Union calls for more help for care workers told to self-isolate at their place of work

Care staff are being told to self-isolate at their place of work if they test positive for coronavirus, leaving them with huge childcare and financial problems, according to a union.

The GMB claimed many care workers were not being given proper personal protection equipment (PPE), leaving them vulnerable to becoming ill.

Because of the unsociable hours carers work, many are left without any childcare outside school hours, said the union.

The GMB called for full pay for all social care workers in self-isolation and for the Government to underwrite any employers who cannot afford it.

Carers should also be given paid time off to look after their children when there is no other option available, and be supplied with gloves, masks, and sanitiser, said the union.

GMB official Kelly Andrews said: “Our care system is in danger of total collapse during the coronavirus crisis.

“Our carers are distraught that they have to work with little or no PPE and, horrifyingly, are being told that if a resident tests positive then they cannot return home.

“Despite being on the frontline, and utterly vital to stop our society from crumbling, they are on minimum wage, with unpaid breaks and are unable to rely on schools for childcare.

“To rub salt in the wound, if they become ill they either have to try and support their families on poverty sick pay, or turn up to work ill, which could be a death sentence for residents.”

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Care workers are an absolutely essential part of the response to this pandemic and councils want to continue supporting them in every way possible.

“We take very seriously the concerns raised and are working closely with government and care providers to resolve these, including about distribution of PPE and making sure this gets to those who need it as soon as possible.”

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