Paying carers sick pay they can survive on is the best way of controlling infection in care homes says GMB Union.
GMB, the union for care workers, is demanding £600 million emergency social care funding is used for covid-19 sick pay – including back pay.
Currently, most care workers who display coronavirus symptoms face the impossible choice of self-isolating on a ‘pitiful’ £95 a week, or going into work and risk infecting colleagues and residents.
From the start of this crisis, GMB has constantly called on the Government to pay social care workers their full and normal pay when on sick due to covid-19, in line with their key worker colleagues in the NHS.
Now it seems Ministers are finally listening; Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday told the commons the money would be used to manage infection and prevention - which implies sick pay.
GMB will now contact all care providers telling them to dedicate the funds to sick pay – by far the best way to stop covid-19 spreading through care homes.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said:
“Social care workers are our key worker heroes yet have been consistently failed by the Government with regards to pay, PPE and testing.
“Most social care workers, if they get coronavirus, are faced with an impossible choice – stay home on poverty sick pay which means they can’t pay the rent or put food on the table; or go into work and put colleagues and residents in danger. It’s a nightmare.
“Paying carers sick pay they can survive on is far and away the best way of controlling infection in our care homes.
“GMB is calling on the Government to pay full sick pay, back dated to the start of the covid-19 legislation to all social care workers who have followed Government advice to self-isolate.
“No one should be penalised for following Government guidance.”