Advice for Black (BAME) workers

This page was last updated on 16 June 2021 at 13.15

England is now in step 3 of the government’s roadmap. This means:

  • You should continue to work from home if you can.
  • You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.
  • You can meet indoors with up to six people from any number of households, or any number of people from no more than two households.

UNISON is very concerned about the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black/BAME workers, and also the wider impact on racism that the pandemic is having. Our concerns have been heightened following the publication of the “Disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19” report.

Read an interview with UNISON’s Head of Equality, Gloria Mills which considers the impact of Covid-19 on Black workers

UNISON has produced a leaflet detailing the risks for Black workers and what your rights at work are.

Download UNISON’s Covid guide for Black Workers

Following the 2013 national Black members’ conference the national Black members committee looks at defining ‘Black’ in UNISON. The motion to conference asked for an explanation of the term to be used consistently throughout Black members structures.

In UNISON, Black is used to indicate people with a shared history. Black with a capital ‘B’ is used in its broad political and inclusive sense to describe people in Britain that have suffered colonialism and enslavement in the past and continue to experience racism and diminished opportunities in today’s society.

Find out more about how UNISON uses the term Black

The report found that Black men are nearly 4 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white men, and Black women are 3.5 times more likely to die than white women.

Whatever the reasons for these disparities, we believe that employers must consider the specific risks to Black/BAME workers and consider this particular group of workers when conducting Covid-19 risk assessments.

Although Black/BAME workers have not been included as a specific group in the government list of vulnerable people, we believe that employers should consider Black/BAME workers in the same way as they do other vulnerable workers.

Black/BAME workers should:

  • work from home where possible, or be deployed (with no loss of pay) to roles that can be done from home
  • if working from home is not possible, should only attend the workplace where strict social distancing measures can be observed
  • if none of the above can be achieved then Black/BAME workers should be allowed to stay at home without loss of pay