Today (Tuesday 3 March) the Government published their action plan on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in light of 51 confirmed cases in the UK. Responding to the Health Secretary’s coronavirus statement to the House of Commons, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:
“We believe those workers who are self-quarantined due to coronavirus should be entitled to sick pay, and workers at risk should not have to choose between their health or hardship.
“Community echoes the demands made by colleagues across the trade union movement to introduce legislation for Statutory Sick Pay for all that meets the cost of living. For thousands of low paid workers, the SSP of £94.25 a week is not enough to live on, and nearly two million workers do not qualify for the payment, especially those on zero-hours or precarious contracts.
“Nor should we forget almost 5 million self-employed workers who do not get sick pay or holiday pay. Self-isolation is not an option for the self-employed who will face a loss of income as a result of coronavirus, especially for those who are already low paid. Relying on universal credit or employment support allowance will only scratch the surface in providing support and could take weeks to process.
“Community has continuously asked the government to extend statutory sick payments to self-employed workers, and we reiterate this ask to government for those self-employed workers who are asked to self-isolate to contain the virus.”