Millions of low-paid workers could soon be entitled to statutory sick pay. Under current regulations, statutory sick pay (SSP) is only available for employees earning an average of £118 a week or more . This is the equivalent of working 14 hours a week on minimum wage for those aged 25 and over (£8.21). The new changes could mean that workers with disabilities or long-term illnesses that work less than average employees could be entitled to SSP.
The government is also looking at making statutory sick pay more flexible, as it seeks to reduce the number of people quitting work after a period of sickness. According to the DWP 100,000 people every year fall out of work completely after a sickness absence. Nearly half (44%) of those who are off work because of illness for a year do not return to the workplace.
As well as working a minimum of 14 hours a week, individuals need to have been ill for at least four consecutive days, including non-working days, to claim SSP, which is generally £94.95 a week unless an employer has a sick pay scheme. The maximum amount of time individuals can claim SSP is 28 weeks.
The supposed “gig” economy is characterised by workers who work on short-term or freelance contracts. These include workers in organisations such as: Deliveroo and Uber. Around 1.1 million people in the UK are considered gig economy workers, receiving little or no holiday or sick pay. It is still not clear on whether the new regulations could benefit gig workers by giving them access to SSP.
There is no set date for the introduction of the new SSP. The proposals are currently going through a consultation process by the government. When announcing the consultation, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said: “I want Britain to be an environment where disabled people and those with health conditions can thrive, not just survive – not only in work but every area of their lives”.
If you require more information about Statutory Sick Pay, contact us via the website or call: 01633246666