Improve your working life

Most people join a union because they want protection at work - help with pay and conditions of service, legal or health and safety advice or representation in case things go wrong at work. That’s what we’re here for.

UNISON negotiates on pay and working conditions at every level - local, regional and national. However being a UNISON member also gives you a wide range of benefits and unbeatable deals.

How to join

There are three main ways to join UNISON.

Option 1: Join online now (to pay by direct debit only)
Option 2: Print a DOCAS Form PDF logoand send to the branch (to pay via your salary)
Option 3: Print a Direct Debit Form PDF logo(to pay via direct debit)

Membership benefits

Legal Services

UNISON provides the broadest range of legal help to union members in the UK. We offer advice and assistance not just with work issues, but for you and your family outside the workplace too. Listed below are just a few of the services we offer.

Injury and accidents at work

UNISON has won more than £350 million in compensation for members involved in work-related personal injuries. This includes assaults, industrial diseases and accidents at work, on the way to or from work or on union business. Contact UNISONdirect on 0845 355 0845 for more details.

Accidents outside work

UNISON's personal injury service covers any accident which happens to you and your family outside the workplace, including:
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents in the street
  • Accidents while on holiday
  • Disease cases
  • Slipping and tripping accidents.

Free initial legal advice

UNISON members can get free initial legal advice on any matter not related to work from UNISON's solicitors. This service entitles you to receive a 30-minute telephone interview. The service does not apply to advice on a legal action that you are already pursuing or cover Inheritance Tax issues. Members are not entitled to return for advice on the same issue under this scheme. Phone UNISONdirect on 0845 355 0845 for more details.

Work tenancy problems | Wills and conveyancing | Criminal cases | Immigration

Rule Book Benefits

Under the Rule book UNISON members are entitles to certain benefits.

Death Benefit
1.  Membership for at least a year prior to death;
2.  No arrears of contribution.

As from 1st July 1993 the death benefit per years membership shall be:
Over 1 yr & less than 5:  £72
Over 5yrs & less than 10:  £118
Over 10yrs & less than 15:  £158
Over 15yrs & less than 20:  £198
Over 20yrs & less than 25:  £244
Over 25yrs & less than 30:  £282
Over 30yrs:  £346.

1.  The death must occur whilst the member is in membership;
2.  The death benefit must be claimed within 12 months of the death by the personal representative of the deceased;
3.  The benefit will be paid to the partner of the deceased;  if no surviving partner, to any child or children of the deceased in equal shares; if none, to the estate of the deceased;

Ex members of NUPE who retire after 1 July 1993 and hold five years service will have their entitlement to death benefit protected providing they maintain retired member status.

Fatal Accident Benefit
1.  Membership for at least a year prior to suffering the accident on which the claim is based.

£1,925 after one year's continuous membership, £2875 after ten years' continuous membership, to be paid to the member's partner or children.

1.  The fatal accident must happen in the course of the member's employment, or whilst travelling to or from work or upon union business;
2.  The member must be survived by a partner, or by at least one child;
3.  Only one sum shall be paid: if more than one person is entitled under the rule, the sum shall be paid to the surviving partner; or if there is no surviving partner, to the child or children of the deceased in equal shares.

Accident Benefit
1.  Membership for at least 13 weeks prior to suffering the accident on which the claim is based.

£2.90 per day, £14.50 per week maximum during the whole of the period in which the member is unable to work by reason of the accident up to a maximum of 30 days or £87.00 in any calendar year.

The accident must happen in the course of the member's employment, or whilst travelling to or from work or upon union business.

Total Incapacity Benefit
1.  Membership for at least 13 weeks prior to suffering the total incapacity.
2.  Total incapacity is the condition created where a member, as a result of an injury or illness caused by her/his work or as a result of an accident whilst travelling to or from work, loses the sight of both eyes or the use of two or more limbs, or suffers a similar serious disablement.


Partial Incapacity Benefit
1.  membership for at least 13 weeks prior to suffering the partial incapacity.
2.  Partial incapacity is the condition created where a member, as a result of an injury or illness caused by her/his work or as a result of an accident whilst travelling to or from work, loses the sight of one eye or the use of a limb, or suffers a similar serious disablement.


Education and Training Grants
1.  Membership for at least 13 weeks prior to the member applying for the grant concerned.
2.  No arrears of subscription.

1.  To be considered for a grant by the National Executive Council itself, or by a sub-committee or other body of the union appointed for the purpose by the National Executive Council.
2.  To receive any grant that the National Executive Council or the appointed body considers in its absolute discretion it is appropriate to award.

1.  The member continues to pay all membership subscriptions required from her/him by these rules throughout the time that she/he is in education or training supported by the grant, unless the national executive Council dispenses with this requirement in her or his case.

2.  The grant is for a course of study or training which the National Executive Council reasonably considers may have some relevance to trade unionism and be of benefit to the member and the union.
UNISON Welfare

UNISON Welfare is our registered charity.
We are aware of the pressures UNISON members face on a daily basis. We can provide support at times of unforeseen financial hardship or personal difficulty such as redundancy, bereavement, illness or relationship breakdown.

Support, advice and assistance
Support is offered through our team of experienced casework staff at national office and network of branch welfare officers. They are there to listen and help.
Confidential advice is available on a range of issues. This includes sorting out a member's finances, advice on benefits, or putting them in touch with another organisation who can help.

Financial assistance is available to members and their dependants who meet our criteria and charitable objectives. There is no guarantee that applicants will be offered financial help, although each year over 1,000 members and their families benefit in this way.

Help can be given in a variety of ways in direct response to the applicant's individual circumstances. This could be to help with household bills, ease debts or a much needed break. We can often help with the extra costs of coping with a disability or caring for a family member with special needs. These are just a few examples of circumstances where we can help.

The advice and information we provide on a wide range of issues is an important part of the service. We always ensure that beneficiaries are claiming their full entitlement to state benefits. We can also put them in touch with other organisations that can help such as a money advice agency. Where possible we collaborate with other grant making charities to maximise the financial assistance available.

We are committed to improving and developing our services so that we can continue to respond to the changing needs of members and their families.

How to apply for financial assistance
If you, or a colleague you know, is in need and you think we might be able to help, please contact your branch welfare officer or branch secretary in the first instance. They will help you to complete an application for assistance form.

If you are experiencing difficulty in getting hold of your branch welfare officer or branch you can contact us directly for an application form at national office on 0845 355 0845.

Your application will be reviewed by a caseworker and a decision recommended. This process will normally take a few weeks but in exceptional cases we can reach a decision more quickly.

Problems facing members
UNISON Welfare helps to address a wide range of problems faced by members and dependants.  These include illness, injury, relationship breakdown, bereavement and loss of income. Whilst on their own any of these experiences can be devastating, life is rarely so simple. The majority of those seeking our support have multiple and complex needs. Their difficulties are nearly always accompanied by financial problems and there can be little doubt that low pay and fuel and water poverty contribute to their hardship.

Stress, depression and anxiety are the second most commonly reported group of conditions affecting people in the workplace, and in 1999 we recorded an increase in instances of work-related stress.

Sadly, of the thousands of requests for help we receive each year there is often the common thread of domestic violence.

UNISON Welfare is helping to complement UNISON campaigns on all these issues by providing practical support to members and through our work with other organisations.

Welfare services
Approximately 90 per cent of branches responding to our 1999 questionnaire on the development of convalescence and other services gave a thumbs up to the proposals.

The key elements are the introduction of a more flexible convalescence service integrated with financial assistance in the form of grants.

Members can now recuperate anywhere in the UK using a wide range of accommodation. UNISON Welfare no longer provides convalescent facilities itself. The service as a whole can respond to more members in need, principally:

  • Carers needing respite breaks
  • Those with special care needs eg because of a disability or medical condition
  • Those needing to recuperate at home
  • Families needing breaks
  • Members undergoing rehabilitative treatment

Whilst inevitably breaking down the distinction between grant aid and convalescence, the new approach enables us to take a more holistic approach to supporting members and their families.

Because of these changes the proportion of working members benefiting from convalescence or a break has steadily increased.

The survey has helped to inform many other aspects of our work and our plans for the future. These include more promotion of our services and a look at ways to improve their delivery.

One of the most consistent views expressed was that stressing the value and contribution of branch welfare officers.
Insurance, Finance and Holidays

UNISON have negotiated a number of exclusive low cost insurance and financial offers for members and their families. See UNISON Plus deals

UNISON Plus - Special Deals for Members

In addition to the membership benefits outlined above, being a UNISON member gives you the chance to take advantage of a range of special deals, discounts and exclusive benefits.

See UNISON Plus deals page