or less. This move will mean 200,000 more people will be able to get help.
Shavanah Taj, General Secretary of the Wales TUC, said:
“Making sure that workers being told to isolate can afford to do so should be seen as a central part of the Government’s infection control scheme. We fear that the current approach is leaving too many low-income households increasingly vulnerable and without the help they desperately need.
“Ultimately, the Conservative Westminster Government bears responsibility for our broken sick pay system – which is the least generous in Europe. But if Westminster won’t act then the Welsh Government should.
“The Scottish Government’s commitment to widening access to all being paid at Real Living Wage or below should be followed – it’s a fairer and simpler approach than our current model. We also need to make sure that the help available is communicated effectively to all who need it.”
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,059 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th - 21st January 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in Wales (aged 16+).