If you could change one thing at work, what would it be?

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Last year social care workers across the South West were contacted to ask what you wanted to change at work. Hundreds of replies were received, and the top priority was winning full pay when off sick, shielding or isolating with COVID.

Since then, care workers in UNISON have been working together to make this a reality.

Sue and her colleagues are carers in Somerset. Their employer cut their wages to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they were off-sick or isolating because of COVID. But Sue and her colleagues didn’t think this was fair, especially when they worked hard to support residents during the pandemic and suffered financially if off sick or self-isolating, Sue decided to take action;

“I talked to colleagues and got them to join UNISON. Then, together, we asked our employer to pay us full pay and we raised the issue with the local Council. As a result, our employer agreed to use the Council’s Infection Control Fund to top up our pay and we now receive full pay when off sick with covid and for self-isolation!”

Mary and her colleagues work for a large Dorset Care Provider which decided to stop paying its staff who were Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and shielding under the Government guidelines their full pay and instead only pay them contractual or statutory sick pay. Mary together with other UNISON members told their employer that they should not be put in the position of having to choose to protect themselves or being able to pay their rent/feed their families. UNISON members called on the local council who had signed the Stop the Spread Pledge to intervene and encourage the employer to access the Infection Control Fund to support these members’ full pay. Within a week, the employer confirmed to us that they would continue full pay for shielded workers

Mary, said, “Thanks to UNISON’s Stop the Spread Pledge, I continued to isolate at home and protect myself and my family as required by the Government. I don’t earn very much and would not have been able to make my rent if I had to go onto sick pay for the next 3 months. I could have faced losing my home.”

It hasn’t always been easy, but time and again UNISON members has shown the strength of standing together to demand what the dignity, respect and working conditions we all deserve.

A lot has changed over the past year, so it’s important to understand what your priorities are now? Is it still winning full sick pay? Or something else?

Click here to voice what you most want to change at work, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible to give some advice on how you can make that change happen.