Southend Council is planning to halve the amount of sick pay given to staff in a move Unison has described as ‘callous’.
Employees of the local authority will have sick pay cut from six months’ full pay and six months’ half pay to three months’ full pay and three months’ half pay.
Unison Eastern head of local government Alex Porter condemned the plan as ‘callous’.
‘More than a decade of central government underfunding has gutted local councils and they’re now searching for savings where there's nothing left to cut,’ he said.
‘Council chiefs are looking to their sick staff or vulnerable people living with dementia to pay for their funding shortfalls.’
He added: ‘It’s not clear how much the council would save through slashing sick pay — we don't think they’ve done their sums yet — but it’s hard to believe it will make even a slight dent in Southend’s deficit.’
Tony Cox, leader of the council, said: ‘It’s happening industry wide. Six months’ sick pay seems to be out of kilter with a lot of local government terms and conditions.
‘There are supporting networks there for staff if they are off long-term sick and part of the support package is helping them back to work on a case-by-case basis.’