Statutory sick pay is increased annually through uprating, which does not require an equality impact assessment. Individuals requiring further financial support may receive it through the welfare system.
Research by my union, the GMB, has shown that a failure to raise statutory sick pay to Liverpool rates has had serious detrimental effects on particular groups in our society. The status quo is disproportionately harming women workers, older workers, disabled workers, black and minority ethnic workers, workers who hold particular religious beliefs and workers who are married or in a civil partnership. Does the Minister agree that the Government should do an equality impact assessment of these policies and do more to ensure that statutory sick pay is set at a liveable rate?
Equality impact assessments are taken when there are policy changes, not part of the annual uprating exercise. That said, statutory sick pay should not be looked at in isolation because individuals, subject to their own circumstances, could access additional support from their employer, universal credit, or new-style employment and support allowance. We have recently concluded the consultation “Health is everyone’s business” in which many of these issues were raised and we will be publishing our reviews. We understand the points that the hon. Member has raised.