The threat of coronavirus shows why sick pay should be a day one right for everybody, but millions of UK workers are currently missing out.
More cases of COVID-19 – widely referred to as ‘coronavirus’ – are now being confirmed in the UK, as the World Health Organisation warns the spread could get out of control.
Workers affected now face the prospect of going into quarantine or self-isolation to prevent the further spread of the virus.
The government has confirmed that any worker who is required to go into self-isolation or quarantine, or who falls ill with symptoms, will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
But because 2 million of the lowest paid workers in the UK don’t currently have the right to sick pay, many may find themselves struggling to make ends meet.
Even for those who are eligible, the payment is still too low at just £94.25 a week.
This means working people now face a crisis: either they risk going without pay for a prolonged period, or they go into work while ill against government advice.
By doing so they could be putting their own, their colleagues and their families lives at risk. That would worsen, not limit, the risk of infection.