The government has announced new restrictions and guidance in response to the growing threat posed by the Omicron variant.
“With cases of the Omicron variant rising, the government has initiated new guidance to come into effect next week.
Just yesterday, there were 50,617 new cases of Coronavirus registered. In order to keep each other safe, it is imperative that those who need to self-isolate do so. However, for many workers isolating means losing wages and receiving statutory sick pay at £96.35 per week. For the U.K.s over three million self-employed workers, their only option is to claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA), a process also incredibly bureaucratic and difficult to claim.
Catching Coronavirus represents to these workers, not just a risk to their personal health but it could push them into financial hardship and destitution.
Missing from the government’s strategy is any 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 isn’t good enough. Our research shows us that 77% of our self-employed members are worried that they won’t be able to pay basic bills without sick pay.
Other countries, such as Denmark, already have systems in place to provide sick pay to those in non-traditional styles of employment like the self-employed.
It is imperative that we get ahead of the Omicron variant, and the only way we do that is by ensuring those who need to isolate, can do so. Without this, the Government’s Plan B just won’t work.”
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