UNISON has called for the Welsh Government’s Covid ‘thank you’ bonus given to NHS and social care workers in Wales to be extended to council staff.

Welsh NHS and social care workers are entitled to a £500 grant as a thank you for the work they have done during the pandemic.

Public service workers are not currently entitled to the grant.

UNISON has released survey data of 738 public service workers that found nine in ten had not been reimbursed for extra costs during the pandemic.

The union says it is mainly low paid, female public service workers that “have been left hundreds of pounds worse off because of the costs of working from home”.

Additional costs include heating and electricity, telephone and broadband, home adaptations and increased home insurance.

The survey also found that 85 per cent are not paid a home-working allowance even though employers are able to pay a tax-free allowance of up to £6 a week.

Six per cent of the survey respondents earned too little to qualify for any tax relief for home working.

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The chair of UNISON Cymru Wales’ local government committee, Lianne Dallimore, said: “The pandemic and lockdown haven’t affected everyone equally.

"Many of those who are low paid and working from home have been left struggling to survive.

“These people include public service workers who kept vital community services running throughout lockdown and ensured virtual learning could continue for school children. 

“You can’t question their dedication, yet UNISON has received reports from across Wales these same workers are hundreds of pounds worse off because of home working.

“The Covid bonus of £500 should be extended to all council workers who played their part serving their community during lockdown, including school staff, refuse workers, meals on wheels service and many more.”

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