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Two million low-paid workers could receive statutory sick pay for the first time under government proposals – a move it hopes would support people with disabilities and health conditions in the workplace.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have announced a consultation on new policies which it claims will help businesses support and retain disabled staff and those with health conditions, including lowering the eligibility threshold for sick pay.
Under current regulations, statutory sick pay (SSP) is only available for employees earning an average of £118 a week or more – the equivalent of working 14 hours a week on minimum wage for those aged 25 and over (£8.21).
Individuals need to have been ill for at least four consecutive days, including non-working days, to claim SSP, which is generally £94.95 a week unless an employer has a sick pay scheme. The maximum amount of time individuals can claim SSP is 28 weeks.
As part of a wider package aimed at helping keep workers with disabilities or long-term illnesses in work, the DWP said it is looking at whether to extend the eligibility to those earning below this threshold, meaning that millions of low-paid employees could be given SSP for the first time.
It aims to do this by supporting and encouraging early action by employers, including through the provision of SSP, for their employees who are managing health conditions or who are experiencing a period of sickness absence.
Other measures include the introduction of a sick pay rebate for small businesses, as well as changes to legal guidance to encourage employers to intervene early during a period of sickness absence.
For more information, you can read the People Management article here.