Coronavirus: "I could go out of business funding employees' sick pay," says caller

4 March 2020, 15:16

This caller told Andrew Castle that his business might not survive if he has to shell out for statutory sick pay during the coronavirus outbreak.

Bill, who owns a catering business, pointed out that from 2014 the government stopped recompensing employers for statutory sick pay and employers are now expected to absorb costs themselves.

His concern came after the Prime Minister promised all employees statutory sick pay from day one of self-isolation due to the increasing coronavirus outbreak, with the total confirmed UK cases now at 85.

He said, "When the government promises these people all the statutory sick pay they're quite safe to do so."

"They're promising your money which you can't reclaim!" exclaimed Andrew.

Bill reflected that if each of his eleven employees takes off two weeks that means he has to pay effectively 44 weeks' wages because while they're off he has to replace them.

He said it wouldn't put him out of business so he might be able to survive: "But there will be about 30,000 shops similar to me around the country, the vast majority won't be able to survive because it's just money they haven't got.

"What they get to keep is now being given in statutory sick pay."

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