Coronavirus (COVID-19) HR frequently asked questions

Last updated: Friday 3 April 2020

We will keep these under review and update you if any arrangements change as the national situation and advice evolves.

1. What should I do if I develop COVID-19 symptoms?

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should notify your line manager. Follow Public Health England’s COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection. This guidance includes information on symptoms.

2. UPDATED – What will I be paid if I’m following stay at home guidance?

  • If you’re fit to work and able to undertake home working, you can work from home with your manager’s agreement.
  • If you’re fit to work, but your job role is not appropriate for home working and your manager cannot provide work for you to do at home, you will be covered by special paid leave for a period of up to 14 days on full pay.
  • If you’re not fit to work, you will be placed on full pay sick pay. Your manager should now record this absence on ESR with a Covid-19 related code. This type of absence won’t impact on full/half pay entitlements and nor will it be counted towards absence triggers.

3. Do I need a Fit Note?

Fit Notes are not required to cover periods of medical suspension; however, staff will have to complete a self-certification form on return to work. If you are off sick, however, you should provide a self-certificate and we will be relaxing our normal rules around the requirement to provide Fit Notes – a Fit Note will not be required.

4. UPDATED – How will COVID-19 related absence be recorded and paid?

Your absence will be recorded as Coronavirus-related sickness and you will receive full sick pay. Any COVID-19 related absence will:

  • be on full sick pay regardless of service length and entitlement to full occupational sick pay
  • not be counted towards attendance/absence policy triggers.

Your manager should record your absence in the normal way on ESR, making sure it’s coded as Covid-19 related.

5. What if I am a locum or work on the bank?

Most locum and bank staff are not employees of the CCG and therefore not normally entitled to contractual pay or occupational sick pay. However, due to the exceptional circumstances, where you have had shifts pre-booked and you’re no longer able to complete those shifts because you are required to follow stay at home guidance, then we have agreed to pay for those shifts.

6. What if I work for an agency?

For CCG workers who are independent contractors or employed via a third-party, including agencies, for a period of more than four weeks, the principles of Q5 (above) will apply.

7. What happens if I need time off work to look after someone else?

If working from home is not possible in the circumstances, in line with our Special Leave Policy you are entitled to request Carers Leave supported by your annual leave and additional unpaid leave if required. This would apply to situations such as if you have children and you need to look after or arrange childcare for them because their school has closed.

8. What if I become unwell at work?

If you become unwell at work and have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, regardless of how mild they may be, you should:

  • go home immediately and inform your line manager by phone
  • ensure you remain at least two metres (seven feet) away from other people
  • avoid touching anything, including door handles
  • cough or sneeze into a tissue and immediately put it in a bin. If there is no tissue available, then cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow.

9. What can I do to help minimise potential exposure and spread of infection?

One of the ways we become infected, or pass on viruses to others, is through the droplets in coughs and sneezes – for instance through someone who has a virus, coughing onto their hand and then touching a door handle.

  • A simple and effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is by making sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and water (for 20 seconds or two rounds of Happy Birthday). Use a hand sanitiser if you are out and about. It’s particularly important to wash your hands once you get home or arrive at work or before you prepare or eat food
  • If you are unwell it’s vital that you catch your coughs and sneezes in a tissue, or use your arm if needed, throw the tissues away, then wash your hands. Remember to ‘Catch it – bin it – kill it’
  • Try to avoid touching your face.

10. If I have a member of staff who appears to have symptoms of COVID-19, what should I do?

Do not have close contact with the individual. Ask the member of staff to:

  • stay at least 2 metres away from other people
  • go home and follow stay at home guidance.

11. How will we use staff to support services?

We are likely to have to ask staff to be more flexible about their work, perhaps covering for colleagues, helping out in new areas. We will need to train some support staff to help out in more patient facing roles, if we have significant staff shortages.

12. How will I be kept safe if I’m doing something new?

We will train staff. We will not require anyone to do anything they wouldn’t be able to do or would represent a risk to them or patients. Clinical staff who need ‘refresher’ training and personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided with it.

If you have any further questions, please speak to Jeneva Allison our HR Business Partner, who can provide further help and support.

13. What if I have a concern about COVID-19 related practices that need to be addressed?

Our aim is to do everything we can to support the people of west Essex, the wider system and the worldwide efforts to combat COVID-19. We will do everything possible to keep our staff safe and supported. However, if you think there is something we’re not quite getting right or you’re concerned about (as with any work related concern) we encourage you to raise it immediately. In the first instance, please raise it with your line manager if possible.

You can find the Confidential Reporting (Whistleblowing) Policy on AskHUE. It provides more details, such as the advice and support available to you.

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