All Care Workers Now To Receive Full Sick Pay For COVID19


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!

Dear Colleague,

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 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.


Helen Davies

Branch Chair


“Not just any old PPE, it must fit the wearer!” PPE 1992 Reg 4

COVID has raised awareness of the need for PPE into the minds of millions of workers. Over the last three months Barnet UNISON has heard from our members lots of issues about the lack of PPE, the rationing of PPE, the absence of PPE and poorly fitting PPE.

John Hendy QC speaking at our “Employment Rights in the COVID workplace” Zoom meeting on 3 June 2020 (see link to his talk about 14 minutes 26 seconds into the video refers workers to The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, UK Statutory Instruments1992 No. 2966 Regulation 4

(Source:,are%20equally%20or%20more%20effective. )

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, UK Statutory Instruments1992 No. 2966 Regulation 4

Provision of personal protective equipment

4.—(1) Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.

(2) Every self-employed person shall ensure that he is provided with suitable personal protective equipment where he may be exposed to a risk to his health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (1) and (2), personal protective equipment shall not be suitable unless—

(a) it is appropriate for the risk or risks involved and the conditions at the place where exposure to the risk may occur;

(b) it takes account of ergonomic requirements and the state of health of the person or persons who may wear it;

(c) it is capable of fitting the wearer correctly, if necessary, after adjustments within the range for which it is designed;

(d)so far as is practicable, it is effective to prevent or adequately control the risk or risks involved without increasing overall risk;

(e)it complies with any enactment (whether in an Act or instrument) which implements in Great Britain any provision on design or manufacture with respect to health or safety in any relevant Community directive listed in Schedule 1 which is applicable to that item of personal protective equipment.

John Hendy makes it clear that this is a key piece of legislation. If the PPE being provided by your employer does not fit or causes an allergic reaction to the point you cannot wear it then they need to secure PPE that you can wear.

Barnet School Template letter to your school

Dear Barnet UNISON Members

UNISON HQ have sent an email to all of our members working in Schools.

This is an extract from the email sent on 28 May 2020.

“However, many staff will still be expected to go in and we have all been inundated with requests by members asking for advice on whether they can refuse to go in on 1 June. Following discussion with NEU, other unions and our legal team the email to members includes a model letter for members who have serious concerns about their health and safety and face the prospect of being forced into the workplace under unsafe conditions from 1 June. We have asked members to specify these concerns in their letter by highlighting where the school is not meeting the joint unions risk assessment checklist. They can also include scenarios where they have not been consulted on risk assessment.”

Here is the link to UNISON email message below.

If you have serious concerns about health and safety in your workplace then please use the EMAIL Template below to send to your School and remember to copy in Barnet UNISON at



Dear ***********

re: Health and Safety

I am writing to inform you that, in order to protect myself and/or other persons from danger, I will not be attending [name of school/college] to work there at present. I will continue to be available to work from home.


Since the government announced its decision to extend the opening of schools, the impact that has in terms of the health and safety of pupils, staff and the community has been widely discussed. The mere fact of an increase in the number of pupils and staff attending school poses an increased risk.


UNISON and the other TUC education unions have outlined a set of tests to be met nationally and locally before it could be deemed safe for schools to open more widely. These tests have been set with a view to safely increasing pupil numbers. UNISON does not believe these tests have been met in full. In particular the new test, track and trace system has only just been introduced and it is too early to know if this is effective. Independent scientific advice concurs with UNISON’s view that wider opening on 1 June is not safe.


I believe that not attending work in the current circumstances is an appropriate step for me to take for the following reasons:

1. The dangers that are preventing me from attending work are the risk of contracting coronavirus and or spreading coronavirus to others.

2. The person(s)I am seeking to protect are myself, my family, our pupils, their families, my colleagues, their families and members of the public.


3. I believe that this danger is serious because coronavirus infection is potentially fatal and has already resulted in more than 37,000 deaths in the UK and there are additional circumstances in my situation because: –

  • I meet the government’s definition of clinically extremely vulnerable.
  • I live with someone who meets the government’s definition of clinically extremely vulnerable.
  • I am clinically vulnerable and proposed measures will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
  • I live with someone who is clinically vulnerable and proposed measures will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
  • I am Black (referred to by government as BAME) and it is well documented that the risk to me if I contract Covid19 is more serious. Measures proposed will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
  • I live with someone who is Black (referred to by government as BAME) and it is well documented that the risk to that person if they contract Covid19 is more serious. Measures proposed will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.

4. I believe that, if I were to attend work, the danger would be imminent because

  • I don’t believe that your plans for 1 June comply in full with the joint union checklist – available here for primary schools and here for special schools. [delete checklist as appropriate]
  • In particular, the following measures have not been implemented or adequately implemented:

[add here the specific elements where the school has not complied with the checklist and what your specific concerns are]

In addition: –

  • My journey to work involves using public transport, where I would be in very close proximity to many other people, some of whom may be infected and or carrying the virus.
  • My risk of exposure to Covid19 cannot be reduced to an acceptable level.


5. I will be happy to return to the workplace when confirmed that it is safe to do so, for example if the following measures have been put into place:

  • The joint unions’ tests have been met nationally and locally.
  • The joint union checklist (linked to above) has been complied with in full and all measures put in place.

In the meantime, I am of course willing to carry out any of my duties, or other alternative duties at my current grade, that can reasonably be undertaken from my home.

Yours sincerely,

[Employee Name]

Cc Barnet UNISON





“IMPORTANT Update: Guidance and template letter for vulnerable employees (England)”

28 May 2020.

Please read the latest guidance provided by UNISON

This guidance covers:

1 Clinically extremely vulnerable employees (people at high risk)

2 Clinically vulnerable employees (people at moderate risk)

3 Employees living with / caring for the vulnerable or extremely vulnerable

4 Black employees

5 Older employees (over 60)

6 Employees who have childcare responsibilities

7 Employees who are feeling anxious about returning to work

8 Template letter to head teacher

Click on the link to read the guidance

If you need any help with this advice please contact the branch office at




Updated 5 June : Barnet Schools Risk Assessments for Reopening submitted to Barnet UNISON

This list is accurate as of Monday 1 June 2020.

  1. Akiva,
  2. All Saints N20,
  3. All Saints NW2
  4. Alma
  5. AP Barnet Oakhill
  6. Ashmole Academy (Primary and Secondary).
  7. Barnfields,
  8. Beit Shvidler
  9. Bell Lane,
  10. Blessed Dominic,
  11. Broadfields Primary
  12. Brunswick Park
  13. Chalgrove Primary
  14. Childs Hill
  15. Christ Church Primary
  16. Christ College Finchley,
  17. Claremont
  18. Colindale
  19. Coppetts Wood,
  20. Cromer Road,
  21. Danegrove
  22. Deansbrook
  23. Dollis Primary,
  24. Edgware
  25. Elliot Foundation,
  26. Fairway,
  27. Foulds School,
  28. Frith Manor Primary
  29. Garden Suburb Junior
  30. Goldbeaters and Orion
  31. Grasvenor
  32. Hasmonean
  33. Hendon,
  34. Hollickwood
  35. Holly Trinity
  36. Hyde
  37. Independent Jewish Day School
  38. Livingstone School,
  39. Mapledown,
  40. Martin Primary
  41. Menorah
  42. Monken Hadley
  43. Monkfrith,
  44. Moss Hall Federation
  45. Moss Hall Nursery,
  46. Noam Primary
  47. Oakhill
  48. Oaklodge Special School,
  49. Oakleigh Special School
  50. Osidge
  51. Our Lady of Lourdes
  52. Pardes House
  53. Pavillion
  54. QE Girls
  55. Queenswell
  56. Rosh Pinah
  57. Sacks Morasha
  58. Sacred Heart Primary,
  59. Squires Lane Learning Federation (Tudor and Manorside).
  60. St Agnes,
  61. St Andrews CE
  62. St Catherines,
  63. St Johns N11
  64. St Johns N20
  65. St Josephs
  66. St Marys N£
  67. St Marys NW3
  68. St Pauls N11,
  69. St Pauls NW7
  70. St Theresa
  71. St Vincents
  72. Summerside REACH Academy,
  73. Sunnyfields,
  74. The Annunciation
  75. The Pavilion
  76. Totteridge Academy
  77. Trent Primary,
  78. Underhill
  79. Wessex Gardens
  80. Whitings
  81. Woodcroft Primary
  82. Woodridge Primary.
  83. Wren


your school in not on this list but you have seen a Risk Assessment for your school, please contact Barnet UNISON on

1 2 3