Extra time off for Lancashire County Council staff in thanks for Covid response

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Lancashire County Council staff will be given an extra two days off to thank them for their response to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The authority says that the gift - which will be awarded pro rata to part-time staff - is in recognition of the flexibility and efficiency they have shown since their working world was turned upside down by the Covid crisis.

It is also intended to give them the opportunity to recuperate from the “extreme pressures” under which they have been working, a report recording the decision states.

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The document reveals that the entire workforce has also been entered into a Christmas prize draw, in which 12 prizes will be on offer, worth "in total, between £3,000 and £10,000".

County Hall staff are to be thanked for their efforts during the Covid crisisCounty Hall staff are to be thanked for their efforts during the Covid crisis
County Hall staff are to be thanked for their efforts during the Covid crisis

An email to staff, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), tells County Hall workers: “We know that the last few months have been tough for everyone and that, for much of the time, you have been unable to travel or see friends and family.

“With that in mind, eligible staff will be given extra leave which we hope will give you the chance to reconnect with loved ones once restrictions are eased, or be used for self-care.”

The decision was taken by county council leader Geoff Driver, who told the LDRS: "We're incredibly proud of the way in which our staff have risen to the challenges of coronavirus and have continued to support the people of Lancashire throughout the pandemic. The reward recognises this and also allows us to say thank you to them for their efforts in continuing to deliver vital services in difficult circumstances.

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"There has been a clear impact on many staff who have been dealing directly with the virus and its consequences due to the difficult and sometimes distressing circumstances they have faced working with our most vulnerable people.

"But all staff have been impacted in some way and had to step up and adapt by being flexible over working times, switching roles and picking up new and additional work.

"The reward also recognises that staff have worked extremely efficiently and effectively due to the urgent need to respond to the pandemic, and encourages everyone to consider their wellbeing after what has been a difficult year," County Cllr Driver added.

As the LDRS revealed back in April, the pandemic prompted the redeployment of staff into new roles as part of the county-wide response to Covid-19. That included highways staff being diverted from their usual duties to building a temporary - and, thankfully, unused - morgue at the BAE Systems plant in Warton.

At least one of the extra days off awarded to staff must be taken during the current financial year, with the other able to be carried over to 2021/22.