In Parliament this week I pressed the government to address a deeply unfair situation whereby lower paid workers who fall ill after returning to work from being on furlough risk losing their entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay.
GMB union research shows that low-paid workers who have been furloughed during the pandemic (and only received 80% of their salaries) may lose their entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay as their furloughed salary over the previous eight weeks falls below the ‘Lower Earnings Limit’ of £120 per week – even if their ‘normal’ level of pay is above this threshold.
Speaking in Business Questions, I said “The furlough scheme was obviously welcome, but, as the GMB has pointed out, those on lower pay who return to work after being furloughed and then fall ill may find that they are not entitled to statutory sick pay as it is based on actual earnings. Can the Leader of the House ask Ministers to address this?”
The Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP said that “steps are being taken to try to help people on lower incomes when affected by illnesses relating to the coronavirus.”
The Leader of the House’s response did not address the issue I raised. The fact is that the government could have amended sick pay regulations to avoid this deeply unfair situation, but they didn’t. People who were furloughed during the pandemic and received 80% of their salary through no fault of their own should be exempt from this unjust loophole.