We are calling on the Cabinet Office to agree a range of measures designed to guarantee the safety of civil servants during the coronavirus crisis.
The current outbreak will have a significant impact on the work of public bodies across the civil service and its related areas. This impact will fall upon individual members of staff and on the workforce.
The agreement we are looking to finalise, during regular discussions with the Cabinet Office, sets out some measures to assist the fight against the outbreak and to enable the employer and employees to focus their efforts on that fight with the minimum of distractions. This agreement does not seek to create a precedent either for permanent changes to terms and conditions, arrangements that apply to agency and self-employed contractor staff, nor for more general alignment across bodies.
The underlying principle of the proposal that staff, be they civil servants, agency staff or staff working on government contracts, will not lose out in any way as a result of following government guidance on dealing with COVID-19, nor will they discouraged from following government guidance fully.
We are seeking agreement that:
- Workplaces affected by the virus close immediately
- Homeworking is facilitated for all staff for whom it can be facilitated
- There is no detriment for any member of staff who stays away from work as a result of contracting coronavirus
- All staff classed as key workers to be provided with all necessary safety equipment and safeguards to enable them to perform the duties in the safest possible environment
- Union health and safety reps are granted as much time off as they need to carry out their legal functions
- All staff who care for a dependant are paid special leave with full pay for the period that they have to self-isolate along with their dependant.
- No fixed term appointment or agency worker has their employment terminated until further notice
- Fixed term appointment staff are made permanent in areas where additional resources are needed to cope with the coronavirus crisis
- The wishes of staff about taking or postponing leave, will be agreed.
PCS will also discuss how this agreement impacts on agency staff working in the civil service or related areas, private sector staff working on the civil service and related estate and private sector workers working on contracts let by departments and related areas.
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If you have questions about the impact of coronavirus on you, visit your PCS employer group page on the PCS website in the first instance. This should be updated regularly with advice and information about the current situation.