'An important first step in the journey away from uncertainty around what will happen if a worker is off sick for any length of time,' said GRiD
The government recently published its ‘Good Work Plan', which outlines a commitment to workers' rights in the UK.
According to Wired, while the plan guarantees stable contracts after six months of work and increased fines for employers who violate the law, there are concerns among trade unions and campaigners that it does not go far enough to address the rights of gig economy workers, who may be on zero hours contracts or low wages.
Prompted by the Taylor Review in 2017, the new mandatory rules, which come into effect in April 2020, will, however, ‘extend the right to a day one written statement of rights to workers, going further to include detail on rights such as eligibility for sick leave and pay and details of other types of paid leave, such as maternity and paternity', the government said.
According to Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for group risk trade body GRiD, it is "an important first step" away from uncertainty around sick pay entitlement.
"A common reason people don't buy personal income protection is because they think they won't need it - ‘it won't happen to me', ‘the State will provide', ‘my employer will look after me' - but most don't actually know what protection is in place for them via their employer," she said. "It's absolutely crucial that people move beyond guesswork and assumption and have a clear idea of what they can expect from their employer if they have a period of sickness absence.
"Following this change, workers will be able to make a better informed decision on whether they need to make their own provision or whether they should lobby their employer to do more for them," she added.
The new rules will likely encourage people to take out protection, she believes, as employer obligations to make a statement about sick pay will make them more involved with the safeguarding of employees against income shocks, especially due to sickness absence.
"Following this change, workers will be able to make a better informed decision on whether they need to make their own provision or whether they should lobby their employer to do more for them," she said.
"Employers often don't appreciate that they could do so much more for their people if they looked at group income protection - it's cheaper than they think (GRiD's latest employer research shows that 75% of employers think that group income protection is more expensive than it is) and it also comes with a whole raft of extra help and support that enables a business to position itself as a caring organisation (rather than might otherwise be the case if they have to state to all of their people that they make no sick pay provision)."
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'Turning it into a positive'