4/6 Aegis Daily Update

Test and trace needs sick pay increase

The TUC has warned that, without extra financial support, those advised to self-isolate under the NHS test and trace scheme may choose not to do so.

It says that, while many workers benefit from contractual sick pay, paid for by their employer, 7 million employees only have the protection of statutory sick pay (SSP). This currently pays just £95.85 per week, too little for many families to live on.

Worse still, around 2 million of the lowest-waged employees do not even qualify for SSP, because their earnings fall below the qualifying income threshold.

The TUC says these include: 34% of workers on zero-hours contracts; 10% of women workers; 22% of workers aged 16-24; and 26% of workers aged 65 and over.

The organisation is therefore urging the government to introduce:

  • emergency legislation to ensure that statutory sick pay covers all employees, regardless of how much they earn;
  • an increase in the weekly amount of SSP, to the equivalent of a week’s work at the National Living Wage (£325); and
  • a legal duty on employers not to penalise or discriminate against any workers who are required to self-isolate by NHS test and trace.

The TUC has released Testing and tracing for Covid-19, an online guide on how to ensure fair access and manage monitoring in the workplace, you can access this on their website