Introduce quarantine pay to help prevent virus spread, says tax firm

The government should introduce Statutory Quarantine Pay (SQP) so that low-paid workers have an automatic right to money to support them in sickness or when they have to self-isolate, a tax and advisory firm has said.

Such pay could be made using existing rules for Statutory Maternity Pay, suggests Heather Self, a partner at Blick Rothenberg. SMP is paid at 90% of a worker’s average wages for six weeks.

This “would give low-paid workers an automatic right to the money, and would encourage more people to self-isolate at a time when this is crucial”, Self says.

She goes on to suggest that by using the existing SMP system, an eligibility test of a positive Covid test or instruction to self-isolate, “SQP could be introduced quickly and as a matter of urgency”. 

A worker earning minimum wage for 40 hours a week would earn £350 a week based on an hourly rate of £8.72 rate for someone aged 25 or over. If they are sick or have to self-isolate, they will only get Statutory Sick Pay at £95.50 per week, Self says.

Under the current system, this means that a worker who has a positive test or must self-isolate faces losing a low-paid worker up to £300 over the two-week period. “While Universal Credit may be available, it is not going to pay out immediately and is unlikely to meet the full gap,” Self explains.

“The government has said that everyone who can work at home should do so. For those who cannot work at home and who cannot afford to self-isolate, SQP is urgently needed to support low-paid individuals and help stop the spread of the virus.”

• Comment below on this story. Or let us know what you think by emailing us at [email protected] or tweet us to tell us your thoughts or share this story with a friend.

Spring Budget expected to show businesses road to recovery

Pre-Budget news reports say that an extension to the furlough scheme, a rise in corporation tax, a new round of grants for the self-employed and a £5bn fund to help hospitality and retail outlets are among the provisions anticipated for the Spring Budget, set to be announced this afternoon.

3 March 2021

NPAworldwide predicts global bounce-back in next six months

Results of a twice-annual business barometer survey conducted by global recruitment network NPAworldwide suggest that market conditions could be ripe for improvement around the world in the next 180 days.

3 March 2021

Firms can pay deferred VAT in smaller instalments, says HMRC

Businesses that deferred VAT payments between March and June 2020 under the VAT Payment Deferral Scheme can now join the scheme to pay it in smaller monthly instalments, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) announced today.

23 February 2021

REC to seek more details from Adecco and PMP Recruitment over Amazon allegations

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) said today [22 February 2021] that they will be seeking “further detail” from PMP Recruitment and Adecco about alleged poor working conditions and contracts for agency workers at online retail giant Amazon.

22 February 2021
Top