Self-isolation payments will help up to four million workers in low-income families – but vast majority of workers will miss out

Commenting on the Government announcement today (Thursday) that it will pay £13 a day to workers losing earnings because they are asked to self-isolate in high Covid-risk areas if they are already in receipt of Working Tax Credit and Universal Credit, Karl Handscomb, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“Today’s announcement is a welcome recognition of the need to provide additional financial support to workers who are asked to self-isolate in the event of local lockdowns.

“Up to four million workers in low-income families could be entitled to this new support, with new RF analysis suggesting that a worker earning around £370 a week would have 90 per cent of lost income replaced by a combination of a higher Universal Credit payment and this new support.

“However, this is a very partial approach, with seven-in-eight workers not entitled to this help because their households do not receive benefits. Most obviously, middle and higher earners will miss out, but so too will some low-paid workers with low housing costs and no children.

“The Government will need to go further in the event of more severe lockdowns this Autumn, with a postcode-based Job Retention Scheme offering the best way forward.”

 Notes to Editors

  • The new RF analysis shows that a single parent living in social housing, working full-time (37.5 hours) on a low wage (£9.93 per hour), would have 90 per cent of their normal weekly income if they had to isolate due to coronavirus.