9 in 10 carers can't afford time off sick

Posted by Jon Parker-Dean
Tuesday 5 December 2023
GMB Trade Union - 9 in 10 carers can't afford time off sick

Forty per cent wouldn’t even take time off with covid, survey shows

Nine out of ten care workers can’t afford to take time off sick, a survey has shown.

Forty per cent wouldn’t even take time off with covid, despite one in three catching the virus in 2023, the poll of HC-One carers reveals.

Meanwhile just one per cent get full company sick pay, according to the survey of almost 400 carers at the UK’s biggest care provider.

Almost all care workers are forced to rely on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which only kicks in after three days of sickness and is then just £109/week.

GMB has this week launched a ‘Sick of SSP’ campaign – aimed at stamping out the scourge of SSP in the care sector. 

GMB surveyed 362 HC-One care workers in November 2023

  • 89 per cent said they either cannot afford to take time off sick or would struggle financially if they took time off sick
  • At least one in three (32 per cent) said they had covid in 2023 (further 13 per cent had symptoms but didn’t test)
  • 39 per cent per cent say they would not take time off sick when they had covid
  • Just 7 per cent say they can afford to take time off sick
  • just 1 per cent per cent get company sick pay

Natalie Grayson, GMB National Officer, said:

“Statutory Sick Pay literally kills people in the care sector.

“The Government finally released this during covid when our care homes were turned into morgues – temporarily offering low-paid carers sick pay from day one.

“Now carers are once again forced to survive on poverty sick pay via SSP. It’s disgraceful, as well as a massive public health risk.

“Do we really want the most vulnerable people in society to be cared for by people forced to come in to work sick because they can’t afford not to?

“GMB is calling for all care providers to offer full sick pay from day one.”

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