Somerset County Council has reaffirmed its commitment to care workers today promising them full pay for Covid-related absences – on top of committing to an additional £10m for adult social care services next year.
The announcement comes following negotiations between UNISON and the Council, and means that if care workers are required to self-isolate they will continue to receive full pay to do so.
In August 2020, the Council became the first in the South West to sign up to UNISON’s ‘Stop the Spread’ pledge, an initiative to protect care workers throughout the pandemic.
Measures included priority testing for care workers, suitable personal protective equipment, and pay protections such as full pay during self-isolation, and carers leave on full pay for workers caring for a dependent with Covid 19.
Mel Lock, Somerset County Council’s Director for Adult Social Care said: “I want to personally thank all care workers in Somerset for their unfailing dedication, bravery, and selflessness. It is absolutely essential that they take time off if they test positive for Covid-19, and our recommitment provides further assurance that we will of course continue to support them with full pay.
“We also offer support with recruitment and staffing, pastoral and wellbeing support, and regular communication and updates. From the outset of the pandemic we provided additional funds, sourced PPE during a time of national shortages, and supported each case and outbreak. Our vaccination programme continues to rollout across the county at pace, and we are now in the early stages of offering the second dose of the vaccine to care homes.”
David Huxtable, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “We are incredibly grateful to care workers across the county for the sacrifices they have made to care for Somerset residents during the pandemic. Our social care sector has been under enormous strain over the last year, and we have been working hard to raise awareness about the intense challenges they have been facing. We will continue to support this sector, and have committed an additional £10.2m to be invested in adult social care services next financial year. ”
UNISON South West regional secretary Joanne Kaye said:
“Care workers should not lose pay for putting the safety of the people they care for first. Somerset County Council have recognised this, and carers will not have to worry about putting their colleagues and service users at risk, simply by going to work to provide for their families.
“The council have reaffirmed their commitment to care workers, who have been on the frontline throughout the pandemic. Our social care workers deserve every level of protection an employer can provide.”
Join courageous and dedicated health and social care professionals in the fight against coronavirus – visit: www.proudtocaresomerset.org.uk
The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, is open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm, offering a range of support – from help accessing food or medicines, to emotional and financial support, and employment, skills and business advice.
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