The Prime Minister has announced that workers who qualify for statutory sick pay (SSP) will now receive SSP from the first day of absence, in an effort to help contain coronavirus. Under the existing rules, SSP is only payable from the fourth "qualifying day" of absence, and so the announced changes would mean three extra days of payment.
However, will this change be enough to motivate workers to self-isolate? For many of those who qualify for SSP, the set weekly payment of £94.25 is simply insufficient to cover their family expenses and the extra three days of paid leave (about £40) won't do much to help that.
Equally, there are many workers out there who do not qualify for SSP at all. SSP is only available for workers who earn at least £118 a week. Workers who earn less than that are not entitled to receive any payment at all during periods of sickness absence. These workers are unlikely to be able to afford to self-isolate and may have no option but to continue working, even if they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
Workers will get statutory sick pay from the first day off work, not the fourth, to help contain coronavirus, the prime minister has said.