WBG Submission to the Work and Pensions Select Committee on Statutory Sick Pay December 2023

Date Posted: Tuesday 9th January 2024

Social SecurityStatutory Sick PayWomen and Employment

The Women’s Budget Group submitted a consulation response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee on Statutory Sick Pay.


  • The current rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is wholly insufficient and has failed to keep pace with the cost of living, inflation and even increases in the living wage.
  • The UK’s sick pay policy is significantly less generous than in other comparable countries. In the majority of EU countries, the proportion of an individual’s wage that is covered by sickness benefits varies between 70% and 100%, but in the UK it is just 17%.
  • Women are more likely to be poor and in debt than men. The cumulative impact of austerity, COVID-19, and the cost of living crisis has exacerbated this, stripping their economic resilience and depleting their already minimal financial reserves on which to fall back on if they fall sick.
  • As a result of structural inequalities, women are more likely to be in low paid, insecure, and part-time employment and therefore make up the majority (70%) of those in jobs that are ineligible for SSP.
  • The insufficient rate and inadequate qualification requirements of SSP are putting the most vulnerable in our society at further risk and exacerbating existing health inequalities. It is vital that these inadequacies are addressed if the government is serious about economic growth and societal prosperity.