Coronavirus: key workers and peak infection period

20 Mar 2020

PCS has demanded that the Cabinet Office grants paid special leave to any parent, who although a key worker, is having difficulties with getting their child or children back to school.

Many PCS members have raised concerns about key workers and special leave and we are requesting that urgent guidance is sent to all departments.

While in urban areas it might be easier for children to go back to their own school, in more rural areas schools may not re-open even for key workers. In any case there is likely to be disruption around getting children back to school regardless of where our members live.

We have asked the Cabinet Office to issue advice to departments calling on them to begin consultations immediately with departmental unions in relation to those workers who they wish to physically attend work in coming weeks and months.

These consultations should include:

  • which jobs and roles are deemed to be require physical attendance at work and the rationale for why they cannot be done from home
  • what enhanced safety measures will be put in place for those who are required to come into work
  • what measures will be put in place to minimise/eliminate interaction with the public and limit physical interactions with other workers
  • flexibilities in terms of start and finish times, time off to look after children, to shop and to travel outside of rush hours
  • provision of full protective equipment for guards, cleaners and others who are in high-risk categories
  • guaranteeing the self-isolation of vulnerable workers regardless of key worker status
  • ensuring that workers on outsourced contracts are treated no worse than civil servants, not only in terms of health and safety arrangements but also in terms of terms and conditions
  • facilities being put in place to test workers for the virus.

It is a very important time to be a union member and together we are stronger - join PCS online today.

If you have questions about the impact of coronavirus on you, visit your PCS employer group page on this website in the first instance. This should be updated regularly with advice and information about the current situation.

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