Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner

Reports that Labour has abandoned plans to transform Britain’s sick pay rules have been met with widespread criticism from members on the left of the party. According to reports in LabourList, Keir Starmer’s party has rowed back on its commitment to raise rates of sick pay and extend it to the self-employed.

Labour’s sick pay pledges were initially part of the ‘New Deal for Working People’ the party had said it would implement if it wins the next election.

LabourList says it has seen the party’s draft full policy programme document and that there are substantial changes to the ‘New Deal for Working People’ proposals. According to LabourList, the Labour Party’s revised policy on sick pay now says it will: “strengthen statutory sick pay, remove the lower earnings limit to make it available to all workers and remove the waiting period”.

Labour also appears to have watered down its commitment on creating a single category of worker. According to LabourList, the party is now saying it will “move towards a single status of worker and transition towards a simpler two-part framework for employment status”, compared to the previous wording, which read that Labour would “create a single status of ‘worker’”.

These changes follow earlier reports that Labour was ditching plans to give workers’ rights on day one of their employment.

Momentum – the main left wing faction within the Labour Party has hit out at the news of changes to the ‘New Deal for Working People’. A spokesperson for the group said: “The Tories have broken Britain, and voters are crying out for real change. Yet far from stepping up with ambitious policies like nationalising energy and water, mass building council homes or introducing wealth taxes, today’s news shows that the Labour Leadership is actually going backwards.

“What few transformative policy commitments remain have been watered down, from fair pay agreements to a single tier status for workers, while other progressive commitments look in doubt, like an increase to sick pay.

“The Starmer Leadership’s conservatism isn’t just failing to align with the bold vision demanded by members, unions and the public – it is creating a rod for its own back, by committing to continue with a failed model.”

Reports have since suggested that Labour is also watering down its commitment to outlaw zero-hours contracts. This comes mere days after the party’s deputy leader gave a ‘cast iron guarantee’ that Labour would ban them.

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Image credit: 70023Veunus2009 – Creative Commons