Statutory Sick Pay: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 15th April 2020.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions her Department has had with the Treasury on increasing the amount of Statutory Sick Pay paid to people who have to (a) self-isolate or (b) are diagnosed with covid-19.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

An error has been identified in the written answer given on 23 March 2020.

The correct answer should have been:

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

The current Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rate is the legal minimum rate that an employer must pay to an employee; many employers have their own occupational health schemes. The SSP system is designed to balance support for the individual with the costs to the employer and, as such, there are no plans to make this change. The Government has been clear in its commitment to support those affected in these difficult times and we have made a number of changes to the welfare system in the past fortnight to ensure people are supported in doing this. These changes include:

  • making it easier to access benefits. SSP is now payable from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 – and those applying for Contributory ESA will be able to claim from day 1 – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessment. Both Universal Credit and Contributory ESA can now be claimed by phone or online;
  • increasing the standard allowance of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by around £1000 per year; and
  • increasing in the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

Together, these measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system.

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Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

The current Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rate is the legal minimum rate that an employer must pay to an employee; many employers have their own occupational health schemes. The SSP system is designed to balance support for the individual with the costs to the employer and, as such, there are no plans to make this change. The Government has been clear in its commitment to support those affected in these difficult times and we have made a number of changes to the welfare system in the past fortnight to ensure people are supported in doing this. These changes include:

  • making it easier to access benefits. SSP is now payable from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 – and those applying for Contributory ESA will be able to claim from day 1 – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessment. Both Universal Credit and Contributory ESA can now be claimed by phone or online;
  • increasing the standard allowance of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by around £1000 per year; and
  • increasing in the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

Together, these measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.