Re: Coronavirus COVID-19 – Supporting Members Returning to Work.
Over the last couple of weeks we have been engaging with Royal Mail to ensure any members returning to work from absence due to Coronavirus COVID-19 are given maximum support and any concerns are dealt with prior to returning to work including ensuring you understand what the environment currently looks like, what support you can expect and ensure your needs and concerns are taken into account.
This LTB and attachments explains the process we have agreed with Royal Mail, which should be followed, however not all stages may be required. It covers all Royal Mail Group employees, including Parcelforce and RMPFS. Quadrant will be covered by Compass Group Policy.
Members will be in different categories.
- Extremely clinically vulnerable – advised to shield
- Carers of extremely clinically vulnerable – have an NHS letter of the person they are shielding
- Clinically vulnerable – Over 70s, pregnant employees, or those with an underlying health condition
- Carers of clinically vulnerable – stringently social distancing
- Non-clinically vulnerable – e.g. employees at risk of domestic abuse
Members who are Extremely Vulnerable and Carers of Extremely Vulnerable
Members who have received the letter from the Government / NHS will continue to shield in line with the Government advice. Currently these dates are:-
- Wales – 16th August
- Scotland – 31st July
- England & Northern Ireland – 30th June
- PLEASE NOTE THESE DATES MAY CHANGE
Members in the extremely vulnerable category will continue shielding until the dates above, unless Government advice changes or members receive updated advice themselves.
Members who are in all other Categories
It is understandable members may be fearful about returning to work and ensuring they keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Members should always follow Government / NHS advice. Whilst there is indication the Governments in England and Northern Ireland may extend the period of shielding, at the time of writing there has been no announcement.
We have agreed the following process with Royal Mail to support members returning to work. The process is a 4 step process to ensure all members’ concerns are taken into account and any adjustments required for you as an individual can be put in place for your safe return to the workplace. The process is a 4 step process, however, not all of the steps will be applicable to everyone. This process should be carried out with the full involvement of the appropriate CWU Representatives.
Members will be contacted by their line manager to discuss their current circumstances and have a discussion about a return to work.
The discussion will be non-threatening, looking to support you and will include, however not be limited to:-
- Ensuring you know of any social distancing measures which have been put in place and how they will be maintained.
- Allow you to visit the office prior to returning where requested.
- Ensure input from Occupational Health in any medical decision to return to work.
- How members travel to and from work safely.
- Ensure planned adjustments are in place prior to you returning to the workplace.
- Agree to working different hours of attendance where requested.
- Ensure any other concerns are raised and taken into account.
The form managers will use for this conversation is attached at Appendix A. Members who experience any difficulty with these conversations should contact their CWU representative.
From the conversation in Step 1, a date should be arranged to have a further discussion around returning to work including what adjustments will need to be put in place. This can be to work from home where applicable.
Members should be offered a visit to their office so they can understand the measures which are in place to support their return to work.
This discussion should include any medical information and a referral to Occupational Health if appropriate.
If required, this step should start to formulate what the return to work will look like. This will include any further discussion about medical information, including Occupational Health / GP advice.
This conversation should be finalising a return to work, including the date or identify reasons why this cannot happen.
If agreed adjustments are not yet put in place, members will not be forced to return to work and will remain away from the workplace until the adjustments have been completed.
If followed correctly, the process above should ensure a safe return to work, with full involvement of CWU members and their representatives, ensuring concerns have been taken into account and any required adjustments made.
We encourage branches to ensure this LTB is given the widest possible circulation to all members.
All enquiries regarding the content of this LTB should be addressed to the PTCS Department, quoting reference 420. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Secretary (Acting)