Government advice to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak could force up to 6.5 million people into financial difficulty, Citizens Advice has warned.
This includes more than five million self-employed workers and at least 1.5 million low-income jobs that fall below the earning limit to qualify for statutory sick pay.
Plans published by the government forecast that up to a fifth of the workforce may be off sick during the peak of a coronavirus epidemic.
Citizens Advice is urging the government to protect the millions of workers that may face financial hardship due to the advice of self-isolation. The charity warned that agency workers and people on zero-hour contracts may also be unclear of their eligibility for sick pay.
Citizens Advice is calling for the government to promote and clarify sick pay rights, and make sure people can access quick financial support if they are not eligible for statutory sick pay.
Dame Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, 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 reality for millions of workers if the coronavirus outbreak worsens.”
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