Worker rights and wellbeing


A consolidation of policies to support workers' rights and wellbeing, for a large membership-led activist organisation/union. It includes: Sickness policy, Parental Leave, Carers and compassionate leave, Time off in lieu and overwork, Additional leave, Trade union recognition, Staff access to counselling or other support, Annual leave, Pension contribution, Staff absence planning, and Parent and carer subsidy.

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Hello! Thank you very much to those sharing this policy!

I came across it, as I’m looking for a policy framework for mental wellbeing: what to do in the case of regular (unpredictable) ‘bad days’ when it’s not possible for a team member to carry out all their tasks? As it is not constant/clear, but rather unpredictable, a long term illness policy doesn’t seem to fit, so I’m looking for other ways of supporting members of staff and members of the same team.

If I may, I would like to ask a bit more about Staff access to counselling - in the context of this policy and other organizations who have similar policies/practices in place:

  1. who is ‘responsible’ to find a counselor (is this very individual or is there an (external) go-to person/team for the whole organization?)
  2. if it is, how is the ‘ask’ for this counselor defined? (in some cases the GP is involved, but would there also be members of the organization supporting here?)
  3. what if the cause of the trauma is outside of the workplace?

Thanks a lot for your thoughts!

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Hi Mari -
Thanks for the thoughts - I was actually involved in this policy in a previous role, so can speak to it a bit more specifically.

Around the counselling/wellbeing subsidy, the counsellor was always found by the worker, as we recognised how personal a choice having a counsellor is and didn’t want to impose that.

Beyond that it was pretty broad - and became broader in practice. We wanted to recognise that it was a bit of a joke to try to define what part of someone’s stress, anxiety, mental health concerns were ‘work related’ and what parts of it weren’t, as a mix of life and work stresses would always be in the mix in this organisation.

Once we’d acknowledged this, we really relaxed our definitions, both in terms of only applying the subsidy to counselling (recognising that some people would prefer to go to the gym, than speak to a counsellor as part of their mental health care) and also that it mattered less where their stress was coming from (unless organisational changes were needed in regards to work stress), and that the organisation benefited greatly by supporting staff’s mental health and wellbeing, more generally.

It took time to build the case for the budget around this, but it was received really well, especially once we stopped trying to define it too narrowly.

There was still active need to build the case for the value of it with some staff, more than others, but that’s another messy story that taps into building understandings of different people’s relationships to trauma and support!

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re: the mental health days off… I feel like the folks from Level Up might have some more specific policies on this… not sure if they’ve joined yet, but will reach out to them.

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This is interesting, wondering how the budget prob was solved, is it by increasing overheads flin funding bids and stuff to build this cushion? Or fundraising specifically for this? Not enough funders out there seem to be understanding about these core capacity needs

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Definitely true re: funders not often getting this stuff. Have been finding some shift amongst some UK funders in the last few years (JRCT, Lankelly Chase and others seem to be a bit further ahead), but it’s still far from the norm.

In this organisation, it was partly made easier by having a reasonable amount of unrestricted membership income, which could be used to fund (some of!) the things that were harder to get specific funding for. I definitely realise that’s not an option for a lot of orgs tho.