Covid-19 is a global pandemic. It is crucial that we all follow the measures needed to tackle it while the people at the frontlines of the NHS do everything they can to save lives.
But those measures shouldn’t leave anyone fighting to keep their job, home or business.
Nobody should ever have to choose between their health and their livelihood.
Many self employed people, and those on zero hour contracts have already taken a major financial hit from this crisis, losing shifts, contracts and clients as the measures needed to tackle the spread of the virus became clear. Some lost jobs before Government announcements of support for employees, others are expecting a drastic cut to their income as a result of social distancing.
Self employed childminders and nursery workers on zero hour contracts deliver the same essential services as employees, but they have no clarity on whether they will receive the income support they need, and are already being forced to make agonising choices about staying safe, supporting their clients, and paying their bills. We urgently need to release funds to support them and all workers who are affected by this crisis.
Political decisions to implement a decade of austerity after the last crisis resulted in higher numbers of women in precarious work and women becoming self-employed at a faster rate than men, as they faced public sector job losses and juggled additional caring responsibilities. Now school and nursery closures disproportionately require women to slash their working hours to care for their children, because unless they are key workers, caring almost always falls to women.
The Government’s response to this crisis must protect the women who bore the brunt of the last one.
WE are calling on the Government to do whatever it takes to secure the incomes of people who are watching their work collapse before their eyes by:
- Guaranteeing 80% of self-employed workers’ average income, up to £2,500, just as they have for PAYE employees
- Urgently releasing emergency financial support through the benefit system until the new system for reimbursing 80% of lost wages is established, with a guarantee that no one will be penalised when their wages are finally reimbursed;
- Abolishing the 5 week wait for Government benefits for every new claimant; and
- An immediate end to the two child limit for benefit claimants
Social distancing protects us all. We urgently need to support all workers to ensure that they are able to take the actions that will keep us all safe.