• Vast majority of UK adults (78%) said they would have to consider returning to work before recovered if forced to rely on sick pay
  • Clear majority (59%) think rate of Statutory Sick Pay is too low
  • Research puts pressure on Government to fix UK sick pay – the Safe Sick Pay Campaign

Most adults think the UK's rate of sick pay is too low, and the vast majority of workers say they would consider returning to work before they had recovered if they had to survive on it, according to research from the Safe Sick Pay Campaign.

In a poll carried out by Opinium on behalf of the Safe Sick Pay Campaign, 59% of people said that the UK's rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP - £99 per week) is too low. Despite the health risks, 78% of workers said they would have to consider going into work while sick rather than rely on SSP.

The findings are based on a nationally representative poll of 1000 people carried out in August 2022 and add pressure on the Government to fix SSP before the cost-of-living crisis puts even greater pressure on people who are too ill to work, according to the Safe Sick Pay Campaign.

For a third of workers, SSP is the only support available if they have to take time off through illness. Employers who only provide SSP must do so for the first six months of illness, but the vast majority of people polled (78%) said they would not be able to get by on SSP for that long, and 20% said they would face immediate difficulties, and manage for less than a week.

As winter approaches, the prospect of rising flu and covid cases means that higher sick pay is crucial to ease the sharpest edge of the cost-of-living crisis for those on low incomes and in precarious work, the Safe Sick Pay Campaign says.

Amanda Walters, Campaign Director of the Safe Sick Pay Campaign, said:

“For millions of workers – particularly those on low pay and in precarious work such as cleaners and carers – safe sick pay simply does not exist, and they face having to work through illness, or take time off they cannot afford.

“This polling shows the injustice of this system, and its risk to public health, are clear to everyone. The Government must urgently fix this broken system to protect workers’ wellbeing, and ensure that everyone can access safe sick pay.”

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