Retail employees face “serious financial straits” due to lack of sick pay

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The lack of sick pay for retail workers leaves many employees “walking a high wire with no safety net”, new research has shown.

According to wellbeing provider BHSF, more than three-quarters of retail employees worry about their financial status should they fall ill, with more than half stating they have lost sleep over the concerns and a further 36 per cent stating it impacted their work performance.

Just under a quarter of retail employees have access to sick pay insurance, and should they fall ill they would only be able to pay household bills for six to eight weeks.

“The combination of a lack of savings, allied to zero sick pay provision other than the statutory minimum of £89.35 per week, leaves many employees walking a high wire with no safety net,” BHSF managing director Brian Hall said.

“It is very worrying that employees appear to be in a state of denial over how precarious their financial situation is in reality.

“All it takes is one short bout of ill health to leave two thirds of the entire UK workforce in serious financial straits that could take many years to recover from.”

Hall added that employers could be doing more to support workers who fall ill, with under a third benefiting from an employer-organised scheme.

“If employees truly are the most valuable asset, it is incumbent upon employers to be brave and to help educate their workforce about financial issues such as sick pay,” Hall said.

“All too often the subject is swept under the carpet or not adequately addressed, with a negative impact on employee wellbeing and mental health.”

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