A joint statement from FoHMuseums, Fair Museum Jobs and Museum Wellness
We urge museums and their associated organisations to give their unanimous support to the entire museum workforce at this critical time to ensure the long-term health and security of those working in museums.
We encourage museums to give their full support to their workers to ensure their risk to exposure is limited and the effects associated with actions to minimise the spread of Covid-19 are not contributing to the increased vulnerability of their livelihoods.
Not all museum workers are able to work from home, including those working in front facing roles this includes roles associated with keeping museums open to the public such as operations who are more important than ever to minimising the risk of contamination and maintaining the cleanliness of museums. FoH are exposed to the public and are less likely to be able to “work from home” especially for extended periods of time. This means they are acutely vulnerable if museums close as part of the effort to contain and prevent the spreading of Covid-19. This is therefore an important time for museums to show their support for their FoH team and ensure that actions to minimise the spreading of Covid-19 do not contribute to their economic vulnerability, including those on casual, zero-hour contracts and short term contracts.
Museums are choosing to give special leave from day one, we support this action, as a demonstration of a museums support for their workers. We encourage all museums to make the decision to support their workforce by ensuring no time away as a result of the impact of Covid-19 is unpaid.
Museums at this important time must support and prioritise their staff’s mental health at this time. It is important to understand that people are suffering from heightened anxiety and worry that may be damaging their mental health. Museums should be working to be flexible and understanding towards all staff in requests made to manage wellbeing and mental health, including flexible working arrangements, listening to worries and suggestions from FoH staff, and confirming support for employees on low-hour or zero-hour contracts in the event of building closure.
We echo these statements in relation to the long term impact of this pandemic, and call for museums to give their full support to their workers over the coming months as we realise the true extent of the impact of Covid-19 has on the museum sector. We applaud the call for the utilisation of the £120 million fund outlined for the “Festival of Britain” as an emergency fund to support museums at risk of permanent closure as result of the impact of Covid-19.
The museum sector faces an unprecedented pandemic, together we are strongest.