Boris Johnson suggests Britons should learn from Germany and stay off work ...
Boris Johnson had everyone shouting at their television screens during his coronavirus press briefing last night.
While discussing his new 'Living with Covid' strategy, the PM triggered raised eyebrows when discussing work culture and sick pay, encouraging people to not go into work when they are ill by praising the culture in Germany.
He said: "In this country, I've often heard it said over the last couple of years, we have a habit of going back to work or going into work when we're not well. People contrast that with Germany, for instance, where I'm told, they are much more disciplined about not going to work if you're sick.
"I am just suggesting that might be something we could learn."
His comments came in response to a question from ITV's Robert Peston about the government's plan to stop people being automatically eligible to statutory sick pay in the event that they fall ill from Covid. From 24 March, people will only be able to claim pay from day four of being off work and the £500 self-isolation support payment will also end.
The cut has been criticised by trade unions and the Labour Party who said they will "hit the lowest paid and the most insecure workers".
Meanwhile, statutory sick pay is £96.35 a week in the UK, while in Germany people receive 100% of their wages during the first six weeks of sickness.
People were quick to point this out on Twitter:
.@BorisJohnson says UK should be more like Germany where workers don't have a "habit of going into work when not well"\n\nImagine his shock when he discovers we have one of lowest rates of sick pay in Europe while German law requires employees to be paid 100% of wages in 1st 6 wkspic.twitter.com/1D2AP86aGQ
Boris Johnson just said workers should learn from Germany, where they "don't go to work when they're sick".\n\nThe proportion of workers' salary covered by sick pay is 100% in Germany. It's just 19% here.
.@BorisJohnson just said the UK should be more like Germany, where workers don't have a "habit of going into work when not well"\n\nKey comparison: \n- Statutory sick pay in Germany 50% pay for 84 weeks.\n- Statutory sick pay in UK is \u00a396.35 per week for 28 weeks.
Boris Johnson said the UK should be more like Germany where workers don't have a "habit of going into work when not well".\n\nStatutory sick pay in Germany 50% pay for 84 weeks.\n\nStatutory sick pay in UK is \u00a396.35 per week for 28 weeks.
— Don 'unintentionally tweeting' Coyote (@Don 'unintentionally tweeting' Coyote)
Boris Johnson said today UK workers should learn from Germany, where they "don't go to work when they're sick"\n\nHe does he realise workers' salary covered by sick pay is 100% in Germany?\n\n Yet it\u2019s just 19% here in the UK!pic.twitter.com/gipU2HcOX7
— Cllr Andrew Morgan (@Cllr Andrew Morgan)
Speaking about the cuts to pay, Starmer said: "These are decisions which will hit the lowest paid and the most insecure workers the hardest, including care workers who got us through the toughest parts of the pandemic.
"It's all very well advising workers to self isolate, but that won't work unless all workers have security of knowing that they can afford to do so."
Dan Shears, the GMB union's national health and safety director, said the "nonsensical announcement guarantees workers will attend the workplace with Covid".
He added: “This will prolong the pandemic with more outbreaks. Asking people to exercise responsibility whilst taking away a key workplace provision for them to do that just shows how incompetent this Government is.
"The UK’s poverty Statutory Sick Pay rates, among the lowest in Europe, are a public health hazard as workers cannot afford to stay home when they are ill.
"The situation will be made even worse in April when SSP is cut in real terms against a backdrop of rampant inflation.
"Restoring the three day limit is an act of national self-sabotage. It's time for wholesale reform of Statutory Sick Pay rate."
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