Estates and Facilities company that cleans and maintains Huddersfield Royal Infirmary must pay Sick Pay to all staff

Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS are asking Calderdale and Huddersfield Hospitals Trust to urge its Wholly Owned Subsidiary Calderdale and Huddersfield Solutions LTD, (CHS) to pay Sick Pay to all staff during the Covid19 epidemic.

We are also asking CHS how they are managing the risks arising from their non-payment of Sick Pay to staff.

Update: CHS confirms they’ve always intended to pay occupational sick pay to all who need to self- isolate

In an email today (11.3.2020) Calderdale and Huddersfiel Solutions Ltd told us:

“Please be assured that it has always been the Company’s intention to pay occupational sick pay to all colleagues should they need to self- isolate in line with Occupational Health and Infection Control guidelines.

Any absence in this regard will be classed as paid medical exclusion rather than sickness.”

End of Update

We fully support Unison’s statement that, where cleaning or other services are contracted out to private companies,

“[UNISON] Branches should ensure that contracted out staff receive the same protections and rights, as far as possible, as those employed directly. This may involve initiating discussions with the main employer as well as with the contractor to ensure a joined-up approach is taken for the benefit of both service users and staff.”

New staff at our hospitals’ Wholly Owned Subsidiary are not entitled to occupational sick pay

Matt Hancock said on the BBC that if you self-isolate or are tested positive for Corona Virus you are entitled to sick pay.

He’s not even asked how this will work out for people, like those on zero hour contracts or new staff on the Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals trust (CHFT) Privatised Company Contract, who are not entitled to Occupational sick pay – just Statutory Sick Pay – around £94/week.

According to CHFT, Calderdale and Huddersfield Solutions Ltd has responsibility for maintaining and cleaning Huddersfield Royal Infirmary “as part of the fully managed estates and facilities services.”

If a CHFT nurse contracts Covid19 then they will be on full pay if they self-isolate – but if a cleaner at HRI needs to self-isolate, can they afford to live on Statutary Sick pay? Might that stop them taking time off?

If they happen to work in acute areas, they could infect already vulnerable patients. Surely then it is in the patients’ interest that the Wholly Owned Subsidiary pays full pay in this instance to protect and safeguard the patients.

In September 2018 existing CHFT staff were transferred through TUPE to an Estates and Facilities Management Private Ltd Company – Calderdale and Huddersfield Solutions Ltd. Meaning their wage, pension, holidays and sick pay remained the same (but can be changed).

But things are different for new staff. As well as not receiving Sick Pay from the company, new staff also do not have access to the NHS Pension Scheme and only get 20 days annual leave. This, besides not paying VAT, is how the Wholly Owned Subsidiary saves money.

We have heard that Calderdale and Huddersfield Solutions Ltd has a 10% staff turn over. Whilst working, staff who were TUPE’d over pay towards the pensions of those retired. So now there are 15% less contributors to this pot – this will undermine the Pension Scheme. It’s all smoke and mirrors, all short term fix, a house of cards that just needs one small breeze – could that be Corona Virus?

Surely the CHS needs to agree to provide full pay for the duration of the Covid19 epidemic because otherwise how are staff going to live?

An employee of another – unrelated – private company said,

“I don’t get sick pay either. It’s dreadful, I won’t self isolate. I need to keep a roof over our heads.”

In answer to Ck999 questions about the Wholly Owned Subsidiary in 2018, CHFT said,

“The Trust will control the strategic direction of the Subsidiary and all significant decisions. All reserved matters will be contained in an agreement between the Trust and the Subsidiary.”

This is why we are now asking the Trust to urge the Wholly Owned Subsidiary to pay Sick Pay to all staff during the Covid19 epidemic. We reckon this counts as a “significant decision”.

And we are asking them what the effects are on the Pension Scheme of excluding new staff from it and of the high staff turnover which means many staff who pay into the Pension Scheme are leaving.

New Health Protection (Coronovirus) Regulations

The government has just passed new Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 Regulations, to kick in if and when the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care declares that the incidence or transmission of Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health. The Regulations give the Secretary of State and registered public health consultants the power to detain people under certain conditions, for the purposes of screening and assessment.

We obviously hope it doesn’t come to this and an important means of containing the spread of the virus is to make sure that all hospital staff – whether employed by the NHS or a private company – get full occupational sick pay if they have to self isolate because of Covid19.

Facilities giant ISS has already paved the way by agreeing that their employees at Homerton hospital in Hackney will now receive their usual pay if they have to self-isolate.

The email

Here is our email to Calderdale and Huddersfield Solutions Ltd and the Hospitals Trust:

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