Sick pay move welcome, but government must do more, says UNISON

04 March 2020

Commenting on the announcement that the government plans to change the rules so people who self-isolate as a result of coronavirus fears can get statutory sick pay from day one, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:

“It's good to see the government listening and acting to allay people’s fears, but it needs to go much further, and quickly.

“This move won’t help care staff whose employers are telling them they won’t get paid at all if they go into isolation.

“Nor will it provide comfort to workers on zero-hours contracts, or those with multiple jobs bringing in less than the £118 weekly threshold at which sick pay kicks in.

“Workers self-isolating shouldn’t have to take a financial hit for doing the right thing. They should be paid in full, with the government stepping in to help out struggling smaller employers.

“Every boss in the land should be following government advice and paying everyone who thinks they’ve come into contact with coronavirus and sensibly intends to do the right thing.

“People shouldn’t be faced with a choice of making ends meet or following public health advice and helping prevent the spread of the virus. The lives and livelihoods of vulnerable patients and staff must come before profits.”