COVID-19 - Update (4)
Pay Protection – On-Call
As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause uncertainty across the country, we have been acutely aware of the unique set of circumstances this is causing some of our members regarding financial hardship.
Over the last two weeks we have been working with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) to formulate guidance to all Fire and Rescue Services across the UK. Our view is that by having agreement with the NFCC it is more likely that Chief Fire Officers will follow such guidance. The document aims to protect the fire service earnings for staff working the Retained Duty System (RDS) who are receiving lower earnings due to a reduction in the number of fire calls received, temporary lower ridership levels and an increase of personnel available to crew their appliance(s).
We are pleased to confirm that our proposals to the NFCC were accepted. Our view is that just like the NHS, the RDS needs to be protected as do the fantastic firefighters who work the RDS.
In addition to normal fire service earnings, we have proposed three priority levels for anyone who wishes to volunteer to undertake duties with their local Ambulance Service and support the NHS. The priority levels are based on the impact the individual is facing within their primary employment.
There isn’t a perfect solution that overcomes every situation, but we believe that this will cover the majority of circumstances where the Ambulance Service is asking for help from its emergency partner.
The guidance document, which was published last week, is available to download from our website. Your local FRSA official should have already shared and discussed the practicalities of implementing this guidance with your Chief Fire Officer, if you need further information please contact your local official or FRSA HQ.
Maintenance of Competence – On-Call
In addition to the pay-protection guidance document, the NFCC has updated its guidance on the maintenance of competence for On-Call staff which we have also contributed to.
There is some overlap between the two documents specifically around payment for drill nights, so it is worth reading both documents together. The resources that are available will vary from service-to-service, so again it will not be a perfect solution for everyone, but it will provide temporary workable opportunities for the majority of our members across the country.
Working with our Emergency Partners
- Ambulance Driving and Patient/Ambulance personnel support
- Vulnerable persons – delivery of essential items
- COVID-19 – Mass casualty (Movement of bodies)
- Face Fitting for masks to be used by frontline NHS and clinical care staff working with COVID-19 patients
- Delivery of PPE and other medical supplies to NHS and care facilities
- Assisting in taking samples for COVID-19 antigen testing
RIDDOR – COVID-19
- an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
- a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
- a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.
Further information can be found on the HSE website.
The government is regularly updating its guidance regarding the Job Retention Scheme (Furloughing of employees) to provide greater clarification to both employers and employees but also expanding the criteria so that more people are eligible to apply for the scheme.