Call for improved care staff sick pay as survey finds third of workers receive under £100 a week

A leading union is stepping up a campaign for better sick pay after a survey suggested a third of care workers receive less than £100 a week if they have to shield or self-isolate because of the pandemic.

Unison said its research among more than 4,000 employees, including those in care homes and working in the community, also showed they face pressure from managers to go into work, despite displaying virus symptoms or needing to self-isolate.

Half of respondents said they had had to self-isolate at some point in the last 15 months, and of those who had to stay at home, only half said they received full pay.

Of the rest, 11% got no pay at all if they had to be off work, a third received statutory sick pay (SSP) of £96.35 a week, and some were paid more than SSP but less than full pay, said Unison.

Money worries was the reason given by more than one in 10 care staff for working despite having possible Covid symptoms, and by 8% who continued working when they should have been self-isolating.

Unison said the Government should guarantee all care workers automatic access to full normal wages for periods of self-isolation.

National officer Gavin Edwards said: “It’s over a year into the pandemic and staff still face severe financial hardship for self-isolating.

“Care workers who follow official health guidance mustn’t be penalised with huge cuts in wages. Not paying those affected by Covid puts the vulnerable at risk by driving up infections.

“The Government should ensure all care employers guarantee staff full income. The care sector also needs to be reformed urgently, and that includes decent wages for workers.”

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