Sick Pay

Back to all Motions

2016 Community Service Group Conference
3 November 2015

This conference notes the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) findings that for the fifth year running, over 30% of employers have reported an increase in staff going into work whilst unwell. UNISON’s Community members’ survey found that 85% of members had gone into work ill in the last two years.

This conference welcomes the CIPD’s concern on this issue, but believes that their solution of developing employee wellbeing strategies and quality leadership ignores a basic issue of sick pay being cut.

Many employers in the community and voluntary sector, and in housing associations, are attempting to save money by reducing sickness absence and associated costs (such as employing agency workers) by cutting sick pay – often to the statutory minimum. As a result, many workers simply cannot afford to take time off sick, which means that they put themselves and service users at risk. Members in Community employers have been told to take holidays instead of going off sick and to use their annual leave as part of phased returns to work.

The introduction of more punitive schemes, such as the Bradford factor, means not only that staff lose pay if they are off sick, but they are also at risk of dismissal. Disabled workers are especially at risk in this drive to meet attendance targets.

This conference believes that, especially in an ethical not-for-profit sector, employers should take a positive approach to minimising absence by ensuring a safe and healthy working environment.

This conference calls on the Community SGE to:

1)Research good and innovative practice in reducing sickness absence using positive and supportive methods

2. Circulate negotiating guidance to regions and branches with Community members

3. Encourage negotiators to submit claims to Community employers to improve their sick pay schemes.

4. Encourage Community activists to use this as an organising issue.