COVID-19: Staff Information Hub
FAQs: Staff Guidance
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
It is particularly important for people who:
- are 70 or over
- have a long-term condition
- are pregnant
- have a weakened immune system
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
- only travel on public transport if you need to
- work from home, if you can
- avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
- avoid events with large groups of people
- use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Stay at home if you have either:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
How long to stay at home?
- if you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to stay at home for 7 days
- if you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person in the home started having symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
If you are need to self-isolate in line with this advice, please contact you manager as per your normal absence reporting procedures.
This period will be treated as a ‘sick period’.
We recognise that staff may not be able to obtain a GP fit note for a sickness period over 7 days and so will be flexible in our approach to how this is managed.
The following will be classed as ‘sickness’:
- An individual who is symptomatic for Covid-19 (or any other illness).
- An individual who, in following national guidance has to self-isolate and is unable to work from home in some capacity (which might include altered duties).
In these situations:
- All staff, irrespective of length of service, will receive a sick pay allocation of a minimum of 14 days pro rata at full pay (inclusive of SSP where applicable).
- Sick pay entitlement will not include absence taken in the previous 12 months but rather ‘start again’ as if there has been no previous sickness absence in this period.
- Following this initial period, we will revert to the sick pay allowance within the standard terms and conditions noting the following:
- if an individual is ill for an extended period and unable to work, we will look at this on a case by case basis;
- if an individual has to self-isolate for an extended period, in line with national guidance, our preference would be that we facilitate working from home in some capacity. However, where this is not possible, we will pay sick pay for up to 12 weeks (inclusive of SSP where applicable). In this instance we will ask that staff do allocate the annual leave accrued during this period to this ‘leave’ period.
- We will work outside of our standard sickness management process during this time i.e. we will not undertake stage 1 sickness reviews etc. However, we will still ‘check in’ with staff including those returning after a period of absence.
Wherever possible we will ask staff to work remotely. However, if this is not possible due to the nature of the role you may be asked to attend a different BrisDoc site if possible.
Where this is not available or staff are asked to remain away from all sites, then staff will receive their normal contracted rates of pay.
The reality is that, for many of us, we will need to be at home to care for dependents, while also being needed in our services to care for patients in a variety of ways. We would ask you to work with your line manager and colleagues to balance these conflicting demands. This might include:
- remote working where feasible
- changes in working pattern, so for example working evenings instead of days, this could mean working in alternate services
- sharing caring responsibilities wherever possible to allow periods of work even where ‘normal’ hours are not met
- using a proportion of annual leave during this time (and certainly that accrued during this period) – this would need to be recorded as annual leave.
The government has indicated that educational establishments will stay open to care for the children of ‘key personnel’. There is currently not a definition of ‘key personnel’ however we would assume that staff within the NHS would fall within this category.
At present, our policy allows for staff to be paid for up to 5 days pro rata within a rolling 12 months. As with sick pay we will not include the previous 12 months usage within our allocation of paid carers leave.
At this time there is no national guidance related to reimbursing carers for long term absence and we are seeking further clarity on this. That said we are hoping that, in working together, we are able to find a path that allows individuals to continue to work, all be it with potential adjustments, while reducing the financial implications for individuals.
The national advice published on 16th March 2020 indicates that there are individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19).
This group includes those who are:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant
As of 16th March 2020 the advice for those individuals at higher risk are strongly advised to ‘socially distance’ which includes the following steps:
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
- Work from home, where possible.
- Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
- Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
To support our staff to follow this advice line managers are undertaking risk assessments with their staff members and actioning appropriate social distancing measures. Where needed, there will be oversight of these assessments by a clinical lead.
If you believe that you are at ‘higher risk’ and are concerned that socially distancing measures have not been discussed / actioned please contact your line manager or the workforce team via email@example.com
There are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:
- people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
- people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
- people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
It is anticipated that from 23rd March 2020, individuals within this group will receive additional direct communication from the NHS with advice on more stringent measures that should be taken in order to keep themselves and others safe. We will support our staff in following this advice.
We will listen to any concerns staff may have and if there are genuine concerns, we will try to resolve them to protect the health and safety of our staff. However, if an employee refuses to attend work, and after consideration of circumstances appears to be without valid reason, such a stance cannot be supported and could result in disciplinary action.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide – please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus#foreign–commonwealth-office-fcotravel-advice
If you have annual leave booked that, due to altered travel plans etc, you no longer wish to take then please, cancel your annual leave via your line manager.
It is important that we all rest and look after our own well-being at this time, part of this might be choosing to take some annual leave during this period. However, as the situation becomes more serious we may get to a point where we need to ask staff to cancel annual leave.
Yes! We are anticipating that over the next 10 to 12 weeks there will be an increased need for staff. If you are in a position to work additional hours either within your current service or, an alternate service please contact the rota team via firstname.lastname@example.org
For this period, we do not wish to restrict individuals working time. However, we would ask that all staff have at least 1 rest day per week and, we would not wish any staff member to work over 12 hours per shift (taking the appropriate breaks).
If you have any concerns over individual staff working hours during this time please do discuss these with the workforce team.
Please ask them to contact the workforce team via email@example.com using the subject line ‘new resource’. Please could they send a CV in the first instance with an indication as to their potential availability i.e. daytime, evenings, weekends and explaining their relationship to our staff member.
Dependant on service need and fit, the workforce team will follow a streamlined recruitment process to allow these individuals to join us on a casual worker basis. As part of this streamlined process we will ask the BrisDoc employee to provide a personal reference for these individuals.
The coming months will be challenging for us all. During this time we need to be kind to each other and support each other. This includes those physically in work and those who have needed to self isolate or have become unwell.
We will be looking at how we help facilitate this but, if, in the mean time, you have any suggestions please do come to us in the workforce team.
Mind have some excellent advice and support on how we can help support our mental health at this time – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing