Former ministers say SSP reform is needed

09 May 2023

Former home secretary, Priti Patel and former lord chancellor and justice secretary, Sir Robert Buckland have called for changes to the current statutory sick pay (SSP) system. They said it should be altered so it helps ill people “get back on their feet and back to work”.

It's estimated that two million people in the UK aren’t eligible for any sick pay at all. In addition, another ten million individuals are eligible for SSP only, but due to the current rules, don’t receive any sick pay for the first three days of absence. 

A consultation which looked at potential reforms to SSP, ‘Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss’ considered making it so that employees who didn’t earn at or above the lower earnings limit would also be eligible for the payments. 75% of respondents to the consultation supported this move but the government confirmed no changes would be made in this space, stating “now is not the right time to introduce changes to the sick pay system”.

Patel and Buckland said: 

“The government has an opportunity to grasp the nettle and take forward these popular reforms. A modest investment in supporting those affected by ill heath will save businesses money by reducing the impact and risk of longer-term absence, help efforts to support recruitment, retention and employee morale, and provide a boost to our economy.

“The government can be both tough on those who need a nudge to get back into work and compassionate to those who through no fault of their own need time to recover. These simple tweaks to the system would ensure all workers get sick pay from their employer from day one of their illness. Second, we could ensure that every worker can access at least some sick pay from their employer.”

CIPP comment

The CIPP is  supporting the Safe Sick Pay campaign run by the Centre for Progressive Change (CPC).  The CPC promotes to build national organising campaigns for a more progressive society. To find out more on the work they do and the campaigns report, click on the link here.

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