One in five people forced to self-isolate and unable to work from home have received no sick pay or wages, a new study suggests.
The TUC warned that many workers will be plunged into hardship in the coming months if they only rely on statutory sick pay. The union organisation called on ministers to urgently increase financial support for people who have to self-isolate.
The survey of 2,200 adults suggested that two-fifths of workers would have to go into debt, or into arrears on their bills, if their income dropped to £96 a week, the current level of statutory sick pay, rising to almost half of disabled workers.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “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.
“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.”