The information below was sent out to all members on 2nd April 2020. It should be read in conjunction with the latest Government guidance on PPE and Infection Control. We will seek to post updated guidance on this website, whenever it appears, so please check for regular updates.
Dear UNISON Member
This email is principally directed at those working in social care and who are not employed by the City Council or NHS.
The content of the email has arisen as a result of ongoing representations – on your behalf – by Salford City UNISON and has been rigorously checked with NHS, City Council and Public Health colleagues – and they have confirmed that it is factual.
All Salford care providers (including residential care homes) have been written to by the NHS and the Council with the following information:
- All providers will be expected to ensure staff who are absent as a result of Government guidance will be paid full pay for the first 14 days, and then at 80% for a maximum total of 12 weeks period of absence. Providers are able to claim back the difference between what they would normally pay and what they are required to pay, from the NHS.
- Payments should be made on the basis of typical hours worked, rather than basic contractual hours – as the provision is to cover commissioned work in its totality.
Staff who will qualify, are as follows:
A. Staff who are off sick as a result of COVID-19, or experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19.
B. Staff who are self-isolating for 14 days as a member of their household is experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19.
C. Staff who are in one of following vulnerable groups, and who cannot work from home in any capacity e.g. undertaking an alternative role to release another member of staff to cover their job or engage in effective social distancing in their role:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
- 3.those who are pregnant
D. Staff who are in one of the following extremely vulnerable groups, and who cannot work from home:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
• people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
• people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
• people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
• people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- 3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
- 4.People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
- 5.People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
- 6.Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
E. Staff who live with an extremely vulnerable person, and who cannot work from home or engage in effective social distancing in their role.
F. Staff who live with a vulnerable person, and who cannot work from home or engage in effective social distancing or infection control precautions in their role.
The final point about “infection control precautions” is crucial.
All employers should be following Government guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If employers are not doing so, we need to be informed. If we are informed we will do all we can to address this.
We hope this information is useful and that care workers will now feel in a more secure position if they need to be absent from work for reasons related to COVID-19.
If your employer informs you that they are not prepared to abide by the information in this email, please inform us and we will contact the relevant Council and NHS officers.
The final thing we wish to say, is that if anybody reading this has incurred financial loss as a result of COVID-19, whether through time away from work in line with Government guidance, or having to purchase your own PPE to ensure this guidance is met, we would like to know, as we intend to try and help members to seek compensation.
Take care, stay safe and Thank You for the wonderful work you do.