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Care home staff demand bosses pay workers who self-isolate after many are penalised

CARE HOME bosses in Scotland are laying off staff without pay if they have to stay home because they have the coronavirus, Unison said today.

Research by the union exposed how infected staff in Lanarkshire who stayed home to protect residents were being left with no income and deprived of the £94 a week in statutory sick pay.

The union has now written to care home bosses in Scotland calling for staff laid off because they have contracted the virus to be paid full wages.

Unison Scotland deputy convener Stephen Smellie said: “Health and social care workers, more than anyone else, have to isolate for up to two weeks because they or a member of their household has Covid-19 symptoms.

“They have to take these measures not only to protect their own health but to protect everyone they work with.

“We have other members who have to shield due to their own or a family member’s underlying health issues where they are advised to adhere to very strict social distancing, which is impossible in a care setting.

“It is a scandal that the front-line workers we rely on to care for our most vulnerable are being penalised financially because they take time off to protect those they care for.

“The public is in no doubt about their value and the fact they are so poorly paid. We can’t stand by and allow this to continue, especially when additional funding has been made available by the Scottish government.”

Unison’s Lanarkshire health branch secretary Margo Cranmer said: “It is important staff follow infection control measures to prevent transmission of the virus in or out the working environment. 

“It is unfair if they don’t get their full pay for following these infection control measures. The least employers can do is make sure they get paid their proper wages.”

The revelation came as new figures from the government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed increasing numbers of deaths among care home and home care workers.

An estimated 200 care workers have died, and the death rate of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 males and 9.6 per 100,000 females is increasing.

Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said the ONS figures showed care home staff were risking their lives at work every day.

She said that Unison was asking care home bosses to pay self-isolating workers their backdated full wages.


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