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Mum defends going into work with Covid because she can't afford a day off

Mum defends going into work with Covid because she can't afford a day off

She has been hit hard by the cost of living crisis and says she doesn't get sick pay

A single mum has defended going to work with Covid, claiming she can't afford a sick day.

Emma Smith, from Cambridgeshire, is one of millions of people across the UK to be hit hard by the cost of living crisis.

The office assistant's monthly food bill has tripled to £300 and her energy prices have surged.

The 36-year-old said those costs on top of childcare mean taking a day off is unaffordable because she doesn't get sick pay, as she is contracted through an agency and doesn't meet the qualifying conditions. She is also unable to work from home.

As such, she was left in a bit of a pickle when she started coming down with Covid symptoms on Saturday 11 February.

These symptoms hadn't subsided by Monday, so she decided to pop a couple of ibuprofen and head into work.

Emma said she had no choice but to work.

The mum-of-one said: "I knew I was sick. I didn't want to go to work and make people sick.

"But it was half term and I have just started a new job. I don't have the luxury to call into work and say I am sick."

She said she tried to downplay her illness and sit on her own in the corner, but a colleague insisted that she take a Covid test, which came back positive.

She was subsequently instructed not to return to work until she was testing negative.

"I thought I could sit in the corner. I thought I would sit out of the way," Emma explained.

"We are not in a pandemic anymore and there were no rules at work.

"[They] told me not to come back until I am better.

"I don't get sick pay - so I was just sat at home sick and not getting paid."

Emma's bills have skyrocketed over the last year, and like so many of us, she is struggling to make ends meet.

Financial difficulties are taking away the joy of parenting for Emma.

She has gone from paying £100 a month on food shopping to a whopping £300. And she is now paying £120 a month for gas and electricity - an increase of £75 on her previous tariff.

Emma said: "I live in a two-bedroom apartment. I am paying £20 a day for my son to go to childcare this week. That is half of what I would earn in a day.

"This crisis has taken the joy out of parenting because of how stressful it is.

"My son is seven, and that is meant to be a wonderful age to raise a child. I wanted to go to work as I wanted to be able to treat my son.

"The joy of parenting is being sucked out, it is now a struggle."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Life, Coronavirus, Money, Parenting