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Give education workers up to £700 ‘tax-free coronavirus compensation payment’, says report

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The government should pay compensation of up to £700 to key workers in education to recognise the “personal risks” they’ve had to take due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new report urges.

Analysis of Office for National Statistics data by the Centre for Progressive Policy found that the death rate among education and childcare staff was 20 per cent higher than the average worker between March and December last year.

The think tank said these staff should be allowed to apply to HMRC for a tax-free coronavirus compensation payment of between £200 and £700.

Overall, the CPP said the death rate for all key workers was 40 per cent higher than the average worker, with the greatest risk to health and social care staff, who it said should be eligible for a payment of up to £1,200.

ONS analysis in January showed rates of Covid-related deaths among secondary school teachers were above-average, but the differences were not “statistically significant”.

It comes after the government set March 8 as the return date for all schools, despite concerns about high infection rates. The latest REACT randomised testing study found that primary school aged children have the second highest levels of Covid-19 infection.

The CPP’s recommended payments, which come ahead of the budget next week and would cost the government between £1.5 billion and £4 billion, would seek to address the “gap between the ‘market’ and social value of key worker roles”.

Rosie Stock Jones, senior research analyst at the CPP, said key workers have been “invaluable to society over the past year, with many taking huge personal risk whilst the rest of us stay home” yet many are underpaid or on insecure contracts.

Government bodies must work together to ensure “pay and working conditions reflect the contribution key workers make to society, starting with compensation for the risks taken during the pandemic”, she said.

Table 1: Death rate involving Covid-19 by keyworker occupation

key workers

Table 2: Suggested social compensation for keyworker occupations

key workers

The report adds that “respecting and properly renumerating key workers remains essential beyond the pandemic”.

To achieve this, the government should consult on developing sector specific, minimum pay and employment conditions that better reflect the social value and risk associated with key worker roles.

The estimated cost of the Centre for Progressive Policy’s suggestion assumes the take-up rates to be the same as the Self Employed Income Support Scheme at about 67 per cent, and doesn’t include the costs of administering the scheme.



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11 Comments

  1. Alex Suksiri

    Hi I am a keyworker and work with severe special needs young children and people it has been tough working through the pandemic trying to keep myself and the students safe also through this period some of my colleagues catching covid and having to return after recovery. I definitely agree we do need some compensation or a pay rise as in this sector its already not a great pay for what we do and not recognised enough

  2. Mrs Lisa strike

    What about shopworkers and supermarket staff. We have risked our lives and family lives since last march by continually going into work. Teachers are tested for covid 19 shopworkers and supermarket staff haven’t so we have no idea if we are carriers

  3. Margaret Miles

    I’m in social care and look after the elderly and vulnerable in their home. We have kept going through the pandemic to keep our clients safe who without us wouldnt have been kept clean,fed or have medication not to mention the social aspect of the many that have not seen family. We all feel the government have put us at the bottom of the pile but doesnt realise without us many would end up in hospital putting more strain on the nhs

  4. Lorraine reay

    All keyworkers should have some monies compensation government run or private sector we have worked hard throughout this pandemic and had nothing except grief and a little windfall would go a long way tax relief for six months on our wages we know we have a duty of care but so dose the government towards the people that have to work through this they give help to others and incentives while we receive nothing there is no joy in the job when we have to watch or hear of people dying that we have cared for they and we have been let down big time

  5. Rene Cranston

    What about the shop workers like myself working on minimum wage all through this!! We serve thousands of people a day, handling cash, serving taking abuse from customers whio won’t follow rules, all this for 8.72 a hour. We have worked everyday providing a important service and all we have to look forward to is 40p payrise in April…. Where is the recognition for us or a reward for our services. We’ve put ourselves and our families at risk for the last year but nobody seems to care about how anxious and worried we’ve felt about going to work, worried about our health and the impact!!

  6. And where is the money coming from?
    What about compensation for delivery drivers, who are constantly travelling around the country in/out of ‘C-19 hotspots’?
    And I bet there are many other occupations that would like to jump on this bandwagon, where does it stop? Who is going to pay for it? Not the Government, because they do not have any all they have is other taxpayers money!!
    How about taking it out of GPs NHS pay, because if they are anything like my local gp they went home and hid. Not something you would expect from a medical ‘professional’ during a medical emergency!!!