We hope you and yours are well; it has now been 20 weeks since the majority of us began working from home. Here are some updates from your UNISON branch which we hope are helpful. As always, if you have any questions or issues you’d like to raise with us, or you would like some advice and support, please contact us at unison@leeds.ac.uk

Your feedback re. working from home – we asked for you feedback on any extra expenses you have had to ensure you can work from home and, also, examples of where you are working over and above your usual hours and workload. We have had an overwhelming response, so thank you to all those who have responded. If you haven’t yet responded, but would like to send us feedback, you can email us at unison@leeds.ac.uk. We are currently collating the information anonymously and will be raising the various issues with the University over the next few weeks. We’ll also be in touch individually with those of you who asked questions in your responses as soon as we can. Some of the issues raised through this exercise have been things that earlier contact with the branch could have led to a resolution being reached – e.g. working longer hours; unacceptably large workloads – please do come to the branch for advice before a problem becomes unmanageable and makes you ill.

Going on maternity leave? – if you are due to go on maternity leave and would like to keep up to date with news from your Branch, you can log into My Unison and update your contact email address.

Help with School Uniforms – The 2020 School Uniform Grant is now open. Further information on the grant and how to apply can be found here.

Moving to a Grade 6 post (University of Leeds)? – if you are applying for a G6 post and you are currently at G5, and you think that taking on the new post will result in a decrease in your hourly rate, please get in touch.

New Access to Work Blended Offer – Access to Work continues to provide support for the disability-related extra costs of working that disabled people face beyond standard reasonable adjustments which an employer is required to make. In recognition of the challenges COVID-19 may produce, the new Access to Work Blended Offer, which complements the support provided by employers, includes a package of home-working assistance which can be blended into support in the workplace. There’s also a mental health offer for people returning to work after a period of furlough or shielding. The Blended Offer may also be able to assist with support to travel to work for those who may no longer be able to safely travel by public transport due to disability. Find out more about Access to Work during COVID-19.

Security Re-grading – we have had news that the long-awaited re-grade of security staff at the University of Leeds from Grade 3 to Grade 4 has been agreed and staff will start on their new grade from 1 September, 2020. A big thank you to our rep in Security, Matt Barker, for his work in this area!

Branch Office – a quick reminder, the Branch Office is currently unoccupied as we are working from home, and so we are unable to answer telephone calls or pick up answer machine messages. If you need to contact us, please do so by email and, if necessary, we can arrange a chat by phone.

You can keep up to date with our news on our social media channels (see below). For any advice and support, please get in contact with one of our reps directly (Your Branch Reps and Officers) or email us at unison@leeds.ac.uk