JOINT STATEMENT – CLINICALLY EXTREMELY VULNERABLE (CEV) ABSENCE AND POLICY TALKS BETWEEN RMG AND CWU ARISING OUT OF THE PATHWAY TO CHANGE AGREEMENT
Branches will be aware we consistently questioned Royal Mail’s policy throughout the pandemic regarding absence for our members who had to shield due to being in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) category. Royal Mail have counted shielding during the pandemic as sickness absence which we have continued to challenge strongly.
This was a huge concern as this would mean these members would face up to 3 years going forward on half or nil sick pay should they need to take further time off due to illness, their disability or their health condition.
Since our members in the CEV category returned to work in April 2021 we have been in negotiations with Royal Mail in order to remove these absences from the sick pay entitlement.
The negotiations have been long and protracted, however we are pleased to inform you we concluded talks on Wednesday 30th June with the attached agreed Joint Statement which has been endorsed by the Postal Executive at its meeting today. Whilst we acknowledge the decisions taken during the pandemic were at a moment in time, we are pleased, having reflected on the policy decisions taken, Royal Mail want to work with us on mutual interest solutions. Royal Mail have confirmed any sickness absence due to shielding during the pandemic will be removed from the sick pay entitlement for our CEV members.
This will be done in two stages:
For shielding absences incurred since November 2020, this will be managed through the PSP system and member’s records will be updated automatically by September 2021. This can be done as from November 2020 there was a specific absence shielding code which was used for PSP.
For all previous shielding absences, this will be done manually as all absences will have to be checked and anyone who was in the CEV category and absent due to shielding will have the absence credited back to them. This will be completed by December 2021.
Any member who is in the CEV category and is unfortunate enough to need to take sickness absence prior to the completion of the stages above, will have their record amended immediately and therefore will continue to receive the sick pay they would have received without the shielding absences included. This means no member in the CEV category should lose out on sick pay entitlement due to having had to shield during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
To confirm the changes, all members in the CEV category will also receive a letter, informing them of the changes to their sick pay entitlement.
Update on Policy Negotiations
As part of this joint statement we are able to update Branches on the progress of the policy negotiations as part of the Pathway to Change Agreement.
The discussions have predominantly focused on the attendance agreement, however we have also touched on other policies. Our main priority has been to ensure Royal Mail adhere to our agreed processes and agreements.
Within the joint statement RMG and CWU re-commit to our existing policies, processes and agreements. To build trust, it is really important for all employees to feel that they have been treated fairly and consistently.
We believe the recommitment in this joint statement presents an ideal opportunity for Reps at all levels to ensure all of our policies and agreements are being implemented correctly. It is imperative we do everything we can locally to ensure this commitment is carried out. If misapplication of any of our agreements does occur, this should be challenged locally and if necessary followed up through the dispute resolution procedure (DRP) process.
Branches will know due to the pandemic, appeals have been performed virtually. We have received many enquiries about how appeals will be performed going forward. We have been discussing this issue and negotiations are continuing. We will provide an update as soon as we have information on the next lockdown review. We appreciate there are different dates for reviews in the devolved governments and we will be monitoring the advice from all.
My thanks go to our representatives and members in all grades for your outstanding effort during the pandemic.
All enquiries regarding the content of this LTB should be addressed to the PTCS Department, quoting reference 415 Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Secretary (Elect)