Full and detailed HR advice for managers about the workforce related implications of the COVID-19 pandemic can be found attached to this page. You'll need to sign in to the secure area to access this information.
The policy elements outlined are applicable to all employees within the council, excluding those directly employed by a school. These will be effective from Friday 20 March 2020 and will remain in place until we deem it necessary to cease or alter such arrangements as the situation evolves.
Staying at home protocol
We now have guidance about what managers must do when an employee is sent home and is not able to undertake their duties, or can only undertake partial duties.
Please stay in touch with those you manage to make sure that they are supported from a health and wellbeing perspective.
What we expect from our line managers
Line managers must record any employee who is sent home and is not able to undertake their duties or can only undertake partial duties on the ‘employees sent home’ template, attached to this page. The line manager must send their completed file to their respective head of service.
Line managers are expected to obtain a personal email address and / or telephone number for which the employee can be contacted on during normal working hours. These details will be retained on the employee's personal file.
Line managers should ensure the employee knows how to contact their line manager, providing them with an up to date email address and telephone number.
Line managers are expected to remain in weekly contact at an agreed time with the employee – either by email or telephone.
Line managers should ensure that they reinforce that employees are expected to be continually available for work during their normal working hours for the period and may be contacted to attend work at different times or undertake alternative duties at short notice, being flexible to assist in the delivery of our priority services. If you ask an employee to recommence their duties or alternative duties, they will receive normal contractual pay regardless of the duties undertaken up to their normal contracted hours. Managers should refer to HR services for advice if the duties are at a higher grade.
Should an employee become unwell during this period, line managers are expected to maintain daily updates from the employee about any new or continuing absence and the reason for it, recording the absence as appropriate.
Employee wellbeing is important. Line managers should signpost employees to further guidance on your wellbeing.
Employees with childcare responsibilities
Meeting childcare responsibilities may still be challenging for some employees. Line managers should 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 support for our employees. Please see the HR advice for managers attached to this page for further details.
Interim changes to the flexi time scheme
To enable colleagues to respond by working more flexibly, we have made some 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. Please see the HR advice for managers attached to this page for further details.
The government is advising that those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable do not need to shield at the moment.
In relation to work the government advises that from 1 August 2020 extremely clinically vulnerable employees can go to work, as long as the workplace is COVID-secure – but carry on working from home if you can undertake the full duties of your role from home.
All clinically extremely vulnerable people, if returning to work need to be particularly aware of the guidance relating to 2m social distancing and adhere to that. Managers should undertake a specific individual risk assessment with staff before they return to the workplace to outline any additional control measures that will be required to protect the individual.
Please see further advice on supporting extremely vulnerable and vulnerable employees attached to this page.
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.
Updated guidance about face coverings for employees has been issued and is attached to this page.
The guidance covers employees who are:
- working from one of our buildings
- meeting the public
- required to enter shops, hospitals and sites where they are required to wear a face mask
- working from libraries, the Record Office and Buxton Museum
Recording a self-isolation period
If an employee is required to self-isolate, they can get an isolation note to send to their line manager as proof they need to stay off work. Employees do not need a letter from their GP.
As part of this discussion, line managers should establish the following:
- the reason for self-isolation
- the current work location
- whether the employee is fit and able to work from home
- the start and end period of self-isolation
- confirmation that the normal hours planned to be worked for the defined period will be submitted via usual processes
- a daily contact approach between the line manager and the employee including confirmed contact details and any support the colleague may require during the self-isolation period (for example, support in obtaining medication supplies)
The line manager should then escalate the requirement for self-isolation to their respective head of service to discuss the case in full.
A self-isolation absence code is available for direct recording in SAP. Please see the HR advice for managers attached to this page for further details.
If an employee is fit and able to work from home during the self-isolation period, the employee should record their hours via the normal processes. If an employee is fit to work but unable to work from home due to the nature of their role, line managers should work with employees to ensure the normal hours the employee was due to work in the defined period are input through normal processes.
Line managers must be in contact with any self-isolating employee on a daily basis to support their wellbeing and ensure they are able to perform their duties. This contact will be by phone unless there is a clear reason why text or email should be used.
We have a vital role to play during this outbreak in delivering public service and community leadership. During the coronavirus outbreak, colleagues are expected to be flexible to ensure we maintain our essential public services.
Employees required to self-isolate will receive normal pay for the self-isolation period. Normal pay means the employee will receive the pay that was scheduled and authorised to be paid at the point of self-isolation.
If an employee becomes unwell during the self-isolation period the employee will remain recorded as in self-isolation until a confirmed diagnosis is made by a medical practitioner.
Recording sickness absence as a result of coronavirus
There is a specific sickness reason type named 'COV-19' in SAP.
Employees who are off work due to a confirmed case or suspected case due to the symptoms displayed and are unfit to work, should record sickness under a new sickness reason of COV-19. Please see the HR advice for managers attached to this page for further details.
Further guidance on recording sickness absence is available.
If you have any questions in relation to this guidance please contact Time Team, HR services, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Workforce supply and demand guidance
To ensure that critical services can be met during the coronavirus pandemic, managers may need additional staffing or to redeploy current employees within their departments to temporarily work in a different role or location to support these critical services.
We've compiled some guidance to support managers in this. It includes details of the different options available should you need extra resources:
- re-engagement of former employees
- fast-track recruitment for emergency roles
- agency recruitment
- redeployment of existing employees
Read the full guidance in the documents attached to this page.
Vehicles available to support coronavirus response
We have a number of cars, vans, pick-up trucks and mini-buses that can be made available to support the coronavirus response. County transport are available to co-ordinate requests for vehicles from within our own fleet and can advise on how to source vehicles via our contracts with vehicle hire companies if no internal vehicles are available. Anyone with an appropriate valid driving licence and council approval can use these vehicles, including volunteers or partner agencies' employees.
Please email email@example.com with your requirements.
Contractors and suppliers
Organisations already working with us may be able to play a part in ensuring essential frontline services continue. Any service needing additional capacity or support should look to utilising existing contracts in the first instance.
Details of our contracts from across the 4 business areas have been collated into a central database with details of the goods and services they provide. This offers us:
- a centralised system which provides easy identification of existing contracts from across the whole council
- easy identification of providers who may 'best fit' the need for emergency requirements and also those providers who may be able to provide alternative or additional resources, goods and services
- the ability to identify any gaps in good or service provision that we may need to put arrangements in place for should demand arise
This can also be utilised as part of the resourcing hub in response to departmental requests for support to ensure minimum workforce capacity is maintained.
To ask for help in identifying possible sources of additional resource or emergency requirements from external contractors or suppliers, contact the relevant principal officer:
They'll get in touch with the appropriate departmental representative to ascertain if support is available from relevant suppliers. Each contract has a contract manager who has working knowledge of the supplier and contract and can work with corporate procurement to identify the options available. If a match can be made, then the requester will be put in touch with the supplier to make the necessary arrangements.
National guidance has been issued about how we can continue to source goods and service while the outbreak is ongoing, along with advice from corporate procurement. View the procurement guidance during the coronavirus pandemic.
Training for frontline care
Wherever possible you should encourage your team members to complete the COVID-19 e-learning course on Derbyshire Learning Online. Your staff don't need to have a Derbyshire County Council email address in order to complete the course as Derbyshire Learning Online is available to all employees.
It will take between 45 and 60 minutes to complete the course and staff will be paid for that time.
Where staff do not have any access to a computer, managers can use the COVID-19 introduction for front line care workers presentation (attached to this page) to share key information with their team.
Alongside the slides, there are a number of other resources that will be useful for frontline staff including:
Further information about personal protective equipment is also available.