Update for DfC Staff and Branch Secretaries 18.00hrs

I wanted to give a short report on the most recent teleconference with management.

Vulnerable Person living at Home

We again raised the need for guidance for managers to allow staff with a vulnerable person living at home with them to have access to special leave to ensure government guidance on protecting those most at risk can be met.

Management confirmed they would look at cases sympathetically but that they would work with the special leave policy as set by NICS HR and by advice from Public Health Agency.

Our advice remains that members should speak with managers to get special leave to stay at home if they have a vulnerable person living with them.

If any request is denied, please seek support from your local NIPSA rep to assist you in challenging the decision. We will also seek to engage NICS HR on this issue.

Redeployment

We are aware that steps are being taken to look at redeploying staff to support essential work either through rotas or by relocating to other offices.

I support the considerable efforts being made by members to pay benefits and meet critical business needs. Any redeployment must be reasonable, within grade and take into consideration issues like childcare, DDA, training, ability to travel, etc.

We have asked management to develop guidance to assist managers in deciding on appropriate measures regarding redeployment and any member with concerns should raise them with their local branch rep in the first instance.

Health and WellBeing

I acknowledge the considerable efforts being made by members at all grades in delivering the service. However this commitment is limited and I have raised concerns about burnout of staff working long hours and weekends to meet needs.

I appreciate that many staff are properly staying at home but this places a strain on those attending and working remotely. Please look after your health, only work your normal hours, take your lunch and tea breaks and support each other.

I have asked management to ensure that annual leave requests are agreed, even when other staff are off. Annual leave is for rest and recuperation and we need to ensure members take their leave.

Cleaning

Cleaning still remains an issue in some areas although many other areas have reported increased cleaning of toilets, desks and touch points.

I have asked management to carry out weekly risk assessments of buildings to give us assurances that cleaning and other H&S concerns like distancing are been enforced.

This is being considered but local NIPSA H&S reps can and should be carrying out regular risk assessments and reporting concerns to managers.

Agency Workers

The NIPSA General Secretary has now shared information from Premiere People committing to ensuring agency members are treated equally with permanent staff regarding pay and Covid-19 absences.

This shows the benefit of being in a trade union and reps should make all efforts to recruit agency staff.

We will continue to engage with management daily and members should raise any concerns with local NIPSA reps, seconded officers or through myself.

Thanks again for your patience.

Dooley Harte
Assistant Secretary