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Thursday 19 March 2020

Coronavirus employee update for Thursday 19 March 2020.


Following the school closure announcement made yesterday we’re currently waiting for clarification from the Cabinet Office on the key worker roles. However, we understand that the Government has defined those as teachers, teaching assistants supporting those with EHCPs, health workers, social care workers (both children’s services and adult services), carers such as foster carers, blue light services and those who provide vital logistical supplies such as delivery drivers and utilities engineers. 

We appreciate that this is an uncertain time for everyone so please remember to stay in touch with your manager and discuss any concerns with them.

Working together to deliver critical services

Over the coming months we will see changes to our service demands and employee attendance levels.

Where possible, we need you to be flexible in terms of your working hours to ensure that essential services can be maintained and we need to make the best use of resources to support our communities and prioritise critical services.

Your line manager may be in touch with you to discuss the possibility of working additional or alternative hours or temporarily working in a different role or at a different location. Where you are asked to carry out an alternative role, you will be provided with adequate basic training and information to enable you to carry out the task safely and effectively.

Childcare responsibilities

We know that the Government decision to close schools will provide a challenge for many employees. Your line manager will work with you 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.

If leave is required as part of a flexible working approach, you are expected to take a combination of paid and unpaid leave. You and your manager can consider current flexi/TOIL balances, annual leave, special leave paid (maximum of 5 days, pro rata for part time employees) and special leave unpaid (uncapped).

Further advice on this is available for managers so please make sure you have this discussion with your manager as soon as possible.

Interim changes to the flex time scheme

To enable colleagues to respond to this situation by working more flexibly, there will 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. 

Self-isolation

Please remember to follow the latest self-isolation advice in order to help reduce the spread of the virus. 

The guidance has been updated to clarify that if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

Training courses

All non-essential training courses, learning conferences and other learning events organised by the council have been cancelled until further notice.

Skype guides

If you are working remotely using a council computer then you can make use of Skype to stay in touch with your colleagues.

If you are not familiar with using it for meetings, instant messaging, voice or video calls then user guides are available.