Most people believe all workers should receive sick pay from their employer if they are affected by the coronavirus, new research suggests.
The TUC said its study supported union demands for the Government to respond to the crisis by bringing forward emergency support for the almost two million workers who are currently missing out on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
The union organisation warned ministers that inadequate provision of sick pay posed a threat to public health since many workers will struggle to meet basic costs if they can’t attend work for a prolonged period.
Some people may feel they have no choice but to go to work while ill, or against Government advice, said the TUC.
Government needs to stop making excuses and immediately reform sick pay legislation so it covers all workers at a decent rateFrances O'Grady
The Government announced last week that SSP will be paid from the first day workers take off in an attempt to encourage people to stay away from work if they are unwell.
But unions want the Government to go further, amid warnings that some groups, such as the self-employed, would not be covered.
The TUC is also calling for the current rate of SSP, £94.25 a week, to be increased to ensure that workers can afford to follow public health advice.
A survey of 2,000 people for the TUC found that 85% believed all workers should get sick pay if they are affected by the coronavirus.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “A massive majority of voters agree that no-one should be left out of pocket because they’ve done the right thing and followed Government health advice.
“But currently, many people won’t even be able to cover their rent and bills if they fall ill or have to take time off.
“Government needs to stop making excuses and immediately reform sick pay legislation so it covers all workers at a decent rate.
“It’s the sensible way to give working families the security they need – and to protect public health.
“Nothing is stopping employers doing the right thing right now, and pledging that any worker who has to self-isolate on medical advice, or who gets sick, will get full pay while they’re off work.”