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

We anticipate unprecedented demand, which is part of the reason why we have looked at the work that we no longer need to do during this period—for example, there was the announcement on ending face-to-face assessments for disability benefits—so that we can move health professionals on to the telephone systems to make sure that we can cope with demand and remove the need for people to unnecessarily visit jobcentres. We are keeping a very close eye on that on a day-to-day basis.

We are also removing the minimum income floor for self-employed universal credit claimants who have to self-isolate or who become ill as a result of coronavirus during this period. We are taking those measures to ensure that people are supported throughout this difficult period. We have increased access to sick pay, made it easier to access benefits and provided support for businesses to protect people’s jobs. This is a comprehensive package of support for some of the most vulnerable in society, but we are continuing to look at it by the day. The Chancellor has made it clear that there will be further announcements.