Covid-19 and Membership Contributions
Further to Circular No. MF/27/20, 17th March 2020 and under Decision No. Nww, 17th March 2020, the National Executive Committee (NEC) outlined how the Union would operate during the public health crisis. Part of the decision enabled the Union to “…use discretion in consideration of membership contributions” where “…employers take steps such as lay-offs, hours and pay reductions.”
We have begun to see the impact of this and members are now advising of reductions or the cessation of their pay. In order to assist members during this difficult period, the Union has sought to make some temporary arrangements that are both consistent with our Rules while also allowing some flexibility in line with the NEC decision.
It is important that the Union exercises these arrangements consistently and, in order to do so, we must ensure that the implementation of any changes to a member’s contributions is evidenced-based.
We are functioning in uncertain times and there is no definitive date as to when matters will return to normal. Therefore, on receipt of evidence, the Union will allow a suitable temporary adjustment to a member’s contribution arrangements until the end of June.
This temporary arrangement will be reviewed in June to determine whether it can continue, or if a member will be required to return to their original contribution arrangement from the July period.
Depending on a member’s specific circumstances, the Union may be able to offer:
· A payment break. Any contributions due from the date their circumstances changed as a result of the public health crisis (the effective date) to the end of June would then be spread over the remainder of the year.
· A temporary adjustment to the Low Rate from the effective date, subject to the member receiving an income at a level equivalent to the Union’s threshold on a monthly, 4-weekly or weekly basis.
· A temporary exemption from contributions from the effective date.
Should you be advised by a member that their circumstances have changed as a result of the public health crisis, please ask them to contact the Membership Department by emailing [email protected]. In the event that the circumstances are impacting on a wider group of members within a company or specific depot, please notify the relevant Lead Officer.
Any temporary adjustments can only be implemented on receipt of suitable evidence, namely:
· A payslip for the relevant period. This will allow the membership department staff to assess the basic salary against the Low Rate Threshold equivalent on a monthly, 4-weekly or weekly basis (dependent on the period covered by the payslip).
· A letter from the member’s employer indicating the circumstances impacting on their pay e.g. zero pay/SSP only, redundancy, furlough (with the relevant pay figure).
Should a member not have either of the above due to the nature of their employment, the Membership Department will discuss suitable supporting documentation with the member.
An application form for the temporary adjustment will need to be completed and accompanied by the supporting documentation before being emailed to [email protected].
If a member cannot scan and email the documents, pictures can be taken and sent by email with a smartphone.
Since we do not yet know the scale of the issue for our members, their patience will be appreciated following the submission of their documentation as each case is assessed.
I trust the above provides some reassurance that your Union is taking suitable steps to support its members during these difficult and uncertain times.