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21 June, 2021 Open access

Majority of self-isolation grant applications in England are still being turned down despite recently increased funding

TUC warns that reopening of workplaces along with new Covid variants could once again expose the failings of the self-isolation support scheme and ‘measly’ sick pay

The majority of self-isolation grant applications in England are still being turned down despite recently increased government funding, the TUC has warned.

In its latest analysis of the self-isolation payment scheme - introduced by the government on 28 September 2020 to offer a one-off £500 payment to those who need to self-isolate because of coronavirus but cannot work from home - the TUC finds that the majority of applications (64 per cent) have been rejected, even taking account of increased funding announced in February 2021. In addition, the TUC points out that the rejection rate has changed little since its last analysis in February 2021, when it found that 70 per cent of applications were rejected.

In addition, in separate analysis based on polling of more than 2,000 working people, the TUC highlights that only a minority of workers are even aware of the grant scheme -

Warning that these findings show that the self-isolation support scheme is failing, and demonstrate an urgent need to raise SSP to the level of the real Living Wage while also extending it to all workers irrespective of their pay level, the TUC says only then will workers stop suffering financial hardship when required to self-isolate.

 TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said -

‘The self-isolation payment scheme is failing. And it has been crystal clear since the start of the pandemic that the UK’s measly statutory sick pay isn't enough to live on.

The combination of new variants, reopened indoor hospitality and increasing numbers returning to their workplace could once again brutally expose the lack of financial support available for those needing to self-isolate.

Enough is enough. Ministers must urgently raise statutory sick pay to at least the real Living Wage. And they must ensure that everyone has access to it.’

For more information see ‘A failing scheme few people have heard of’ - TUC urges sick pay reform as number of self-isolation grants awarded remains low.