The New Zealand government pays for workers self-isolating because of the pandemic to get $586 (£291) a week. Even the Australian government has conceded some paid “pandemic leave”, for care-home workers and those in the state of Victoria.
Now the Tories have followed with a sort of quarter or one-eighth concession: £13 a day for some low-paid workers in a few trial areas if they have positive virus tests or are contacts.
Stephen Reicher, a member of the government’s official SAGE committee, commented: “Woefully inadequate… Why only £13 a day? Why only in high infection areas? Why only for those on universal credit/working tax credit?”
Safe and Equal is campaigning for full isolation pay for all, which should be continued post-pandemic as legally-binding full sick pay for all.
An academic study has found that larger, fuller, lower-staffed care homes have had much higher death rates. Care homes are much less full now, but there are 120,000 job vacancies in the care sector.
The care homes should be taken into the public sector, kept less full, and staffed on regular public-sector pay and conditions.