During these unprecedented times and as we enter an uncertain few weeks, we wanted to reassure members that you will continue to be supported, represented and protected by the FRSA.
Our head-office will remain open (24/7) and our national network of local officials will be on hand to provide advice and support at a local level.
Our website has a dedicated page containing useful information regarding all things connected with the COVID-19 situation and will be updated on a regular basis.
One of the frequently asked questions we have received relates to our On-Call members and their drill nights, whether they should be going ahead and if not, will firefighters still be paid. Our view is that where possible, drill nights should be going ahead for core-skills training, split into small groups (maximum of five) during different time slots. Maintenance and testing of equipment should still be undertaken but limited to a maximum of pairs.
If your local fire service has specifically cancelled drill nights or asked a firefighter not to attend drill nights, these individuals should still receive payment as normal (please check with your local official).
Our website has a dedicated page (https://www.frsa.org.uk/covid-19-info/) containing useful information regarding all things connected with the COVID-19 situation and will be updated on a regular basis.
As previously stated, we are experiencing an unprecedented situation where we will be faced with dilemmas that need to be tackled in a professional, responsible and pragmatic manner. It is possible that as an emergency service our members might be asked to perform activities that are not the norm but are required to protect and save lives.
If such a situation arises and with the appropriate safe systems of work, PPE, training and guidance in place, firefighters might be asked if they are willing to undertake duties (temporarily) outside of the national rolemap to assist the NHS in its duty to the public.
If you would like to know more please contact us via email.
We are aware that last week some fire services, at the request of the local Ambulance Service, have stopped Co-Responding due to concerns over adequate PPE. However, as new PPE has become available and stock levels increase, some Co-Responding Schemes have been re-started.
Our view is that Co-Responding remains a vital public service that directly saves lives and should continue to operate where it is safe to do so. All of our members will be protected when performing this important role as has been the case over the past 20 years!
Self-employed - Proposed Protection for Self-Employed and Freelancers
The House of Commons Public Bill Committee has proposed an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill, entitled Statutory Self-Employment Pay.
If accepted (and I think it will be), it compels the government to introduce Regulations providing that “freelancers” (undefined) and “self-employed people” should receive guaranteed earnings of:
- 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years; or,
- (b) £2,917 per month
whichever is the lower.
See the amendment here.
Can we just take this opportunity to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’, the service you are providing to your communities during this difficult time is truly amazing.