PCS makes safe return to work agreement with Scottish Government

05 Jun 2020

PCS in Scotland has agreed the minimum safety steps which should be followed by every employer across the Scottish Government sector when considering reopening workplaces or recalling staff to them.

Some of the key principles agreed by PCS and our sister unions, Prospect, POA(S) and FDA, include that:

  • Health and safety of staff and anyone else who attends these workplaces is the primary concern
  • Full consultation must take place with unions before any workplaces are reopened or staff recalled
  • Risk assessments and equality impact assessments must be carried and be subject to full consultation with unions
  • Agreement must be reached with unions on recovery measures in the event of any Covid-19 related instances following a return to work and should be based on the arrangements detailed in the main protocol document.

These principles represent the minimum standards we are seeking to apply to ensure it is safe for staff to return to work. When engaging in any return to work discussions PCS reps should refer to the PCS 5 key tests for safe working. These principles should also apply for any staff who are already attending the workplace.

This builds on the protocols agreed in March to protect staff across the Scottish Government Sector during the Covid-19 crisis. The core principle of the agreement is that no worker in the Scottish civil service and related non-departmental public bodies will face any detriment due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Coronavirus job retention scheme

A set of high level principles and model collective agreement have been agreed with unions to apply where an employer intends to furlough staff under the CJRS these include:

  • Plans to furlough staff must be the subject of full consultation with unions and preferably be subject to a collective agreement
  • Staff who are furloughed must receive 100% of pay and pensions contributions through a top up by the employer
  • Staff who are furloughed cannot be compelled to take annual leave while at home
  • Union reps who are furloughed can continue to perform union duties.

Agreement covers all sector employers

The agreement has been sent to all chief executives in the Scottish sector, including non-departmental public bodies and other non-civil service areas. These protocols are the expected standard for your employer, and do not represent a ‘ceiling’, but rather the minimum that employers should implement. 

Need help?

If you are a PCS member read our coronavirus Q+A and you can log an enquiry with our response team by emailing responseteam@pcs.org.uk

To get more involved in PCS, register to become a PCS Advocate.

Not a member? Join PCS online today.

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