UNISON Scottish Borders Public Services wants to ensure that all members know what their union is doing to support them during these unprecedented times.
While the situation is changing almost day to day, our fundamental aims remain unchanged, including, working with Scottish Borders Council to ensure all possible safety and employment protections are in place.
Hubs are now open in some schools and early years establishments. This is to provide a service to children whose parents are key workers as well as children with additional support needs or who may be vulnerable in other ways.
Education staff should refer to staffing guidelines or speak to their head teachers for clarification. Staff have been asked to volunteer to work over weekends and school holidays. UNISON has discussed the implications of this with the council and we have sought assurances that staff will have appropriate PPE, rest periods and be paid for any additional overtime.UNISON will continue to communicate with speaking with management to ensure that members are kept as safe as possible and personal circumstances are considered.
It is obviously very difficult for some essential workers to strictly comply with social distancing guidance. Members who are working with young children or vulnerable adults and elderly people should do what they can to remain safe.
We are working with SBC to ensure that personal protective equipment such as hand sanitisers, gloves, aprons and anti-bacterial wipes will be available when working with people who have no COVID-19 symptoms.
Higher risk of severe illness
There are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Any members of staff that fall within these categories should discuss immediately making provision for home working with their line manager.
Where the employee’s role is such that they are unable to work from home, the manager should discuss with the employee possible tasks or activities that are paper based and can be done at home, e.g. undertake training, reviewing coursework, policy and procedures review etc. as an alternative. The employee will receive their normal pay.
Where it is not possible for an employee to undertake any work activity, tasks or training from home, a period of paid special leave can be granted. However, communication between manager and employee should be maintained as they may be required to undertake other specific tasks to support the Council deliver essential services.
Where an employee has other concerns about their specific circumstances, such as living with someone with a specific underlying health condition, they should have a discussion with their manager at the earliest opportunity to ensure that the appropriate safeguards can be put in place to reduce the risk of potential exposure
Solutions may include adjusting duties, working from a different location that minimises risks or working from home. This list is not exhaustive and solutions should consider the needs of the employee and the service in which they work.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please respond to this email or you can reach a UNISON Rep on 07894 880888 or 07538101222.
SBC staffing updates can be found
For further Covid-19 information please go to the UNISON Scotland web-site: https://unison-scotland.org/coronavirus-covid-19-your-rights-at-work/