To Thérèse Coffey, work and pensions secretary:
Statutory sick pay in the UK is just £95.85 per week – impossible to live on. We urgently need to increase it to avoid plunging people into financial hardship.
If we’re going to get through the tough winter, it’s crucial that people are able to self-isolate in order to stop the spread of coronavirus. Yet a TUC survey showed that four-in-ten workers would be unable to live for two weeks on statutory sick pay.
This isn’t good enough. We need to increase statutory sick pay to at least £330 per week (the real living wage) and scrap the minimum earning limit.
People across the country are being asked to self-isolate for two weeks on statutory sick pay, and there are fears that SSP is fuelling the spread of coronavirus in schools as lower-paid staff are often not paid full sick pay.
The government introduced a £500 one-off payment for people who are on low pay and are forced to self-isolate, but the payment comes with so many strings and conditions attached that almost nobody has received it so far.
We’re calling on the government to introduce a proper level sick pay for all workers, so nobody has to choose between paying their bills or risk passing on coronavirus.
All these and more are key workers according to the government’s own definition. There must be no pay freeze for any of them.
I’m thinking of the myriads of self-employed. If they fall sick, there’s very little safety net.John, Berkshire
We need people to isolate if they have coronavirus, so it stands to reason we have to make this financially possible for them. Low-paid workers in particular have less flexibility to survive.Peter, Exeter
Current sick pay is not anywhere near a level to support daily requirements for food and warmth.Dianne, Warwickshire
I’m signing because I believe people should not be financially penalised for self-isolating or coming into work due to financial hardshipTony, Northumberland
No-one can survive on SSP! The government cuts jobs through austerity and encourages us to be entrepreneurial – yet hampers the self-employed at every turn.Vivienne, Carlisle
We need to do everything we can to support those who are in isolation if we are really committed to stopping the spread of coronavirus.Helaine, Norwich