One in five workers who have been forced to self-isolate due to Covid-19 and were not able to work from home did not receive any sick pay, according to a poll conducted by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The body has urged the government to increase financial support to those who will be “plunged into hardship” by receiving little or no statutory sick pay (SSP) while in isolation.
Also revealed by the poll was that 21% of workers forced to isolate, who were not able to work from home had to access their savings, while 10% struggled to cover their bills.
Francis O’Grady, general secretary at TUC, said: “The government must do everything possible to slow down the spiralling rise in Covid-19 cases.
“With the virus becoming more infectious, it’s more important than ever that people self-isolate when they develop symptoms. But the lack of decent sick pay is undermining Britain’s public health effort and is forcing workers to choose between doing the right thing and being plunged into hardship.”
In response to the poll’s revelation that two-fifths of workers say they would go into debt if their income dropped to the current level of SSP (£96 a week), TUC has called for the rate to be increased to the real living wage.
The body has also urged the government to extend SSP to all workers and introduce greater support for household finances such as council tax and rent.
O’Grady added: “Ministers must stop turning a blind eye to this problem and raise sick pay to at least the real living wage of £320 a week. And they must ensure that everyone has access to it.”