On 22 December a group of MPs and members of the House of Lords wrote to the Chancellor demanding an increase in Statutory Sick Pay to the level of the Real Living Wage (which the TUC calculates as £346 a week, as against the current £96.35) and abolition of the minimum income threshold to extend it to all workers. The text and signatories of the letter are below.
Those two demands are not all that is necessary to create an adequate sick pay system, but they would be a very good start.
Why is this call coming from a minority of left-wing MPs, and not from the Labour Party itself?
More broadly, what is needed is some sustained campaigning mobilising trade unionists, Labour members and others on this issue.
22 December 2021
Increase Statutory Sick Pay to Protect Workers and Slow the Spread of the Virus
The new wave of Covid infections is going to lead to many more workers needing to self-isolate. It is essential that they are given the proper financial support to do so.
Yet nearly two years into this public health crisis Statutory SIck Pay, at only £96.35 a week, is still among the lowest in Europe.
It is so low that it forces workers to choose between putting food on the table and self-isolating when asked to do so to protect their community.
It has been clear since the very start of this pandemic that increasing Statutory Sick Pay to Real Living Wage Levels would significantly increase the number of workers who can afford to self-isolate and would help slow the spread of the virus. Despite that, you and your Government repeatedly refused to act.
Not only is Statutory Sick Pay too low but two million workers do not earn enough to qualify for it. According to the TUC, that includes 647,000 workers who we will all rely on this Christmas in hospitality, retail, and entertainment sectors. They could be left with no income over this festive period.
It is unacceptable that workers are being denied the basic protections they should be getting from your Government. In the interests of protecting public health, reducing pressure on our NHS and limiting the impacts on the wider workforce and economy, we need your government to act with the seriousness that this situation demands.
We ask you to urgently increase Statutory Sick Pay to the Real Living Wage and remove the requirement for recipients to earn over £120 per week so that every single worker who needs to self-isolate is properly supported to do so.
Richard Burgon MP
[plus:] Diane Abbott MP – Tahir Ali MP – Paula Barker MP – Apsana Begum MP – Baroness Blower – Deirdre Brock MP – Baroness Bryan – Dawn Butler MP – Ian Byrne MP – Baroness Chakrabarti – Wendy Chamberlain MP – Jeremy Corbyn MP – Baron Davies – Allan Dorans MP – Peter Dowd MP – Jonathan Edwards MP – Stephen Farry MP – Mary Kelly Foy MP – Neale Hanvey MP – Baron Hendy QC – Kim Johnson MP – Ben Lake – Ian Lavery MP – Emma Lewell-Buck MP – Clive Lewis MP – Carla Lockhart MP – Rebecca Long-Bailey MP – Caroline Lucas MP – Kenny McAskill MP – Andy McDonald MP – John McDonnell MP – Ian Mearns MP – Grahame Morris MP – Kate Osborne MP – Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP – Marie Rimmer MP – Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP – Liz Saville-Roberts MP – Baron Sikka – Zarah Sultana MP – Alison Thewliss MP – John Trickett MP – Karl Turner MP – Claudia Webbe MP – Dr Philippa Whitford MP – Mick Whitley MP – Nadia Whittome MP – Hywel Williams MP – Beth Winter MP – Mohammed Yasin MP