The RSA is calling for an increase in Statutory Sick Pay as Covid infections rise, while the Government has announced a change in the quarantining for travellers.
Unless Statutory Sick Pay rates are increased, many people who contract Covid over the next weeks may not be able to afford to isolate, according to a report by a think tank.
The RSA says SSP should be increased and paid at 80% of workers’ salaries and that it should be extended to all workers. Currently, you can receive £96.35 per week in SSP if you’re too ill to work, but you have to be an employee rather than a worker or contractor and earn an average of at least £120 per week. This means many zero hours and gig economy workers are not eligible.
The report from the RSA comes after the Government announced earlier this week that Covid restrictions will be lifted on 19th July, with ministers admitting that Covid infections are likely to rise significantly as a result. The TUC says it is worried about workers’ safety as a result and says the government is refusing to consult with unions and employers on the latest guidance. It fears the guidance will be vague and confusing and says it is particularly concerned about workers who may be immune-suppressed, pregnant or not yet double-vaccinated, who it says could be put at risk.
There have been other announcements on the easing of restrictions over the last few days. Yesterday the Government announced that the Universal Credit uplift of 20 pounds a week will end in September with the furlough scheme. It says it was only ever a temporary measure and that other support is available, but campaigners argue that unemployment is likely to rise further after the furlough scheme ends and that prices have been going up. The news came just before the Supreme Court ruled on Friday against a claim that the government’s “two-child limit” for child tax credit and UC conflicted with human rights legislation.
Today, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that fully vaccinated UK residents arriving in England from amber travel list destinations will no longer have to quarantine from 19th July. They will, however, still need to pay for PCR tests before and after their return, the transport secretary said. Shapps told MPs that under-18s returning from amber list places would also be exempt from quarantine.
Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR, says: “Removing the 10-day self-isolation will mean one less headache for employers who are currently trying to find a balance between agreeing to time off so employees can have a well-earned holiday abroad and making sure they aren’t left understaffed for a long period of time. A week’s holiday will be a week’s absence instead of potentially two and a half weeks. It will also mean that more employees can start to take more leave, reducing a bottleneck situation at the end of the leave year which employers would have to manage.”