Joint Trade Union Update Statement – COVID-19 Terms and Conditions (England)

Since March 2020 there has been development of specific guidance and advice to support NHS organisations and NHS staff during the pandemic.  However, in light of the government now setting out their new phase of managing COVID-19 in England, the DHSC has indicated a wish to review the guidance and advice on COVID-19 for NHS employees (England) in collaboration with Staff Council trade unions and employers.

They have indicated that while some of the material will no longer be relevant in the current context, they recognise that the Staff Council will wish to maintain specific elements of the guidance where it is useful, and also that transitional arrangements may be needed to align with the standard Handbook terms.

The DHSC have also recognised that self-isolation will continue to be necessary for infectious NHS staff and that NHS England and Improvement will set the policy on this matter.

In taking this forward the NHS joint trade unions will:

  • Reconvene the COVID-19 terms and conditions group, which includes trade unions, NHS employers and DHSC, to undertake this review.
  • Report back to the wider Trade Union group and seek input from trade union Health, Safety and Wellbeing experts as part of the review.
  • Prioritise discussions about COVID-19 sick pay terms within the review, seeking to negotiate appropriate transitional arrangements and any additional supporting guidance.
  • Influence NHS England and Improvement to ensure their policy in relation to the on-going need for infection control measures maintains the principle of self-isolation periods not being counted towards sickness disciplinary triggers.
  • Liaise with joint NHS TU structures in Scotland, Cymru/Wales and Northern Ireland to exchange information and where possible establish common principles for any transitional arrangements.