UNISON launched its #ClaimCovidCash campaign for workers in social care who only received statutory sick pay when they had to self isolate as they showed symptoms or someone else in their household had symptoms.
To secure the shortfall in pay, workers have to get their employers to make a claim to the Scottish Government’s Social Care Emergency Fund. The purpose of the fund is to stop the spread of the virus and to stop workers suffering financial hardship as a result of a reduction in their pay. However certain employers have been “misinterpreting” their role in allowing workers to access the cash, by acting as gatekeepers and controlling our members’ access to cash which is rightfully theirs.
When we are presented with these excuses, we challenge them, and have secured the full wages for many workers as a result. We are also making the local health and social care partnerships, health boards, local authorities and the Scottish Government aware of the culprits.
Here’s a list of the main excuses:-
- You were off too soon to qualify. Employers are still arguing absences prior to 27 May do not qualify. This is wrong.
- You didn’t get a test. It should make no difference. Testing wasn’t available in the early stages and still isn’t available to everyone.
- You didn’t test positive. Again it should make no difference. The purpose of self-isolation is to prevent the spread in suspected cases. Every case is treated as suspicious until confirmed or otherwise.
- It wasn’t you showing symptoms. Public health guidance to self-isolate applies if a member of your household has symptoms.
- It wasn’t us who told you to stay off. If you receive advice from your GP or the NHS on public health grounds to self-isolate, you should be paid.
- Your sicknote doesn’t say Covid. So long as you are off with Covid symptoms, this should be sufficient.
- You failed to submit a self-isolation note. This should make no difference so long as you informed your employer you were displaying Covid-type symptoms.
- You’re a casual worker. The regulations apply to casual workers and bank staff.
- There’s no proof of financial hardship. If your monthly pay drops, that is sufficient proof of financial hardship.
- We are awaiting the funds from the Scottish Government. This neatly sums up the attitude of certain social care employers to their workforce, many earning the Scottish living wage of £9.30 an hour or less. They remain absent from work on public health grounds at significant personal cost yet their bosses won’t even fork out the remainder of their wages in advance of receiving Government funding.
So contact UNISON to claim now if you haven’t already done so and encourage your colleagues to claim too.