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Statutory Sick Pay and Protection for Workers

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:03 pm on 18th March 2020.

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Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 1:03 pm, 18th March 2020

I have worked very closely with the hon. Lady on a number of issues, and I know that she is held in huge respect across both sides of the House.

Prior to being an MP, I ran my own business, so I understand the concerns of self-employed people who have suddenly overnight seen dramatic changes to their cash flow and ability to trade as a business. I absolutely understand the worries that people will have, which is why we are allowing access to statutory sick pay or, depending on people’s personal circumstances, looking at whether they can turn to new-style ESA—the contributory benefit—which is probably the case for the self-employed, or the wider support offer through universal credit and the welfare net. People would need to look at their circumstances and talk to the jobcentres. We are all trying to do our best to provide as much certainty as possible, as quickly as possible, through the daily updates.