Royal Mail & CWU Joint Guidelines to the Royal Mail Footwear Reimbursement Process (Due to Medical/Health Reasons)
Branches will be aware that Royal Mail have, for a number of years, implemented a Footwear Reimbursement Policy for those members who have an identified Medical/Health problem resulting in comfort issues wearing standard Royal Mail footwear.
Branches may also recall LTB 086/19, issued on the 6th of February 2019, which outlined an agreed increase in the footwear reimbursement level and offered additional detail for Branches around Royal Mail’s footwear reimbursement policy for members covered under the Equality Act.
Whilst the Health, Safety and Environment and Outdoor Departments engage on an ad hoc basis with Royal Mail on this policy, its application and arrangements have not been directly agreed with the union. As such, Royal Mail have applied a number of changes in recent years around the wider application of the policy, which have only come to our direct attention as a result of Branch enquiries. Against this background, we have been trying for some time now to move the footwear reimbursement policy into a formal set of guidelines surrounding its arrangements and application, including the procedure for individuals covered under the Equality Act.
This has now been completed and attached for the information and attention of Branches, Representatives and members alike, is a joint set of guidelines covering this Royal Mail Footwear Reimbursement Process (Due to Medical/Health Reasons).
Whilst the outlined agreed guidelines have not changed the current primary arrangements, they do now confirm for the first time the actual reimbursement level linked to the required medical evidence, to trigger footwear reimbursement. This replaces the former wording that stated that the ‘business will pay any reasonable costs incurred’linked to such medical evidence.
The guidelines also confirm and clearly set out such arrangements whereby Royal Mail will encourage, in a supportive manner, employees to try any new styles of footwear, prior to any new or renewal application for footwear reimbursement being authorised. This approach was introduced by Royal Mail a few years ago and led to confusion amongst many members (whose first knowledge of this arrangement has been where renewal of footwear reimbursement requests have been refused).
Finally, the guidelines also outline a joint commitment to review ongoing level of reimbursement for employees who need to purchase alternative off-the-shelf footwear and the level of reimbursement of the cost for medical evidence to ensure both remains fit for purpose.
In setting out these joint guidelines, Branches and Representatives are reminded that in the case of reported difficulties raised by members linked to the Footwear Reimbursement process, these matters should be directed to the Royal Mail Uniform Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the case of reported difficulties raised by members linked to the footwear purchase or reimbursement under the Equality Act, Branches and Representatives are advised to contact Royal Mail’s Disability Helpline at: email@example.comOr phone: 0800 0286142 (to arrange for sign or language interpreter, call 01142 414731).
Whilst it is noted that the outlined agreed guidelines will have no immediate change for those members who are currently in receipt of footwear reimbursement, it is hoped that now having finally agreed a full and clear joint position, we will ensure a consistent application and wider and better understanding of the whole process for members and Branches going forward.
Any queries to the content of the above please contact the Outdoor Department reference 500, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
CWU Assistant Secretary
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer