Stewart McDonald MP has renewed calls for the UK government to deliver a much-needed boost to sick pay in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The UK has one of the lowest levels of sick pay in Europe and it has previously been described as “manifestly inadequate”. While countries like Ireland increased their level of sick pay during the pandemic, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in the UK has remained at its low level and millions are still ineligible due to low pay or employment status.
During Prime Minister’s Questions (June 10th), SNP MP Stewart McDonald called on Boris Johnson to take steps to increase and reform the current level to something that people can actually live on when they’re sick.
Stewart McDonald MP said:
“Even before the current pandemic, we knew that Statutory Sick Pay in the UK is one of the least generous in the world – second from the bottom in comparison to other European countries.
“Whilst much of the support announced at the start of the pandemic has been welcome, millions of people face falling through the cracks of a woefully deficient sick pay system which is leaving people without enough money to live on.
“People need urgent support to prevent them from falling into further poverty, yet the Tories have presided over one of the least generous sick pay rates in the world - effectively pushing those in most need into poverty through no fault of their own.
“It’s my hope that we can work with the government to put this right. Even after the pandemic has passed we need to fix a broken system of SSP that punishes people for being sick and shuns millions of workers on zero-hours contracts, those on low pay and the self-employed. Working people are suffering from a system that is out of kilter with international norms and it is incumbent on all of us to try and put that right.”