Care home workers across the country are struggling to make ends meet because they are still not given full pay when they are ill, it has been claimed.
Trade union Unison said that staff at care homes are putting residents’ lives at risk by being forced to work because they are only offered statutory sick pay (£96 per week) instead of their normal pay when they fall ill with Covid-19 or should be self-isolating.
Gavin Edwards, a senior national officer at Unison, said: “Care workers dropping to statutory sick pay when they need to self-isolate is one of the worst scandals of the UK response to the pandemic.”
He said: “The system isn’t working. Low-paid staff shouldn’t be losing money they can ill afford when they’re poorly or stopping home to avoid spreading the virus.”
Edwards said that all care workers should be told they are automatically on full or normal pay for self-isolation and the government needs to make it clear that any employer breaching this rule will face “serious consequences”.
Last year the Department of Health and Social Care set up a £1.1bn infection control fund to help pay for self-isolating and sick care workers.
But Edwards said that care homes are still struggling financially and workers are struggling to make ends meet.
Edwards added: “It’s simply wrong that almost a year into the pandemic and many care workers are having to survive on less than £100 a week if they fall ill or need to isolate.”