§ Mr. John
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the number of people likely to be adversely affected by and the savings in benefit arising from (a) the difference in amount between sickness benefit and sick pay and (b) the introduction of a two-week linking period for sick pay as opposed to the eight-week linking period for sickness benefit.
§ Mr. Rossi
The rates of statutory sick pay have been set so that, taken as a whole, the extra sick pay, after tax and national insurance contributions, to employees who currently receive incapacity benefits is about the same as the income they would have received in incapacity benefits had they been subject to tax. Individual employees may be better or worse off as a result of the scheme, depending on a number of factors including their tax position. Accurate estimates of the numbers adversely affected cannot therefore be made.
It is estimated that about half a million people a year will serve more waiting days under the two week linking rule for statutory sick pay than would have done under an eight week rule. If an eight week linking rule were introduced for statutory sick pay about £15 million extra statutory sick pay and up to £3 million extra incapacity benefits would be paid out.