If you are a care worker you will shortly be receiving this email from us (if we have your email address). If you are the friend or know someone who is a care worker or support worker – let them know about this and encourage them to join UNISON!
The Government has given funding to local authorities to ensure that you will be paid as if you were working normally if you go off sick with suspected COVID19 or have to isolate because you came into close contact with someone who has COVID19. London Borough of Barnet has been allocated £3,564,514
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5ec2717de90e071e30d09844/allocation-table-for-the-infection-control-fund-for-adult-social-.pdf. This is for infection control purposes.
Government guidance is clear that this funding should be used to pay the “normal wages” of social care workers that are absent due to COVID-19 as a measure to help reduce transmissions, so they do not feel pressured into going into work out of financial necessity. Its intention is also to top up the wages of those doing shifts at several care homes by encouraging them to reduce the number of workplaces they visit.
Since the news of this funding was made we have been writing to the local authority trying to gain an assurance this money will make its way into your pockets should you need it. Some companies, such as YCB (Your Choice Barnet) have already been paying colleagues their full salary whilst they’ve been isolating but far too many have not made this commitment. This is unfair and dangerous.
Today we received confirmation that the local authority has passed this money on to the care providers in Barnet. There should now be no excuse for you not getting the pay you need to stay away from work when you need to. We are in the process of writing to all care providers – starting with those where we have members – asking them these questions:
Wages and Sick Pay arrangements
- Can you please confirm what your sick pay/ pay arrangements to cover periods of isolation are for those workers you employ?
- Can you confirm whether you employ workers on zero hours contracts and how these would be affected by your sick pay/ isolation pay arrangements?
- Can you confirm how you will identify the workers who would need a top up?
- Can you confirm whether your basic minimum hourly rate of pay is above, below or at the London Living Wage (£10.75/hr)
- Can you confirm what PPE you have in place and in what circumstances this is used?
- Can you confirm what training you have in place regarding the correct use of PPE?
I want to thank all of you for the contributions you have made, not just in terms of going to work during this difficult time, but for speaking to us about the issues you are facing. To be honest we should not have to be working so hard to get these changes – it should be understood as obvious. Yet without your feedback absolutely nothing would have changed. Trade Union organisation has helped us organise this feedback and delivered it to the right places. Many of your colleagues are not members of a trade union – imagine how much more we could achieve if we had more members. Even better if we had reps who could be that vital link between you and your colleagues in workplace and the branch. It would help you overcome that sense of isolation and help you network with more people. Please recruit your colleagues, keep the feedback going and think about becoming a rep.
We will keep you updated with the responses of the employers as they come back to us.