Unions have blasted the government’s decision to scrap plans to extend SSP, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.
The Government has received backlash after it announced it would scrap plans to extend Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to two million more people.
The Mirror reports that the government two years ago stated that there was “a case” for removing the requirement for claimants to earn at least £120 a week
However, the reforms have since been scrapped, in a move that has been dubbed “grossly irresponsible” by Megaphone UK.
The campaigning platform for trade unions and their members shared that it is “disappointing and unfair”.
It added: “With Covid cases going through the roof, the refusal to make sick pay available for all will drive infections higher.”
A major U-turn
Similarly, Citizens Advice has blasted the decision, stating that it “could not have come at a worse time”.
Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Today’s announcement is a U-turn on the government’s commitment to improve sick pay and support people on low incomes.
“With cases of coronavirus rising and many needing to self-isolate, it could not come at a worse time.
“We’d urge the government to think again. Otherwise many will continue to face an impossible choice: work when ill or fall behind on their bills.”
Elsewhere, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has accused the government of abandoning low-paid workers, branding it as another example of penny pinching.
According to analysis by the TUC, around two million workers in the UK don’t earn enough to qualify for SSP, and 70% of this figure is made up of women.
Commenting on the decision, Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, added: “The government has abandoned millions of low-paid workers at the worst possible time.
“With Covid cases going through the roof, its refusal to make sick pay available for all is grossly irresponsible and will help drive infections still higher.
"This is yet another example of short-sighted penny pinching from the Treasury, which is undermining Britain’s public health effort.
“The millions of low-paid workers who are not eligible for statutory sick pay – mostly women – could only dream of a VIP pilot scheme to allow them to opt out of self-isolation at the drop of a hat. Instead, they are forced to choose between doing the right thing or being plunged into financial hardship.”