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Consultation response to Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into Statutory Sick Pay

Anjum Klair
Policy officer - labour market and social security
Report type
Research and reports
Issue date

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together around 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.

We appreciate the opportunity to respond to the Work and Pensions select committee consultation on statutory sick pay (SSP). In 2019 the TUC responded to the Government’s consultation - Health is everyone’s business, which covered sick pay.

As soon as the pandemic hit the TUC exposed three fundamental problems with SSP: the three days that people have to wait before becoming eligible; the exclusion of workers because they do not earn enough to qualify; and the shockingly low level of the benefit, worth £96 a week then. We stressed the significant financial hardship caused by the policy, as well as the limits it placed on the national coronavirus response.

The Government claim that the pandemic was not the right time to introduce changes to the rate of SSP or its eligibility criteria. In our view this was grossly irresponsible. We said at the time the government abandoned millions of low-paid workers at the worst possible time.

The TUC continues to campaign on sick pay.  We call for:

  • An increase in the current weekly level of sick pay from £109.40 to the equivalent of a week’s pay at the real living wage.
  • Removal of the lower earnings limit for qualification for sick pay, to ensure everyone can access it, no matter how much they earn.
  • Removal of the waiting period (3 days) for sick pay to ensure that it is available from the first day someone is sick.

Download the full report (PDF)

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