PCS, together with the other unions, has been holding telephone meetings with DHSC over the department’s response to the coronavirus.
PCS supports DHSC’s decision to strongly encourage all staff to work from home. We do however feel that they could and should have gone further and tell staff not to attend their workplace in order to reduce travel to work and contact with colleagues.
Virtually all DHC staff have the required IT equipment etc to enable working from home. Where this provision is not possible members can still stay at home and Special Leave with Pay will apply.
It is important that members are not feeling isolated while working from home and PCS has encouraged DHSC to hold regular team meetings, via telekits, to ensure members are able to regularly speak to their colleagues in these uncertain times.
DHSC is seeking additional staffing from other government departments to help the department’s efforts to combat the virus and these are starting to work in the department.
DHSC are to introduce a premium of 25% of salary for all hours worked at the weekend. This is consistent with their approach to night duty which is rewarding staff for working unsociable hours rather than additional hours, and will reward staff for the actual hours they work. Where staff on these rotas agree to work additional hours, they will be eligible for overtime payments in line with the usual policy.
This premium is only available to staff who are working on the Coronavirus Incident response teams and will only be available whilst the Department continues to respond to this pandemic
Fortnightly meetings have been agreed going forward and any members who have concerns that they want raising with management are asked to feed them into PCS via email@example.com.
MHRA have followed DHSC and has confirmed staff will be working from home where possible.
NHSBSA has sourced laptops for some critical staff! Staff who live with someone who has been covered for 12 weeks isolation can go home and access emails from home (classes as working from home) and social distancing is being promoted!
There are daily bulletin emails from senior management and most sections have set up WhatsApp groups for staff to update each area with changes to working directives.
CQC are allowing increased working from home to achieve social isolation and business continuity. Further guidance has been published by the employer.
Staff who are classed as vulnerable are advised to talk to their employer about working from home.