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Usdaw renews the call for a new deal for workers on Statutory Sick Pay

Date: 18 January 2022 Retail trade union Usdaw has renewed their call on the Government to reform Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to support workers who need to take time off work, particularly during a pandemic.
Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers campaign urges the Government to:
  • Improve SSP so it reflects average pay, rather than the current £96.35 per week.
  • Pay SSP to low paid workers – those earning below the lower earnings limit of £120 per week currently do not qualify for SSP.
  • Commit to paying SSP from day one for all absences, removing any reference to three waiting days. 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw has long called for significant improvements to SSP and even though the Government acknowledged the need in 2019 nothing has changed. With some companies changing contractual sick pay policies, it is even more important that the Government ensures there is a proper safety net for those workers who are required to take time off work to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“Usdaw is encouraging our members to get vaccinated and has negotiated with employers time off and support for them to do so. The focus needs to be on educating and encouraging vaccination take-up for everyone who is able to. Any Usdaw member with concerns about sick pay should contact the union immediately for advice and support.
“Statutory sick pay is simply not enough to survive on and workers earning less than £120 per week aren’t entitled to any statutory sick pay at all. People who are ill shouldn’t be worrying about their finances, and they shouldn’t be forced into work due to worries about paying their bills. Sick pay needs to be paid from day one, at an individual’s normal rate of pay, and it should be paid to all workers.
“Millions of low-paid workers have provided essential services to help ensure the country is fed, healthy and safe throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Usdaw members employed in supermarkets, the food supply chain, pharmaceutical distribution and the funeral industry welcomed their key worker status, but that respect and appreciation must not fade into the background when this national crisis passes.
“There must be lasting and fundamental change to the way society views all workers. We need a New Deal for Workers: a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour immediately, an end to insecure employment, respect for shopworkers and action to ensure that retail jobs are no longer underpaid and undervalued.”
Usdaw’s New Deal for Workers calls for:
  • A minimum wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers immediately, ending rip-off youth rates and providing a living wage.
  • Minimum contract of 16 hours per week, for everyone who wants it, that reflects normal hours worked and a ban on zero-hour contracts.
  • Better sick pay for all workers, from day one, at average earnings.
  • Protection at work – respect for shopworkers, abuse is not a part of the job.
  • A proper social security system, Universal Credit does not provide a safety net.
  • Job security, with day one employment rights for unfair dismissal and redundancy.
  • Fair treatment and equality for all workers, including equal pay.
  • A voice at work, stop rogue employers refusing to engage with trade unions and end ‘fire and rehire’. 
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers