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‘Manifestly inadequate’ Statutory Sick Pay in the UK

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A report by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) has concluded that the level of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in the UK is “manifestly inadequate”. The report aimed to assess the UK’s compliance with the European Social Charter, including Article 12, which provides that all workers have the right to social security. The report’s overall conclusion was that the UK is not complying with the Charter.

The ECSR’s conclusion regarding the adequacy of SSP was based on data which showed that the 2015 median annual income level for an individual in the UK was £14,854. The report defined the poverty level as 50 per cent of the median annual income, meaning anyone earning less than £142.82 per week was regarded as living in poverty. The ECSR noted that the level of SSP in 2015 was less than 40 per cent of the median annual income and, as a result, well below the poverty level. It was based on this finding that it considered the benefit to be manifestly inadequate.

The same committee published a report in 2014, which also reached the same conclusion. Whilst an overhaul of SSP levels seems unlikely any time soon, on 6 April this year the rate of SSP will increase from £89.35 to £92.05, for those earning at least £116.