Hello everyone and Happy Friday! We hope you are all keeping safe and well and are looking forward to a rest over the weekend if you have some time off. If you are working over the next couple of days, we hope you get the chance of a well-deserved rest very soon.
Pay for Care Workers in Self Isolation
If you are a care worker and you are required to self-isolate you should receive full pay (your normal wage). Funding has been provided and Wirral Council have informed us that the fully endorse this approach. However, too many care providers across the country have not implemented this. Therefore Unison has issued a letter, sent out by Matthew Egan, National Officer, to all adult social care lead members in England and their respective Council leaders, due to serious ongoing concerns that care workers are still not being paid in full to self-isolate due to COVID-19, despite the Westminster Government making money available for this specific purpose. The text of the letter in copied below.
If you are a care worker, and have not been paid your normal wage when you have had to self-isolate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I write as head of local government at UNISON, the largest trade union in the UK and the largest union for social care workers, about the very important issue of pay rates for care workers who are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19.
A failure to pay care workers in full when they are required to self-isolate is a critical factor behind increasing infection rates across the adult social care sector. Recognising this, the Government has made money available for councils to pass on to care providers in their local area. The Infection Control Fund should ensure that no staff suffer a financial penalty when they do the right thing and self-isolate because they have COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. This is such a pressing issue that the Department for Health and Social Care wrote to all councils in mid-December to remind them of the importance of ensuring care workers are paid properly when self-isolation is necessary.
Unfortunately, we are still getting many reports from care workers about their pay falling to statutory sick pay or less when they need to self-isolate. This forces some care workers to continue to work because of the financial pressures they are under. Thus poor employment practices are helping to drive up infection rates.
However, according to the Capacity Tracker questions that councils ask social care providers in their area, 90% of providers claim to pay staff in full when they need to self-isolate. We therefore urge your council to interrogate the responses given by care providers and request that they provide you with evidence that they pay their staff fully. Where you come across providers failing to do so we urge you to put maximum pressure on them to use the Infection Control Fund monies so that care workers, their families and the people they care for are not put at risk. We recognise that councils are currently under a lot of pressure but taking steps to ensure that care workers are paid properly will help save lives in your area.
Finally, if you have not already done so we encourage you to sign up to use the Palantir adult social care dashboard. It provides councils with a wealth of easily accessible and digestible information about COVID-19 related social care issues in your area, such as staff absence levels and PPE provision. We believe the dashboard can be a helpful tool in monitoring employment practices amongst care providers and ensuring that the workforce and the people they care for are given all the support they need.”
UNISON in Schools – Keeping our Schools Safe - Assistance with Risk Assessments
Tuesday 26th January from 6pm to 7pm or Saturday 30th January from 10:30am to 11:30am
The North West Schools Forum have organised, in conjunction with the Hazards Movement, an update on Schools Safety. This important update will deal with a number of issues regarding Covid-19 in education settings, including:
- How is the virus spread and how can the infection risks be controlled?
- What do we know about ventilation?
- What do safety reps need to know and what can they do to ensure their management are controlling the risks?
- Is it safe for schools to conduct testing?
- How will the virus change things?
- How will long-Covid impact on schools?
- How can we get the message across to our members and others?
- Why do we need more safety reps?
It is open to all School Support Staff, with an opportunity to put a question to the panel on this subject. We will also give you an update on UNISON’s current advice over Schools.
Please make every effort to join one of the meetings by going to https://www.facebook.com/unisonnorthwest and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
UNISON Learning for Mental Health and Wellbeing
We continue to live through very strange and uncertain times. Your workload may have doubled – or you may have been asked to stay at home and avoid other people. Things may be difficult, or stressful, or frightening.
With that in mind, we’ve gathered together some resources designed to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. Some of these were created by UNISON; some come from other organisations that we work with.
Our Staying Strong online course is based on our very popular stress awareness workshop. It explores some of the different forms of stress and the way that it can affect you, and introduces some techniques to help you deal with stress. You can work through it at your own pace and return to it whenever you like. You’ll find it on our e-learning site – use your My.UNISON account to log in. Here is the link to the course https://e-learning.unison.org.uk/course/view.php?id=61
Work Life balance and the Impact of Remote Working https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/work-life-balance-remote-working
There are also a range of learning opportunities including on themes of mental health and working from home amongst others available at https://unionlearn.ulp.wranx.com/
Online courses can be a great way to pick up new skills and strategies for managing stress and enhancing our understanding of mental health and wellbeing. However, if you feel as though you may be unable to cope, it’s really important to seek support. There are a range of organisations that can help and we’ve listed a few here:
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably. A charity providing a mental health helpline and webchat. Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight) Website: www.thecalmzone.net
Mental Health Foundation
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities. Website: www.mentalhealth.org.uk
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm) Website: www.mind.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness
Support and advice for people living with mental illness. Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm) Website: www.rethink.org
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline) Website: www.samaritans.org.uk
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers. Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum Website: www.sane.org.uk/support
That’s all for today everyone, we do hope you continue to find our regular email updates of use.
As always, please do pass our updates on to colleagues and encourage them to join Unison if they haven’t already. Here’s the link to join up! JOIN UNISON
We’ll be back in touch next week with further updates.
Your Wirral Unison Team
Central email: email@example.com
Telephone: 07899713498 or 07899715085