NHS England issued guidelines instructing trusts to pay full sick pay to employees who need to isolate themselves from the illness. However, there is growing concern that nearly 400,000 caregivers who sign up for zero hour contracts may miss them.
There are fears that caregivers who earn an average of just over £ 8 an hour in the private sector may show up for work if they feel unwell to avoid loss of wages due to illness or self-isolation.
Statutory sick pay (SSP) of £ 94.25 per week begins after workers have been absent for four consecutive days. Although Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced Wednesday in the budget that the SSP will be extended until day one, an open letter from more than 100 MPs states that many caregivers who work irregularly cannot prove that they do Earn over £ 118 a week to qualify for payment. The letter emphasized that those who receive SSP while isolating themselves take home far less than in a normal week, which means that this will cause “significant financial difficulties for them and their families”.
The care sector shows notoriously dangerous wage instability. A Guardian investigation earlier revealed how a large UK company fined workers £ 50 if they called sick.
The letter welcomes NHS England, which instructs trusts: “Make sure that all employees, including bank employees and subcontractors, who need to be physically present in an NHS facility to perform their duties, are available for any period of time they are needed Get the full pay to isolate yourself based on public health advice. “
MEPs are calling for guidelines to be extended to all caregivers to ensure that caregivers do not suffer financial harm if they become infected with Covid-19. However, this will help delay the spread of the virus in nursing homes and among vulnerable people, and potentially save lives. “
Labor MP Helen Hayes, who organized the letter – also signed by Shadow Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Barbara Keeley – said: “Social workers work incredibly hard all year round to help older people and adults of working age who have nursing needs. Many of those in need of care are also classified in high-risk corona virus categories, and it is important that social care workers receive the advice and support to keep them working while minimizing the risk of infection for themselves and the vulnerable people in their care.
“Currently, nurses with zero hour contracts do not have the same access to sick pay as employees and subcontractors at NHS Bank. The NHS trusts were advised to pay all employees in full to ensure that they isolate themselves when needed. Social workers who are advised to isolate themselves face the difficult choice of financial difficulties or the continuation of their work, and risk passing the coronavirus on to their patients. The government needs to address this urgently and provide the means to prevent a public health emergency in the social sector. “
A government spokesman said: “Just yesterday we released new guidelines for the social care sector to ensure that older people and people with existing conditions and care needs are supported.
“As part of the government’s emergency response, statutory sickness benefits will be available to those affected by corona viruses from day one. Anyone who has zero hour contracts and may not be entitled to statutory sick pay can apply for a universal loan or New Style employment and support allowance, depending on their circumstances. “