Following Boris Johnson’s announcement on statutory sick pay at Prime Minister’s questions, SNP MP Marion Fellows has urged the UK government to go further and extend the policy.

Today Boris Johnson announced that workers who are forced to take sick leave will get statutory sick pay from the first day of their absence, instead of after four days under the current rules, as part of emergency Coronavirus measures.

However, the SNP’s Disabilities spokesperson has said this does not go far enough and that the policy should be extended to be set at an hourly rate and living wage, available to everyone regardless of earnings, working hours or contract, and available for 52 weeks instead of 28.

Commenting, Marion Fellows, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw said:

“I am pleased that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will now begin from the first day of a worker’s absence instead of after four but the UK government must extend the policy further to ensure that sick pay is set at an hourly rate and available for everyone for 52 weeks instead of 28.

“Current rules around SSP are not flexible enough to meet real life needs, and fall far short of meeting a dignified standard of living – even with this new change. We must have a sick pay system fit for the 21st century which does not force people to choose between working while ill and hardship.

“Disability groups have been especially vocal in calling for an overhaul of the sick pay system. Their concerns must be factored into the UK government’s response to their sick pay consultation.

“If the UK government will not make these crucial changes then it should devolve the powers to Holyrood so it can – to meet people’s needs in Scotland and ensure their standard of living is not disadvantaged by Coronavirus or any other illness that they have contracted through no fault of their own.”