Sick pay in social care

Back to all Motions

2023 National Community Conference and Seminar
9 November 2022
Carried as Amended

Conference last year resolved to campaign on sick pay, noting that many workers in our sectors receive only statutory sick pay. That means they receive hopelessly inadequate pay when sick, and nothing at all for the first three days of any sickness absence. Workers are forced to choose between going into work sick and feeding their families or doing the right thing by colleagues and service users, by staying away when not fit to work. The consequences, particularly where deadly infectious diseases such as Covid are in circulation, can be extremely serious.

Reaching workplace agreements on occupational sick pay can address this with individual employers. However, some employers replicate “the first three days unpaid” rule in their occupational schemes. This gives rise to all the same problems of working while sick which are inherent in the statutory sick pay regime. It can also increase the length of sickness absences, as workers will ensure they are absolutely back to full form before returning to work, in the knowledge that if they come back too soon and need to be absent again, there will again be three unpaid days before their sick pay kicks in.

Conference calls upon the Service Group executive to:

1. Provide clear bargaining support information to reps and officers engaged in negotiations around sickness absence and sick pay.

2. Encourage reps and officers where UNISON is recognised for bargaining, to press for sick pay from day one where this is not now provided and resist any attempt to move backwards where this is already the case.

3. Campaign through all available means, including the Labour Link and other contacts with political parties for improved statutory sick pay provisions, and for local authorities and others to specify good standards of sick pay provision when commissioning services.