Category Archives: Citizens Advice – General

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CAB News 13 March 2020

Friday 13 March 2020

Our Head of Policy for Families, Welfare and Work, Kayley Hignell, has been live on the BBC’s budget programming.

Our response to Wednesday’s announcement that the regulations surrounding sick pay are to be changed to help cope with the coronavirus outbreak was also featured online and in several national newspapers.

The full statement can be found here.

National

Your work rights if your child has to stay home explained

Daily Star, 12/03/2020

Coverage of our coronavirus help is continuing, with the latest information being featured in both the Daily Star and The Sun.

Tracey Moss, employment expert at Citizens Advice, said: “In an emergency, you are entitled to take time off to make sure your child is looked after. This is known as dependant leave.

“Your employer can’t refuse you dependant leave if you have no other choice, and you can’t be disciplined or sacked for taking time off.”

Welfare

People who are self-isolating will get a ‘virtual’ sick note

The Andrew Neil Show, BBC2, 12/03/2020, p.6, Daniel Martin

Head of Policy for Families, Welfare and Work, Kayley Hignell, was twice interviewed live on the BBC’s main Budget Day programme. Her comments were also used by yesterday evening’s Andrew Neil show as part of the opening montage telling the ‘story of the day.’

Kayley said: “Sick pay, crucially, is only £94 a week, so it won’t go far… we’d have like to see more support for people.”

Our response to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s changes to sick pay regulations was also featured in the national newspapers.

Dame Gillian Guy, told the Daily Mail: “The Chancellor’s decision to extend statutory sick pay to those self-isolating will be a relief to some workers.

“But the self-employed and people in the 1.5 million jobs that don’t qualify for sick pay are still at risk of falling through the gaps if they become unwell.”

In The Sun Gillian said: “This unprecedented situation has exposed the long-standing flaws and inconsistencies in our sick pay and benefits systems.

“While today’s measures are encouraging, the government needs to take a longer term view and build on them to ensure our social safety net is fit for purpose.”

Universal Credit

Millions of people at risk of falling into debt

The Mirror, 10/03/2020, Emma Munbodh

Image result for sick pay

Statutory sick pay will be made available from day one when self-isolating, instead of day four, the Prime Minister announced last week.

However more than 1.5 million workers are still waiting on a response on how the Government will protect them if they fall ill with coronavirus.

Dame Gillian Guy said in the Daily Express: “Coronavirus won’t discriminate between those eligible for sick pay and people who simply cannot afford to fall unwell.

“We know this is something front of mind for millions of people who could face the impossible choice of working while ill or ignoring guidance to self-isolate.”

Gillian told The Mirror: “The Chancellor must set out plans to broaden the pool of people eligible for statutory sick pay and ensure that the benefits system can respond flexibly to those who need it. Otherwise millions could fall through the gaps.”

Meanwhile more of our advice on people’s rights to sick pay was featured in The Sun.

Advice

Daily Express, 06/02/2020, Jess Sheldon

Image result for statutory sick pay

Citizens Advice is urging the government to protect millions of workers who may be pushed into financial hardship by government advice to self-isolate during the coronavirus.

In the Daily Express one of our clients, Sheila, shared her fears over the consequences of the outbreak in order to illustrate the problem.

She said: “I am contracted to work 10 hours a week and when I have previously been sick for a few days, my manager has paid me but said it was at their discretion.

“If I did get coronavirus I am not sure if I would get paid or if I can get Statutory Sick Pay.”

Dame Gillian Guy, said: “No one should fear getting ill or risk their health because they won’t be able to pay their bills, but this will be the reality for millions of workers if the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

“Problems with our system for sick pay are long-standing.

“The government must clarify sick pay rights for workers and ensure the benefits system can respond flexibly so that people have enough to make ends meet if they do fall ill.”

Meanwhile The Guardian, The Metro and The Telegraph were among the national papers using our advice for practical guidance on a range of issues.

For instance, if an event is cancelled because of the outbreak the organiser should refund ticket holders.

However, our Senior Consumer Advice Expert, Jan Carton, quoted in The Telegraph, warned against scammers. “If your event is cancelled and companies offer their services to recover money on your behalf, look out for the signs of a potential scam.”

Budget

People are sick of work that does not pay – Our advice to the Chancellor

The Mirror, 11/03/2020, p.32, Tricia Phillips

Tricia Phillips, the Daily Mirror’s Personal Finance Editor, has written a letter to the chancellor on her advice to the chancellors on today’s budget.

In her letter, the journalist said “Dame Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens
Advice, summed the situation up well when she said: “No one imagined that coronavirus would be the backdrop for this Budget. While there are big issues to address, front of mind for many people right now is how they’ll afford their bills if they do fall unwell.”

In other news

Coronavirus: Food bank shortage blamed on panic buying.

Coronavirus ‘could cost millions of tourism jobs’.

Coronavirus: Volunteers rally round to help those self-isolating.

DWP says it is ‘shocked’ by its own disability tribunal record.