Since, last week’s bulletin and FAQs, the National Joint Council for Local Government Services has published further guidance on returning to work, test & trace and admission to hospital.
The Guidance states with regard to Test & Trace, if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate, Part 2 Para 10.9 of the ‘Green Book’ applies which means your absence should not be recorded as sickness absence. If you can work from home you should be allowed to do so but if you cannot work at home, your employer will have no option other than to accept that you must stay at home on full pay for the duration of the self-isolation period. As you would be ‘well’ at this stage you should receive normal full pay for the duration of the self-isolation period until you are confirmed to have contracted the virus, at which point you would then transfer to sickness absence leave and the usual provisions of the sickness scheme would apply.
The Guidance also clarifies, as the NHS has now instructed anyone who is due to go into hospital as an in-patient (including day surgery) for planned or elective surgery / medical care must self-isolate for 14 days prior to admission, that all employees should remain on normal full pay for the duration of this self-isolation period, in line with the previous NJC guidance. Those who can work from home (either in their own role or on alternative duties), should do so.
The merging of bubbles and crossover between bubbles in schools, is an issue that is becoming increasingly concerning. On Monday (15th June) the DfE published an update to the previous Planning guide for primary schools to cover "Inviting back additional pupils, where there is capacity". This means schools can now open to children from different year groups before the summer holidays. Our members have been telling us that some schools have been trying to merge bubbles with less than 15 pupils. GMB is clear in its advice to members on this issue in that there should be no merging of, or crossover between bubbles. To do so presents a potential health and safety issue. In light of the updated guidance about welcoming back other year groups, and because of our members feedback, GMB has asked DfE to provide clear advice to schools that they cannot merge bubbles in order to increase capacity to other year groups. If this is an issue affecting you, please contact you workplace rep, local branch or the schools team.
On Monday 22nd June, GMB London will begin the online consultative pay ballot on the Local Government & Schools Pay Offer 2020/21. Being a member of GMB means you have the opportunity to have your say on your pay. If you have any colleagues who are not in a union, who would also like to have their say on their pay, they can join online at https://www.gmb.org.uk/join-gmb
GMB is always here to support you and you can contact us at email@example.com. There has never been a more important time for school support staff to come together - together we are stronger and together we can make a difference.
With best wishes,
Lisa Bangs, GMB London Region Organiser — Schools and Academies
Keith Williams, GMB London Region Senior Organiser
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