Contact tracing is important to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and contain and stop further outbreaks. It is a tried and tested method for Public Health to control the spread of many infectious diseases.
It works by identifying contacts of people who have tested positive and by encouraging them to self-isolate and closely monitor their health, rather than continuing to mix with others and passing the virus on
It is important that managers understand what they need to do if any employee has symptoms of Covid-19, has a positive text result or is contacted by the NHS Test and Trace programme.
Information about this, including links to a series of checklists for managers can now be found on the Covid-19 symptoms and testing – what you need to know section. Please refer to this.
Support for shielding
The council has been reviewing its guidance and support for employees who are:
clinically extremely vulnerable and required to shield)
clinically vulnerable (including BAME and other groups)
living with people who are extremely vulnerable (shielding).
Clinically extremely vulnerable employees can return to work if they cannot work from home as long as the workplace is Covid-19 safe and social distancing is maintained. However, the advice is to stay at home where possible.
Clinically vulnerable employees who cannot do their job from home must work in a Covid-19 secure workplace and maintain social distancing. An individual Health Risk Assessment must be carried out and the manager must discuss any concerns with the employee.
You can now review working arrangements with employees who live with someone who is extremely vulnerable (shielding) with the possibility of returning to work or being redeployed but only in a Covid-19 secure workplace and with social distancing being maintained.
A full support package will be available for employees returning to the workplace incluing a risk assessment, written plan, and PPE.
In all cases managers must put the employee’s safety at the heart of any arrangements and reassure them of this. They should support the new arrangements by:
- speaking to all employees in these groups now
- listening to their issues and concerns
- ensuring that all concerns are addressed
- discussing working arrangements in detail
- keeping in touch with your HR Adviser.
More information will be added to this page or contact your HR Adviser for more details or if you have any questions.
To support the requirement for the council to demonstrate Covid-Secure workplaces, a Buildings COVID-19 risk assessment is required for each occupied corporate building.
Duty Holders, with the support from nominated Principal Occupiers and Building Managers are required to complete a Buildings COVID-19 risk assessment for buildings which they have nominated responsibility. The Building Duty Holder List shows who is responsible for each building.
A separate Buildings COVID-19 risk assessment process has been developed as well as a specific Buildings Covid-19 risk assessment template which should be used.
A number of groups of people have been identified as vulnerable during the current pandemic, particularly when working in front line roles. These groups are:
Clinically extremely vulnerable - Individuals identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable (those with serious underlying health conditions),
Clinically vulnerable - individuals who are at higher risk (people with some pre-existing conditions, aged 70 (regardless of medical condition) or pregnant)
BAME employees - Emerging UK and international data suggests that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are also being disproportionately affected by Covid-19
Managers of frontline staff who are in these categories must carry out health risk assessments for them and ensure appropriate measures or arrangements are in place to ensure they can work safely.
Guidance and FAQs for managers on carrying out these assessments and an assessment form are now available.
If, after completing the assessment, managers feel an employee’s duties can’t be adjusted or the standard hierarchy of Covid-19 risk management cannot be followed, they should submit the assessment to Occupational Health using the fast track referral Covid-19 specific management referral form.
It is important for their well being and family life that all employees are taking annual leave so that they get a break, maintain their physical health and improve their well being. In most situations, employees should be taking their leave in the current leave year.
We know that, during the Coronavirus outbreak, it may not be possible for some employees to take all their holiday entitlement because:
- key workers have been required to work
- holiday has been cancelled so employees have cancelled their leave
- employees could not take leave due to sickness or self-isolation
- employees are at home (working or non-working) due to medical conditions.
The current lockdown conditions have also created uncertainty and have restricted access to leisure, travel, visiting family and friends and the other things people may have usually taken leave for.
When the lockdown measures were introduced it was at the end of our leave year, so most staff should have low numbers of days to carry over. The exception to this will be for staff who had booked one or two weeks leave for travel but have not taken this.
The carry-over of substantial amounts of leave will have an impact on service delivery as it could mean larger numbers of staff being off at any one time. This will create additional pressures on all teams if we allow this to happen. Recognising this situation, and in order to start to manage future annual leave now, revised arrangements have been put in place for taking and booking annual leave.
It has been agreed that for the 2020/21 leave year up to 10 days can be carried over without the need for approval. Staff must let their manager know if they have done this so the leave can be recorded on Oracle.
If employees wish to carry over more than 10 days leave (up to a maximum of 20 days) they must make a case for this, including valid reasons why the leave cannot be taken. The request must be signed off by a Director. Any leave not taken in excess of this would be lost. The leave can be taken over two years with a maximum of 10 days being automatically carried over into the 2021/2022 leave year without approval.
There are separate arrangements for employees on maternity leave which are unchanged by this Covid-19 guidance.
For 2020/21 and 2021/22 the annual leave carry-over rules will be relaxed so that it will not need to be taken by June of each year. It really must be taken though, and employees will need to put together a leave plan to make sure that this happens.
Employees who are at home (either working or not working) as they are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group / clinically vulnerable group approved by risk assessment, will be expected to take annual leave throughout the period as normal. The same carry-over leave rules will apply.
There will be no payment for untaken leave; schemes for buying back annual leave are not in place.
For more information, please see the annual leave guidance and FAQs.
The Government have introduced a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border. This has been designed to keep the number of transmissions of the virus within the UK as low as possible
The Government has advised against all non-essential travel outside the UK. Some countries are exempt from this advice – you can see the latest list here. Other countries may also restrict travel without notice.
Employees who are travelling abroad should be aware that quarantine arrangements may be in place when they reach their destination and when they return to the UK. All LBBD employees will be subject to these arrangements – there are no key worker exemptions.
Due to the current uncertainties around international travel staff need to be aware before they book travel abroad that any quarantine periods or delays in getting back out of the country you have travelled to, would need to be covered by annual leave or unpaid leave where working from home is not possible.
They should also discuss any international travel plans in advance with their line manager.
Managers are asked to discuss with their HR adviser if they need any further clarification.
Information on travel corridors and self-isolation guidance can be found here.
Part-time employees receive their pro-rata bank holiday entitlement within their combined leave entitlement.
If they only work certain days each week (for example Monday and Tuesday) and a bank holiday falls on one of those days, they have to apply to take this as leave via Oracle HR Self Service. The hours that would have been worked will then be deducted from their combined leave entitlement. This still applies if the employee is required to self-isolate or are social distancing.
All staff who are off sick, or self-isolating but working, should be recorded on Oracle from day one. When a staff member starts working again you must close the absence record down on Oracle immediately.
If staff are self-isolating, use the drop-down menu on Oracle that includes both self-isolation (working) self-isolation (not working) and social distancing.
If an employee is self-isolating but able to work from home, they should do so.
If they are self-isolating and then become sick, they must tell you and you must update their Oracle record turning it from isolating to sick immediately.
Please use this table to check the action you should take for different employee situations relating to the coronavirus pandemic and how these should be reported.
Employees will not be expected to visit their GP for a certificate to confirm coronavirus-related sickness but can complete a certificate on NHS 111 online.
If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in the business or workplace they should be sent home and advised to follow the guidance on sickness absence.
If they need clinical advice, they should go online to NHS 111 or call 111 if they don’t have internet access. In an emergency, they should call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. They should not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.