Women working in local government have warned the emotional, physical and financial impact of the pandemic is taking its toll, a new survey has revealed.
The survey of nearly 47,000 women in key worker positions by UNISON - including council workers - said they are losing sleep, feeling stressed and sending more on household bills due to COVID-19.
Of those surveyed, nearly two thirds (65%) are not sleeping well, 57% are feeling stressed most of the time and 61% are worried about the mental health of their children.
Nearly half of those surveyed earn £18,000 a year of less, with a third having an annual salary of £15,000 or less. However, the pandemic has forced 45% of the women to increase their spending on food, energy, technology, transport and housing.
UNISON general secretary, Christina McAnea, said: ‘Public services would have come to a standstill without the vital jobs done by women in our schools, hospitals, police forces and local councils.
’But employees are exhausted. They’re worn out from meeting work demands during COVID while caring for relatives, looking after children and dealing with debt. Those on low wages are the ones shouldering these burdens most of all.
’All women deserve better and this country’s economic recovery depends on them. But their mental and physical health is at stake.’
UNISON is calling on the Government to make sure childcare is affordable, maintain the £20 increase to Universal Credit and ensure employers offer more flexible working.