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31st March, 2020

UCL Statement regarding staff working for contractors


UCL is today announcing it is bringing forward the harmonisation of sick pay for all cleaning, security, portering and catering staff in response to the coronavirus Covid-19 crisis.

From this Monday 23 March 2020, staff employed by UCL’s suppliers Axis, Sodexo and Aramark will be able to access sick pay from day one. This had been planned for July, but as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, UCL has today decided to bring forward the date.

The university had previously announced that it will harmonise pay for security, cleaning, catering and portering staff. This will go ahead as planned on the 1st April 2020. For most staff, this will mean a pay rise on their hourly rate. UCL is also honouring length of service when mapping to UCL grades and rates, and future rises will now be linked to progression through the UCL pay spine.

In a further announcement, UCL contractors will honour all contracted hours for their staff, whether they are required to attend work or not. This commitment will be made regardless of the nature of their contracts. Where staff work on an ‘as and when’ basis, if they have been working a regular weekly pattern, their pay will be calculated based on their average earnings over the last 12 weeks.  This will be paid whether staff are required to work or not during the Covid-19 crisis.

‘Special Leave’ will also be paid for people who are self-isolating in line with UCL – this will not be deducted from sick pay balances nor count toward triggers in absence policies.

Additional holiday leave for catering, security, portering and cleaning staff has already been harmonised. The measures following successful talks with UCL’s recognised trade union UNISON.

Dr Matthew Blain, Director of HR at UCL, said:

“UCL is a wide community of people who come together in the pursuit of our academic missions. Colleagues working in catering, cleaning, security and portering play a vital role in this, working at the front line to keep our campuses open, and operating safely and effectively.

“We know that these are particularly worrying times for people on lower incomes, and that’s why we have today announced a range of measures to bring peace of mind to colleagues working in Sodexo and Axis. UCL will honour our ongoing commitment to ensure that these vital workers will receive the same, or equivalent pay and core benefits, as directly employed staff.”

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