Please get in touch if your branch has organised activities or if you have ideas for how we can support this annual event next year.
For information about being a carer and your rights, check our factsheet.
This page covers the help and assistance available from PCS to enable members with caring responsibilities to take part in the union.
It also covers the assistance available when a carer is required to assist a member during time away from home on union business or activity.
PCS recognises that caring responsibilities may be a barrier to involvement for many of our reps. and members, particularly women, upon whom the bulk of caring responsibilities fall.
PCS is determined to help members to combine their work and home roles successfully, as we appreciate the experience that these members can bring to union work.
We aim in particular to increase the number of women members who are active in PCS.
To achieve this we will:
PCS policy is that in planning any union activity, organisers should consider carers.
This includes stating clear start and finish times (and sticking to them), making sure that working patterns are taken into account when fixing meetings, avoiding meetings in school holiday time or outside school hours, and where possible, providing childcare facilities or assistance with carers' costs.
Every effort should be made to encourage those with caring responsibilities to attend. They should be made to feel welcome and included rather than feel that they will be a problem.
Childcare provision should not be an afterthought. If childcare provision can be arranged this should be advertised well in advance in order to encourage the widest participation.
Local authority children's services departments can provide information on childcare available locally and a number of companies provide mobile crèche services.
Venues should be accessible and suitable for those who have to or choose to bring those they care for to the event.
Where conferences or courses are residential, organisers should consider involving children in evening activities and explain in advance that this will be the case.
Event organisers should recognise that carers may need to keep their mobile phones switched on (set to silent mode if appropriate) for contact purposes. This should be communicated at the start of the event.
PCS will try to provide childcare facilities at all residential events and for other meetings where possible, but this may depend on the availability of local childcare services in the area where the event is being held.
PCS will normally meet the costs of the childcare facility that we provide.
Event organisers also need to ensure that legal requirements on childcare provision are met, including space standards and ratio of care workers to children and for that reason may set an early deadline for booking places.
Childcare provided by PCS will normally be for children up to and including age 14 but care for older children may be provided if a parent is unable to make alternative care arrangements and would otherwise be unable to attend the event. Parents of older children should discuss their childcare needs with the event organiser who can advise on the options available.
Where meetings are held at PCS headquarters in Clapham, it may be possible to book a day place at the PCS nursery nearby, or in the PCS holiday play scheme, subject to availability and with the prior consent of the nursery co-ordinator.
Contact should be made with the appropriate group or regional office for further information.
We recognise that parents need to consider a number of factors before deciding whether to take the children or to make alternative care arrangements at home.
Our aim is to provide as much information as possible to enable parents to make that choice and then to support that decision in a number of practical ways.
Although PCS will normally meet the costs of the residential childcare that we provide, we recognise that parents who use the PCS childcare facility may incur additional costs in connection with having their children with them.
Our aim is to be flexible and fair in providing assistance with those additional costs and we will also consider claims for those additional expenses to be paid in advance.
We also recognise that parents and carers who need to make alternative caring arrangements in order to attend an event, may incur additional costs.
Again, our aim is to be flexible and fair in providing assistance with those costs. It is advisable to check with the event organiser in advance before putting any arrangements for alternative care in place as certain rules may apply concerning claims.
To ensure that your child receives a high standard of care, PCS recommends that you should use a registered or approved childminder.
Your local authority children's services department should be able to help you find childcare in your area and advise you on the requirements of childcare registration.
Expenses in connection with caring responsibilities should be claimed on the expenses claim form that you have been provided with.
Please see the guidance notes issued with your claim form. If you are in doubt about any aspects of your claim, then please check with the event organiser in advance. Note that receipts will normally be required for all items claimed over £5.
Cost of travel - taking children and luggage and/or equipment by public or private transport, (whichever is most appropriate); necessary taxi fares; and hire of any special equipment at the location.
Cost of additional or larger rooms in hotels or renting larger flats, in order to accommodate children.
Additional food costs where the childcare facility does not provide meals, or where the type and timing of hotel meals does not cater for children, or where parents in self-catering accommodation do not have time to cook or transport heavy shopping.
Although receipts are required for items over £5, parents who necessarily purchase small food items such as drinks or snacks may claim up to £5.00 per transaction provided a list of the items purchased is provided.
PCS will aim to provide information about local babysitting services and pay for evening baby-sitting costs at conferences and other events to allow the carer to attend any official functions. A receipt will be required.
Additional costs incurred for having to alter your normal childcare arrangements may be taken into account. The aim is to ensure that you are not subject to any additional costs as the result of attending a PCS event with your child(ren).
In circumstances where it is is not possible to use the childcare facility provided, for example, because the child is too young, too old, is unwell or is unlikely to settle, or because the parent requires assistance to travel with children, it may be possible to claim for a carer to accompany the parent provided this is with the prior consent of the event organiser.
Where this has been agreed in advance, PCS will meet the cost of travel and any necessary accommodation.
If you need to make special arrangements for the care of children or dependants so that you can attend a union event, PCS will meet reasonable claims for any additional expenses that you incur for childcare.
This might include additional payments to childminders or carers, arrangements to collect a child or dependant or additional transport costs.
Please discuss your needs with the event organiser in advance.
To support your claim you will need to provide a receipt or letter from your childminder or carer including their name, address and signature, the times covered and the amount charged.
If you are a disabled person and you need a personal assistant or supporter to assist you at a union event, PCS will meet reasonable claims for the additional travel and accommodation costs of the carer. Please check with the event organiser in advance.
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