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Coronavirus information for employees

Important information for employees as we continue to deliver essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.


Workforce survey

Since March this year we have faced an unprecedented situation globally, nationally and locally and the huge challenges of the coronavirus outbreak have touched us all.

In Derbyshire, all of our colleagues, and the public sector as a whole, are continuing to work incredibly hard to ensure we respond to this situation in the best way possible and we thank everyone for the flexibility and resilience shown in supporting this challenge.

As we start to move towards our recovery phase we want to better understand how you’re feeling, how you’ve been working, how supported you’ve felt and what the future may look like.

To help us to do this, we've launched an employee survey on our response to the pandemic.

It is important that everyone completes the survey as we have a diverse workforce working in different roles and as individuals we may have felt and experienced the pandemic differently.

The survey results will be used to find out what’s most important to our workforce. We can then explore key themes and develop an approach for discussion in the coming months. All responses will be summarised and only shared anonymously.

Your views will help us to develop our future workforce approaches as we continue to respond to and evolve with the situation.

All responses will be summarised and only shared anonymously.

If you have any queries about the survey please email hr.consultations@derbyshire.gov.uk.

Self-isolation

Please make sure you are following the latest advice on self-isolation.

Working from home

We support the government advice on people working from home where they are able to do so.

If your role enables you to work from home then please talk to your line manager about doing so and they'll make the decision based on business need.

If you're temporarily working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, please see the working from home guidance.

Skype can be used to help you continue with meetings and keep in touch with colleagues while working from home. There are a number of Skype user guides available to help you.

Staff who cannot work from home

Many of our colleagues who are key workers and cannot work from home will be in their normal workplaces and many more will be doing their jobs at home. This guidance applies only to those people whose manager has sent them home and has stated that you cannot perform your role at the moment.

If this applies to you:

  • please make sure your line manager has either your personal email address or phone number so they can contact you during normal working hours - these details will be retained on your personal file
  • keep in touch weekly with your line manager - either by email or telephone
  • you're expected to be continually available for work during your normal working hours and may be contacted to attend work at different times or undertake alternative duties at short notice - if you're asked to start your duties or alternative duties, you'll receive normal contractual pay regardless of the duties undertaken up to your normal contracted hours
  • if your contact details or next of kin details change then tell your line manager
  • keep looking at our guidance and government advice on gov.uk and NHS.uk
  • if you're not well during this period then tell your line manager - please make sure that you do look after yourself – there's lots of information to help you elsewhere on our wellbeing pages

Undertaking childcare responsibilities

We know that the government decision to close school will provide a challenge for many employees. Line managers will work with employees to consider flexible working arrangements, including working from home, adapting working patterns to care for children or dependants or taking time off to enable further support. Please speak with your line manager to discuss this further.

Interim changes to the flexi time scheme

To enable colleagues to respond by working more flexibly, there'll be changes to our flexi time scheme which will remain in place until we deem it necessary to cease or alter such arrangements as the situation evolves.

This change is to allow us to continue to deliver and support its priority services and to enable colleagues to balance personal and work commitments during this challenging time.

The following will apply from Friday 20 March 2020:

  • the flexi bandwidth will apply from Monday to Sunday from 6am to 10pm
  • enhancements will not be paid for hours worked between 6am and 7am and for hours worked between 7pm and 10pm
  • records should be maintained manually using the flexi sheet recording form attached to this page, which allows you to enter hours within the new bandwidth. If you need any support in completing the timesheet please speak to your manager
  • your current flexi carry forward, whether this be a debit or credit, should be added onto the manual recording form in the 'Debit B/F' and 'Credit B/F' section
  • you should complete this from the start date of your current flexi period, therefore any days up to now in your current period should be entered into the manual recording form retrospectively even though these may have already been entered onto Workplace

There's no expectation that colleagues should work beyond contracted hours unless there is a specific need and this is agreed in advance with your line manager.

Further advice on these interim changes can be found in the frequently asked questions attached to this page.

Protective shielding

Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 has now been published.

If any of these apply to you then you are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and are not be expected to work from a base location. Please speak with your line manager to discuss this further.

Social distancing

Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK has been published and this applies to everyone, including children.

This also advises that employees who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. If any of these apply to you then please discuss and agree alternative ways of working with your line manager.

Stop unnecessary travel

Consider very carefully whether you need to carry out face to face meetings that require you to travel across the county and beyond. Where possible conduct those meetings by Skype or telephone to avoid direct contact.

Your wellbeing

As staff working during this COVID-19 period we recognise that alongside supporting those around you, you will also have your own emotional wellbeing needs. There is tailored and expert help and support there for you at this time.

Visit our wellbeing pages for information support for both your mental health and physical health.

Joined up Care Derbyshire has lots of self-help resources for staff such as self-help for managing anxiety, sleep and dealing with loss. There's also a section with support for managers and leaders at this time.

If you feel that you need to speak to someone about how you're feeling then there are lots of options available ranging from telephone helplines to email support.

To speak to one of our mental health first aiders email covidwellbeing.support@derbyshire.gov.uk or tel: 01629 536969.

You could also consider contacting the Derbyshire mental health support line. This is for Derbyshire people of all ages who are experiencing increased mental health needs during this period. Tel: 0300 790 0596 between 9am and midnight every day of the week.

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with your mental health then the Samaritans are on hand to speak to you at any time day or night. Tel: 116 123 for free or email jo@samaritans.org

First aiders

We've published guidance for first aiders who may be required to undertake CPR during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Cleaning workplaces

Colleagues from public health, property services, and health, safety and wellbeing have developed a preventative cleaning schedule. The schedule will focus on cleaning potential high risk transmission points with greater frequency and this will mean that lower risk transmission points will not be cleaned as regularly. This preventative cleaning schedules are now in place where County Property employees undertake cleaning. These cleaning schedules are under regular review. If you're aware of high touch areas within your workplace which aren't being cleaned please raise this with your line manager so they can discuss this directly with Property Division cleaning supervisors.

At County Hall, soap dispensers and paper towels are being checked throughout the day and refilled as necessary. If in your work location you are aware of soap, towels (if provided) are running out, or hand driers are not working you should raise this with your manager in the first instance so suitable arrangements can be made.

Due to the enhanced cleaning schedules being undertaken it is not possible to repeatedly clean desks and equipment in hot desk areas between uses by different staff throughout the day. Staff should therefore ensure they follow the good hygiene advice and ensure they wash hands regularly (as a minimum before and after using these areas and before eating) and avoid touching their faces. If staff wish to they can carry and utilise their own wipes to wipe down the desk and equipment before use.

If you're in a building which isn't cleaned by County Property employees, you should ensure whoever undertakes your cleaning is focussing on cleaning high risk transmission points on a regular basis (at least daily). You'll need to ensure you identify these with whoever carries out the cleaning so they are relevant to your establishment. This should include, but is not limited to, hard surfaces shared by a number of people, door handles and push plates, locks, keypad entry systems, other regular touch areas such as light switches and lift buttons, handrails, toilet flushes, taps and soap dispensers. You should also ensure all soap dispensers are filled daily.

Bins should continue to be emptied daily.

Updated cleaning guidance has been developed for children’s residential care settings

Cleaning agents, if they have germicidal properties, should be effective for undertaking cleaning, but if you're unsure you should check the manufacturer information. You should ensure you're using all cleaning products safely and in accordance with departmental COSHH guidance. If you need any further guidance, please speak to a colleague from our health and safety team.

There have been a number of questions regarding cleaning workplaces where an employee who has been in work is now showing symptoms of COVID-19. The government are providing up to date guidance on this issue which should be followed.

Training courses

All non-essential training courses (anything that is not safety critical), learning conferences and other learning events organised by us will be cancelled until further notice.

We'll review how we may continue to deliver learning without compromising the health, safety and wellbeing of attendees, for example by converting courses to e-learning and Skype sessions where appropriate.

Visiting individuals in their homes

Social, community and residential care employees should ascertain if a person is in self-isolation and if they are asymptomatic or symptomatic prior to their visit.

If the client is self -isolating and a visit is deemed necessary, then a full risk assessment should be undertaken with managers and infection control specialist to decide the best course of action.

In cases where clients are symptomatic and employees are concerned for their own health because they have underlying health conditions (as per government definition), social distancing should apply. We're asking for employees to discuss concerns with line managers in these cases.

If during a telephone consultation with a patient or their representative to assess their suitability for a domiciliary visit, it's thought that COVID-19 is possible (based on the PHE criteria for a possible case), then a face-to-face assessment must be avoided. Please speak with your line manager in this instance.