` Top 10 stories from this week: Reforming sick pay needs to be part of the solution | Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA)
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27 May 2022
by Dawn Lewis

Top 10 stories from this week: Reforming sick pay needs to be part of the solution

Statutory sick pay reform is long overdue and could play an important role in supporting employees' wellbeing as the cost of living crisis bites

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With yesterday’s announcement that all UK households will receive support with their fuel bills in the coming months, many will be breathing a small sigh of relief. But ‘small’ is the key word. Despite the government’s intervention, many will still face fuel poverty. 

But what does this have to do with sick pay? Earlier this week benefits provider Unum highlighted the need for sick pay reform, citing the economic benefits of doing so. It’s an issue that was raised during the height of the pandemic when staff who tested positive for Covid-19, but were not significantly unwell, were required to self-isolate. 

This undoubtedly caused financial hardship for those who only received Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which stands at just under £100 a week. It wasn’t sufficient before the cost of living crisis, and it certainly isn’t now. 

As the cost of living crisis deepens my fear is that more people will continue to work while unwell in order to maintain their income. This is bad for the individual who may see their illness worsen, bad for their colleagues who may in turn become ill themselves, and bad for their organisation, which will have an underperforming and potentially unsafe employee at work. 

And so, to support people through the cost of living crisis, wellbeing needs to be part of the solution, and that means reforming SSP. However, until the government makes significant moves to realign SSP, employers will once again be leaned upon to support their employees.

For more reward and employee benefits news you might have missed this week, read our top 10 snippets below.

Sick pay reform could boost UK economy by £3.9bn

HR Grapevine Statutory sick pay reform could boost the economy by a whopping £3.9billion over the next five years, new research has revealed.

Leading benefits provider Unum’s research, conducted by WPI Economics and presented to Parliament today, shows how reforming the UK’s 40-year-old statutory sick pay system could save the Exchequer £1.3billion, in addition to the £3.9billion economic boost. Read more

Executive pay gap set to widen, think tank warns

People Management The gap between executive pay and the earnings of average employees is expected to widen again this year after shrinking slightly during the Covid crisis, a think tank has said. Read more
Davos hears that ‘wages can rise’ without creating price spiral

Personnel Today Wages do not have to be held back to help avoid an inflationary wage-price spiral, a leading economist has said.

Speaking at a meeting of the World Economic Forum, Gina Gopinath, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, told delegates including world leaders that it’s possible to create a situation where wages rise but prices do not. The key to doing this was to reduce company profits, she said. Read more

2 in 3 firms have NO financial wellbeing support for staff

HR Grapevine Two-thirds of organisations have yet to implement formal employee financial wellbeing strategies, new research has revealed. Read more

UK minister for pensions promises reform

HR Magazine Minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman has pledged to launch two consultations on the future of pensions in the UK.

Speaking yesterday (23 May) at a Pension Playpen event, Opperman said that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would consult with businesses on ways to reform pension costs and charges, and how the UK can introduce a brand new type of pension. Read more

Quarter of workers are now hybrid, official figures show

People Management A quarter of UK workers are now hybrid working, official figures have shown, while nearly half are working exclusively in the office. Read more

Purpose-driven work vital to employee health

HR Magazine Working in a job with purpose can help employees fight off serious health problems and even make them live longer, according to Wolfgang Seidl, workplace health consultant at Mercer Marsh Benefits. Read more

Employers lack data to make IR35 worker status decisions, say MPs

Personnel Today Organisations do not always have the information they need to make accurate worker status decisions under IR35 requirements and it is too difficult for workers to challenge decisions they feel are incorrect, according to a group of MPs. Read more

Leading UK schemes make commitments to net zero

Professional Pensions Leading UK companies have announced their plans to reach net-zero ambitions by no later than 2050.

Royal Mail and Co-op have announced their pledge to make their schemes commit to tackling climate change by halving the emissions of their investments by 2030. Read more

Employees resigning in 2022: Survey shows ‘great resignation’ not over

Personnel Today Almost one in five employees globally say they are likely to switch to a new employer in the next 12 months, according to research that suggests the so-called ‘great resignation’ is showing no signs of abating. Read more

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