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Overlook ‘Sick Word Tradition’, It is UK Sick Pay That Wants Reforming

Overlook ‘Sick Word Tradition’, It is UK Sick Pay That Wants Reforming 

As employees absences on account of illness depart rise within the UK, the prime minister has pledged to clamp down on Britain’s so-called “sick be aware tradition” and convey individuals again to work. However some say Westminster has misdiagnosed the issue.

In response to a current committee report by the Division of Work and Pensions (DWP), it’s Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that wants reforming.

The report blasts the UK’s present sick pay system as “insufficient,” highlighting the meagre common 17% of wages provided. This determine means UK sick pay ranks among the many worst in Europe; and considerably lower than the common vary of 70-100% discovered on the continent.

Is paltry pay the actual cause staff are calling in sick? We delve into the info to see how the UK compares to different nations; and if hiked SSPs may heal the ailing labour market.

How does UK statutory sick pay evaluate to Europe?

Regardless of Westminster’s arguments on the contrary, analysis has proven that the UK workforce constantly takes fewer days off sick than some other superior financial system. One trigger could possibly be our below-average SSP, which ranks among the many worst in Europe.

Utilizing information from The Compensation Specialists, we’ve listed the highest 18 most populous European international locations beneath as an instance how their minimal sick pay fee (also called the wage substitute fee) compares to the UK.

Minimal sick pay as % of earlier wage Most sick pay as % of earlier wage Most period of time allowed off work
Denmark 100% 100% 26 weeks
Sweden 77.6% 80% 56 weeks
Romania 75% 75% 40 weeks
Netherlands 70% 70% 104 weeks
Bulgaria 70% 80% 78 weeks
Germany 70% 100% 78 weeks
Finland 70% 100% 44 weeks
Poland 70% 100% 31 weeks
Spain 60% 75% 78 weeks
Czech Republic 60% 72% 56 weeks
Hungary 60% 70% 54 weeks
Portugal 55% 75% 156 weeks
Austria 50% 100% 78 weeks
France 50% 50% 26 weeks
Italy 50% 66% 26 weeks
Greece 50% 100% 24 weeks (relying on size of employment)
Belgium 25.88% 100% 52 weeks
UK 17% (based mostly on common UK employee earnings) 17% (based mostly on common UK employee earnings) 28 weeks

The information reveals that Britain performs poorest total for sick pay. Primarily based on common weekly earnings, our wage substitute fee is 8% decrease than the second-worst performer, Belgium.

On prime of this, the Flemings will enable employees to earn this quantity for as much as 52 weeks, in comparison with the UK’s most window of 28 weeks.

Two Scandinavian international locations (Denmark and Sweden) scored highest within the rating, with Denmark even providing 100% remuneration for sick workers for as much as 26 weeks. Each international locations are recognized for his or her beneficiant work situations and advantages.

What’s the UK sick pay fee?

In contrast to the nations within the desk above, the UK is an outlier in not calculating sick pay as a set fee of earlier earnings. As an alternative, ailing workers might be paid a set quantity per week (generally known as Statutory Sick Pay) until their organisation decides in any other case.

On April 6, the SSP fee within the UK elevated from £109.40 per week to £116.75 per week for all workers who earn above the Decrease Earnings Restrict of £123 per week. This represented a ten% improve on the earlier entitlement.

Primarily based on the brand new determine, the common UK employee (who earned £677 per week in April 2024, based on authorities information) would earn simply 17% of their common wages whereas off sick.

That mentioned, many employers select to supply their employees enhanced sick depart and pay to minimise the affect on salaries and forestall workers being penalised on account of sickness.

These in low paid or insecure employment, reminiscent of minimal wage staff, usually tend to be paid SSP, as these roles usually don’t include extra worker advantages.

Primarily based on our calculations, a 21-year-old employee working a 40-hour workweek and being paid the Nationwide Residing Wage of £11.55 per hour will nonetheless have their earnings slashed to round 25% of their regular fee in the event that they develop into too sick to work.

What’s actually behind the “sick be aware tradition”?

Knowledge from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) reveals that unemployment figures are rising within the UK on account of a spike within the variety of staff on long-term sick depart.

The federal government is keen to get employees behind their desks. Pointing the finger at overzealous GPs handing out sick notes, it has recommended a whole overhaul of the system and the “sick be aware tradition” it has supposedly created. This will embody banning GPs from signing individuals off work.

The federal government’s issues could also be out of contact with actuality, nevertheless. Meagre SSP implies that many UK staff will earn below the weekly minimal wage if they’re taken ailing, forcing sick people to return into work anyway to fund their rising dwelling prices.

Alongside violating well being and security laws, this could possibly be worsening the problem. Interfering in an individual’s restoration will solely delay their return to work, and will result in well being problems down the road.

Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, mentioned: “Statutory sick pay is failing in its major goal to behave as a security internet for staff who most want monetary assist throughout sickness. With the nation persevering with to face excessive charges of illness absence, the Authorities can not afford to maintain kicking the can down the highway on reform.”

The report additionally finds that SSP stays too low, regardless of April’s improve. It argues that elevating UK SSP charges would allow staff to funds for inevitable days off sick (and permit Britain to extra intently compete with the remainder of Europe) to allow them to get effectively sufficient to return to work.

In accordance with the legislation, the federal government has till the top of this month to reply.

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