Construction sick pay agreements should kick in early

Construction employers should relax sick pay rules immediately to help tackle the spread of the coronavirus, the union Unite has said. The union’s call follows the 4 March announcement that the government has relaxed the rules on statutory sick pay (SSP) so that it is paid immediately if a worker is on sick leave rather, than on the fourth day which is the usual rule. Workers in the construction industry operating under a collective industrial agreement as well as SSP – worth just £94.25 a week – are also entitled to industry sick pay, which can be up to an additional £180 a week. However, there is a delay of up to two weeks before the industry sick pay is paid, with Unite concerned that construction workers who may be displaying symptoms of coronavirus will not self-isolate to avoid a drop in income. The union has written to several industry bodies signed up to industrial agreements asking that industry the sick pay is also paid from day one. Unite national officer Jerry Swain said: “The custodians of the construction industry, who talk about the need for social responsibility must demonstrate they will do the right thing. There is a great deal of worry and fear about the coronavirus and it would be perverse if action was not taken to ensure that construction workers can take the appropriate measures to protect fellow workers and local communities from potentially being infected.” Ian Woodland, the Unite national officer for the mechanical and electrical sectors of the industry, said: “Construction employers must step up to the plate and take the responsible decision to start paying industry sick pay from day one. A failure to do so would demonstrate that construction employers are not genuine when they suggest they are serious in tackling coronavirus.”
Unite news releasePersonnel TodayConstruction Enquirer.

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