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The women who wouldn't get coronavirus sick pay

The women who wouldn't get coronavirus sick pay

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 9:01am 21st March 2020. (Updated at 9:15am 21st March 2020)

It has been revealed that the poorest 10% of Cornwall's female workers would not get sick pay if they were off work due to Covid-19.

In March’s Budget, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that Statutory Sick Pay would be extended to anyone diagnosed with the virus, or those self-isolating, from the first day they cannot work.

But you are only eligible for the £94.25 per week payment – covered by your employer for up to 28 weeks – if you earn at least £118 a week on average.

The lowest-paid 10% of female workers in Cornwall earned £105.40 or less per week before tax in April 2019, the latest Office for National Statistics figures show.

This was below the threshold for receiving sick pay – the figure stood at £187.20 for the bottom 10% of working men.

Across the UK, the lowest-earning tenth of male workers took home £234.00 or less weekly on average in April last year, while the figure was just £124.20 for women.



Sara Willcocks, head of communications at the anti-poverty charity Turn2us, said the pandemic had “highlighted how precarious it really is for millions of employees in the UK”.

“Although people who fall below the Lower Earnings Limit are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, they may be eligible for contributory Employment Support Allowance.

“Failing that you can also apply for Universal Credit but you will be subjected to the five-week wait.

“We would urge any individual in this situation to look into what support they can apply for as soon as possible.”

Sara Willcocks, Turn2us

Ms Willcocks added that the figures should be a wake-up for the Government to “build a proper social security net people can rely on”.

"As part of our emergency response to this unprecedented outbreak, Statutory Sick Pay is available from day one for those who must stay at home on government advice.

“Those who may not be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay are able to claim Universal Credit or contributory Employment and Support Allowance, dependent on their circumstances."

Government spokesperson

You can find all the source data here.

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