Talk to SWU Webinars

Talk to SWU logo

This free advice webinar series hosted by the Social Workers Union is a chance to talk directly with SWU about any work place issues you have been experiencing. In each session a panel of Trade Union Advice & Representation Officers along with a SWU Legal Advisor answer questions from social workers and social work students.

The webinar is set up so that questions can be asked anonymously. You can watch recordings of previous Talk To SWU webinars below.*

Common questions asked by our members include:

  • Have your terms and conditions been changed/altered?
  • Have you been facing re-organisation?
  • Are you experiencing Bullying and Harassment?

All UK social workers and social work students are invited to attend and engage with this online advice and representation webinar series, regardless of membership status.

Follow SWU on social media to find out when the next Talk to SWU webinar will be announced.

*Please note the dates these webinars were recorded on as some information may now be out of date. If you are a BASW / SWU member and are unsure and require further advice, please contact the Advice and Representation team.

**You will be eligible for advice and representation after a one-month qualifying period. Please note that to qualify for advice and / or representation, the issue cannot have been a known pre-existing issue or active during this one-month qualifying period.

Talk to SWU recording from 30 March 2023

Hosted by SWU during World Social Work Month 2023

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Questions asked in this session were:

  • Can I, as a local authority social worker, support the strike of a union that I am not a member of?
  • Do agency social workers have fewer employment rights?
  • Does discrimination law extend to trans people?
  • Can my employer simply reject my request to work part-time, or do I have a right to insist on a change of hours?
  • My employer has changed a lot of my terms and conditions without consulting me – is this constructive dismissal if I left employment due to this? / How can I challenge workplace restructuring plans?
  • What are my rights to request flexible working?
  • How long after restructuring do you have to ask for a redeployment if your original job focus has changed?
  • I’ve been off work sick with work-related stress – am I protected by disability discrimination law? / Can I pursue a personal injury claim against my employer?
  • I’ve been sick during my holidays – can I take the time as sick leave to preserve my holidays? / Can I carry over holidays to the next holiday year if I’ve been too ill to take them? / Do I have to disclose everything to my manager when requesting occupational health?
  • Can I be turned down for a position because, at age 45, I am not perceived as having a “vibrant, dynamic, and youthful approach to work”?
  • I have dyslexia and have been criticized by my manager for slow report production – am I entitled to extra support?
  • I’ve been bullied in my workplace, but I did not go through the work procedures due to a bereavement – is there a time limit to make a complaint?

Talk to SWU & SWES recording from 14 September 2022

Hosted by SWU on behalf of the Social Work Employment Services

This free webinar invited agency social workers to anonymously ask advice about workplace issues.

In this session agency social workers brought their employment, legal, and practice-based questions to a panel of experts from the SWU/BASW Advice and Representation Service and SWU’s Legal Advisor from Morrish Solicitors.

Questions asked during this webinar were:

About the Social Work Employment Services

Social Work Employment Services (SWES) is the professional, trusted, and ethical umbrella company created to support social work professionals and employment agencies to provide PAYE, NIC, HMRC, compliant payroll, and employment services to meet off-payroll regulations (IR35).

SWU and SWES have signed a bargaining agreement that commits SWES to consult with SWU on any changes in terms, conditions, and pay rates for employees. This action affirms SWES and SWU’s commitment to protecting workers’ rights, and specifically in this case the rights of agency social workers.

Audited and accredited by Professional Passport, SWES works in partnership with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and adheres to its Code of Ethics.

SWU recognises that SWES is a good employer and provides an ethical and compliant service for our members.

Talk to SWU recording from 29 March 2022

Hosted by SWU during World Social Work Month 2022

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Topics we discussed during this session include:

  • Is there anything I can do about a negative reference given by employer?
  • Your rights with regards to a secondment for your development
  • Refused part-time working requests
  • Can menopause be considered a disability?
  • Mask wearing policies after the government has lifted COVID-19 restrictions
  • Do I have a say in the variation of my contract?
  • The timescale of completing a disciplinary or grievance investigation
  • Negotiating and serving a notice period
  • Is an agency worker who is working for a local authority and using an umbrella company considered employed or self-employed?
  • How can I support a colleague being bullied by a manager?
  • Being dismissed due to failing to pass my ASYE, but I have dyslexia and didn’t have the equipment / support I needed in place – do I have any rights to challenge my dismissal?

Talk to SWU recording from 3 November 2021

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Questions asked and answered in this session include:

  • Is there any legal protection for people who experience the menopause?
  • I have dyslexia and have asked for readjustments but IT department don’t fully understand my needs and it’s taking a long time – what can I do?
  • I am not taking the COVID-19 vaccine on health grounds – what can I do to protect myself and those at work, and can my employer insist on me having the vaccine even though I’m not visiting care homes?
  • Rights around flexible working hours if you have long Covid
  • Wanting to work part-time due to childcare arrangements
  • The difficulty of constructive dismissal cases

Talk to SWU recording from 7 July 2021

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Questions we discussed during this session include:

  • I have a health condition that makes me exempt from wearing a face mask. My employer is insisting that I wear one when I am in the office and has said that if I don’t, they will have to offer me an alternative job. Can they do this?
  • How do I start a Tribunal claim? What are the time limits? What is ACAS Early Conciliation?
  • Whistleblowing – what sorts of statements are protected? What is the right way to go about making a protected disclosure? Can I go to the press?

Talk to SWU recording from 31 March 2021

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Questions based on enquiries we received in early 2021 and covered during this session:

  • What is the difference between direct vs indirect discrimination?
  • What are the issues surrounding discrimination based on religious & philosophical beliefs?
  • My employer wants to make changes to my contract of employment – what are the legal protections?
  • Can my employer require me to be vaccinated against CV19? And: can my employer require me to work with someone who hasn’t been! Or won’t wear a mask?

Talk to SWU recording from 17 December 2020

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Questions based on enquiries SWU has received that we discuss during the session:

  • “My employer has asked me to come to an investigation meeting, what should I do?”
  • “I’m returning to work after a period of sickness, and my employer isn’t being supportive”
  • “My employer has told me that we are going to have to change job role which may involve a change of location, what are my rights?”
  • “I feel like my manager is treating me differently to my colleagues – what should I do?”
  • “I’ve been told my job is up for TUPE. What does this mean?”