Covid-Infected Cleaners and Porters at the London NHS Trust Declined Full Sick Pay amid Winter Wave
Published On:February 22, 2021
At a number of London hospitals, cleaners, porters and kitchen staff are refused full sick pay for Covid-related absences due to an ongoing conflict between an NHS trust and one of its private contractors, reports show. After 1 October 2020, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and its supplier Mitie, a British facility management agency, have declined to offer full sick pay for outsourced ancillary workers after the government withdrew specific guidelines on retaining supplier payments. Often for two or more weeks at a time, those who have fallen ill with Covid-19 in the ongoing winter wave have been forced to stay at home on a third of their normal salary. In some cases, owing to financial difficulties, cleaners and porters have returned to work before their self-isolation time is over, and though still sick.
Two West Herts sources also say that management at Mitie, which last month was named a top 50 inclusive UK employer, forced supply workers to continue to work while Covid-19 was potentially infected. Even though people are going off with alleged Covid, managers are telling them it's definitely not Covid. 'Just stay on the job. Don't go off.' One of the sources said that Mitie's management said this. Watford General Hospital, St Albans City Hospital and Hemel Hempstead Hospital, all managed by West Herts, have more than 400 outsourced staff employed on the £ 55 million Mitie deal. Out of these, after becoming ill with Covid, about 70 individuals are thought to have been unable to access full sick pay.
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