New research suggests that the furlough scheme be extended and statutory sick pay increased.
The report claims that this would help people better manage the work-life balance for citizens as the UK economy plots its recovery.
The recommendations have been put forward by The Royal Society, who believe that “economic and health data” should be combined to produce the best economic outcome at the smallest loss of life.
The report also warns against a sudden or premature easing of lockdown rules, which it believes could lead to a so-called “second wave” of infections that could produce a higher death toll and ultimately inflict greater long-term damage on the economy.
The findings have been published after it emerged that the UK is headed for its biggest ever recession and set to be one of the world’s worst hit nations economically, allied to its position as the country with the highest number of excess deaths in Europe.
And, as the furlough scheme is phased out, it is claimed that the statutory sick of pay of £95.85 is not enough to encourage workers to self-isolate where it is necessary.
The report recommends a review of sick pay policy and the extension of a more flexible furlough scheme to help guard against both health and economic risks.
Co-author of the report, Sir Tim Besley, said: “I think the furlough scheme in its current form is almost certainly going to have to be modified to be more targeted towards occupations that can’t resume anywhere near their normal level of activity.
“If people are being asked to self-isolate they need to be cushioned against the economic consequences of that.”
Besley also recommend minimising the rotation of staff between shifts and introducing subsidised workplace testing, especially in sectors where close contact is hard to avoid.
Reponding to the recommendations, a Government spokesperson said: “We’ve protected more than 9.6 million jobs through the furlough scheme, supported more than two million self-employed people and paid out billions in loans and grants to thousands of businesses.
“And for those in most need, we’ve provided an unprecedented package of support including injecting £9.3bn into the welfare system, mortgage holidays and additional help for renters.
“We’ve also made sick pay payable from day one and will refund employers with up to 250 staff the cost of up to a fortnight’s sick pay.
“Employers can, and many do, pay more than the statutory rate – something we encourage.”