Prison bosses are reacting to fears about the isolation allowance for Covid-19.

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At the end of last week, 35 workers were in isolation, and union officials had expressed concerns about wages during the coronavirus-induced leave.

Altcourse prison bosses responded to concerns expressed by union officials and employees about wages paid to workers isolated because of Covid-19.

The G4S, which operates Altcourse Prison, denied the concerns raised by the GMB union on behalf of the staff.

But GMB, the union representing many prison officers and which wrote to G4S bosses last week after members and ECHO raised concerns, said questions remained about the treatment of the staff.

G4S, the company that runs the Fazakerley complex, said today that many of these concerns were unfounded.

Among the biggest concerns were that staff who had to isolate themselves a second time would not be paid for three days, and that those who had used up their sick leave through multiple isolation measures would also remain unpaid.

On Friday, nearly three dozen Altcourse employees were out of work due to a corona virus.

Although this represented 5% of the workforce, ECHO understands that employees expressed concerns about whether the G4S’s absence policy was preventing people from isolating themselves for fear of losing their pay if they had to take time off work.

G4S informed ECHO that none of these fears were true.

It did, however, confirm that someone who is on sick leave for the second time will receive the statutory sick pay for the first three days of their absence, which is less than their full salary. They would then again receive the full salary.

Employees would initially receive six weeks of full sick pay, with this rate increasing over the course of their careers.

When this quota is exhausted – whether due to coronavirus or not – they receive the statutory sickness benefit for each further leave of absence.

This was in response to concerns raised by ECHO and GMB.

G4S said there are “no realistic scenarios” in which an employee is released from work due to illness and does not receive a wage. The company also said it did not know of any Altcourse employees who had had to be isolated more than once.

A spokesperson for G4S said, “The health and well-being of our employees and the people in our care is our top priority. We have regular discussions with Public Health England about best practice and we are proud of how our dedicated teams have responded to these challenging times.

“Our employees receive sick pay when they need to isolate themselves, whether through the occurrence of symptoms or through follow-up, and our policy in this regard is fully in line with ACAS and government guidelines”.

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