According to the SNP Sick Pay Has Decreased by Nearly a Tenth Under the Tories.Statutory Sick Pay in UK Falls by Almost a 10th in Real Terms Since Conservative Leadership: SNP Research
According to the SNP Sick Pay Has Decreased by Nearly a Tenth Under the Tories
New research conducted on behalf of the Scottish National Party (SNP) reveals that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in the United Kingdom has decreased by nearly 10% in real terms since the Conservative party took office. The SNP asserts that the UK is lagging behind in supporting ill employees compared to other European nations.
The UK Labeled the “Sick Man of Europe” for Employee Support
The SNP has criticized the UK’s stance on supporting sick employees, labeling it the “sick man of Europe” due to its inadequate support system. In contrast, several other European countries offer sick pay that amounts to 100% of an employee’s full wages for extended periods.
Contrasting Sick Pay Across European Countries
The SNP points out that various European nations provide significant sick pay coverage. For example, Switzerland offers up to two years, Norway provides a year, Austria offers up to 12 weeks, Luxembourg provides 11 weeks, Germany provides six weeks, and Belgium offers up to a month of sick pay. Most of these countries also provide additional paid sick leave, with state benefits or health insurance contributing to a portion of the employee’s previous salary.
Erosion of Statutory Sick Pay Value Over Time
An analysis by the House of Commons Library reveals the diminishing value of SSP over time. In 2009/10, sick pay was equivalent to £120.01 per week in 2023/24 prices. However, currently, it has reduced to £109.40 per week, marking a decrease of £10.61 or 8.84%.
SNP’s Call for Independence and Fairer Employee Support
Richard Thomson MP, the SNP’s business spokesperson, emphasizes the need for independence to establish a fairer system akin to that of European counterparts. He criticizes the UK government, asserting that while neighboring European countries offer 100% of full wages for sick employees, UK workers receive little more than £100 per week. Thomson argues that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the gaps in the support system under Westminster control and contends that independence is crucial to building a more equitable, healthier, and prosperous future for Scotland.
Government Response and Alternatives
A spokesperson from the Department for Work and Pensions defends the existing framework by stating that employers can choose to provide more extensive and longer occupational sick pay. Additionally, the government points to the Universal Credit system as a robust safety net for those requiring extra support. Various programs, grants, and advice services are offered to assist individuals with disabilities and health conditions in entering, remaining, and succeeding in the workforce.
The SNP’s research underscores the decline in real-term value of Statutory Sick Pay in the UK and highlights the contrasting approaches to employee support in Europe. The party calls for independence as a means to establish a fairer system for supporting ill workers and criticizes the current government’s stance on employee welfare. The government, in response, defends the existing system and points to alternative forms of support available through Universal Credit and related initiatives.
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