Boris Johnson has today announced plans to end Coronavirus self-isolation laws.
Kate Dearden, Head of Research, Policy and External Relations at Community, said:
Any roadmap to living with Coronavirus must be balanced with appropriate protections for workers and their right to a safe working environment.
It is important that those who need to stay at home are still able to – that means the provision of adequate sick pay so no one is forced to choose between their health and their finances.
Instead of announcing the rolling back of sick pay so that people can only claim after 3 days, the government should have announced an increase in sick pay and the crucial extension of sick pay to the self-employed. With the U.K’s sick pay currently being amongst the lowest in Europe, this simply isn’t good enough.
The removal of free lateral flow tests from 1st April is a concerning development.
Lateral flow tests are an essential part of containing the spread of Coronavirus, which remains an important part of the function of many industries. We do not want to see a repeat of the supply chain disruption we saw over the last winter.
These change will impact those most exposed to the Coronavirus, typically those who are younger, in lower-paid or insecure work, or in industries where social distancing and working from home is impossible. Lateral flow tests should remain free for the foreseeable future and the government must raise sick pay for good.”
On the impact of scrapping of measures to Education and Early Years, Helen Osgood, National Officer at Community, said:
“At this key moment in the management of the pandemic, education and early years settings need clear guidance from the Government on where they go from here.
The safety of staff, children and their families must be paramount. The number of cases could soon rise again, unless we remain vigilant.
Without free and regular testing, asymptomatic individuals will take Coronavirus into the workplace. Having free lateral flow tests are crucial to the management of Coronavirus infections in education and early years. We urge the Government to consider keeping free lateral flow tests in these settings.
We urge all education and early years workplaces and staff to be cautious, and maintain sensible and proportionate measures. Those who want to continue to wear appropriate face coverings should be supported in doing so.”
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