Branch Secretary :

Covid paid leave concession at Catalyst Housing

Refused furlough


Unite reps and members at Catalyst have cautiously welcomed partial concessions from management on paid leave for parents of young children.


Although the association had furloughed these workers during the first lockdown, they have steadfastly refused to do so this time, making no alternative arrangement except the option of annual leave, or unpaid leave once this was used up.


Following representations, the leadership team backed down and implemented 10 half-days of paid home-schooling leave for eligible staff.



Sadly, this scheme is of little use to other employees, particularly those with dependants not of school age, who are falling through the cracks and struggling to juggle childcare with full time jobs.


Indirect sex discrimination


Equality lawyers have noted that refusal to furlough people with childcare needs is likely to constitute unlawful indirect sex discrimination, due to the disproportionate impact on women workers.


Catalyst management have boasted of the business’s ethical stance in paying back their furlough money to the government, but there is nothing ethical about letting parents and carers struggle through the pandemic without adequate support.


On International Women’s Day, the association’s directors spoke of the sobering impact of Covid-19 on women’s participation in the workforce – they must look closer to home and fully implement a policy that is no less generous than the official furlough scheme for people with caring responsibilities, without delay.


See TUC report on “Working mums: paying the price” here


By Catalyst worker



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