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Advice for Members in Wales

Last Updated:  01 November 2021

On 29 October 2021, the Welsh Government announced a number of measures to tackle the rate of Covid infections in Wales’. The measures, which are summarised below, follow the most recent three-weekly review of restrictions. 
 
Despite these changes Wales will remain at level zero but if case rates continue to rise over the next three-weeks, Ministers will consider raising the alert level at the next review and re-introducing further restrictions.

Further information on the easing of restrictions in Wales is available here.

Going to Work

In Wales people should work from home wherever possible to help reduce the number of contacts between people. 
 
We recognise that the majority of Union members continue to attend the workplace and it is important to note that despite the relaxation of some measures in recent months, employers are still required to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise exposure to, and the spread of, coronavirus. 
 
Please speak to your Rep or Union Official if you have any concerns about health and safety in your workplace.

Face coverings and Social Distancing

In Wales, face coverings remain a legal requirement in most indoor settings, with the exception of hospitality premises. Masks in shops, health and social care settings, and on public transport remain mandatory. 
 
Employers have been asked to reinforce this message and make it clear to the public/customers that this is a legal requirement. However, Usdaw is clear that staff should not be asked or expected to challenge customers over not wearing a mask; this should be done through other methods such as signage and the use of trained security staff. 
 
While physical (social) distancing is no longer in place, guidance from the Welsh Government states that “physical distancing is still a reasonable measure that may be taken, and in many circumstances is likely to be required to be taken”. As such the Union still expects employers to maintain social distancing measures, such as physical distancing markers/screens at tills and counters.

Advice for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable

Shielding advice in Wales is no longer in place however people on the shielding list are still advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe from Coronavirus. Further guidance is available here.

Members who are clinically extremely vulnerable and concerned about any risks in their workplaces should speak with their Union Rep or Official.

Pregnant Employees

Employers have particular responsibilities towards workers who are new mothers or pregnant women. Members who are pregnant and concerned about any risks in their workplaces should speak with their Union Rep or Official.

Self-Isolation

The guidance on self-isolation in Wales changed with immediate effect on 29 October 2021. This means that fully vaccinated adults and children aged five to 17 must self-isolate if someone in their household has symptoms or tests positive for Covid-19, until they have had a negative PCR test result. If they are not vaccinated, they must self-isolate for 10 days. 
 
Everyone must still self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for Covid-19.
 
It is illegal to knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work. This remains the law, regardless of your vaccination status.

Childcare and Schools

With some rules around self-isolation remaining in place, most working parents still face the challenge of balancing work and childcare. If you need to keep your child at home in line with public health advice to self-isolate, this may affect your ability to attend work due to the need to provide childcare. In these circumstances working parents have the following options:

  • Talk to your manager – in many companies the Union has agreed how working parents will be supported during the pandemic. This could mean changing the hours, days or times of day you work. It might mean using annual leave if you have leave available. Some companies are offering unpaid leave although the Union is clear that this is not a realistic option for many low paid families. We will continue to push both employers and the Government to financially support working parents during this time.
 
  • Talk to your Usdaw Rep or full time official – the Union has been working hard to encourage employers to support parents and while many are doing this some of our members are not getting the support they need. If you require support in discussions with your employer on this, please contact your in-store Usdaw Rep, or call your local Usdaw office.

 

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