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Our letter to the UK Government

Dear Secretaries of State for Work and Pensions, and Health and Social Care,

The UK’s Statutory Sick Pay system is outdated and isn’t working for disabled people, including those of us with mental health problems.

Providing no pay for the first three days, and then just £94.25 a week, it’s no wonder that people are being plunged into poverty, or falling out of work altogether. We face a situation where for every 100 disabled people who get into work, 120 leave.

Mind found that two in three people with a mental health problem who received Statutory Sick Pay faced financial problems, with some struggling to pay bills or buy food.

One in three disabled workers told Scope that the current system has forced them to keep working or return to work before they felt ready. No-one should pay such a high price for having to take time off sick or feel stuck needing to work when unwell.

The last Government launched a consultation on important changes to Statutory Sick Pay. We need you to urgently respond to the consultation, and take further meaningful action to fix the system.

Everyone should have access to a fair amount of sick pay, from day one, and year round. This means:

  • increasing the rate of Statutory Sick Pay in line with the minimum wage or living wage
  • removing waiting days
  • expanding eligibility to those paid under £118 a week
  • increasing the length of Statutory Sick Pay to 52 weeks
  • introducing a rebate for small and medium sized employers

We need you to create a modern sick pay system which is flexible and fair. One which allows disabled people, including people with mental health problems, to stay and thrive in work.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Hodgkinson, Chief Executive, Scope

Paul Farmer CBE, Chief Executive, Mind

Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive, National Autistic Society

Charles Colquhoun, CEO, Thomas Pocklington Trust

Clare McNeil, IPPR (Signing as an individual)

Chris James, Director of External Affairs, MND Association

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, National AIDS Trust

Deidre Costigan, National Officer, Disability Equality, UNISON

Emma Thomas, CEO, Young Minds

Helen Gravestock, Associate Director, Policy and Influencing, CLIC Sargent

Jan Golding, Founder and CEO, Roots HR CIC

Jo Miller, Director of Operations, Income Protection Task Force

Jonny Timpson, Cabinet Office Disability and Action Champion for the UK Industry and Profession

Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK

Kathryn Scott, Director of Policy, British Psychological Society

Katie Alpin, Acting Chief Executive, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

Liam O'Toole, CEO, Versus Arthritis

Leonard Cheshire Disability

Mark Rowland, CEO, Mental Health Foundation

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink

Matt Oakley, Director, WPI Economics (signing as an individual)

Nick Moberly, Chief Executive, MS Society

Rachel Holmes, Chief Executive, Matrix Chambers

Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health

Professor Wendy Burn, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

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