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Tuesday 17 March 2020

Coronavirus employee update for Tuesday 17 March 2020.

Many of you will have seen the advice given by the Prime Minister yesterday regarding the coronavirus outbreak and the need for increased measures to suppress the spread of the virus.

Local government has a key role to play in supporting the people of Derbyshire through these unprecedented times. By working together, as a council and with our partners and communities, we will come through this challenge. Thank you for being in public service and for working to support local people and the nation as a whole.

This is a rapidly changing situation and we will keep you up to date as our advice to staff develops and changes. All staff can access employee specific advice.

Thank you for your work and commitment.

  • Emma Alexander, Executive Director for Commissioning, Communities and Policy
  • Mike Ashworth, Executive Director for Economy, Transport and Environment
  • Jane Parfrement, Executive Director for Children’s Services
  • Helen Jones, Executive Director for Adult Social Care and Health

Self-isolation: individuals and families

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (either a continuous cough or a high temperature of 37.8), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members 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 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.

We must follow this latest advice so if you have a high temperature or a new continuous cough please let you manager know and stay at home. You do not need to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital and do not need to contact 111 to tell them they are staying at home.

If you do have to self-isolate but are fit and well and can work from home please do so and record your hours using the normal processes. You should remain in contact with your line manager during the time you are self-isolating.

If you need to self-isolate and due to the nature of your role cannot work from home please talk to your line manager who will offer you advice.

Colleagues who are required to self-isolate will receive normal pay for the self-isolation period. Normal pay means that you will receive the pay that was scheduled and authorised to be paid at the point of self-isolation.

If you become unwell during the self-isolation period then please contact your line manager.

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 will make the decision based on business need. These discussions should take place as soon as possible.

Please bear in mind that, as the situation changes, the arrangements put in place might need to change. In order to keep delivering our vital services we may need to be flexible as the outbreak progresses.

By working from home we can help reduce the risk of infection for those who need to be in the workplace.

Staff who cannot work from home

Many of our staff cannot work from home because of the nature of their role and / or because they work directly with residents.

Firstly, thank you for your work to support the residents of Derbyshire. The whole council appreciates the work you do and is here to support your frontline role.

Your manager will work with you to support your wellbeing. Those who work directly with residents will receive specific advice from your senior management teams on how to manage any exposure to the virus and managers will consider whether to progress any planned training.

Some basic measures will help to protect you at work. Continue with good and regular handwashing, run meetings by Skype instead of meeting in person and sit further apart where you can. If you have any concerns do talk to your line manager.

People over 70, pregnant women and with underlying health conditions

We are currently looking at how we support those who have been defined as being vulnerable by the Government, particularly those who are over 70, have underlying health conditions that mean they require the flu jab, are pregnant and / or have relatives at home who may be in a vulnerable group. Further advice will be issued in the coming days but in the meantime you are encouraged to be particularly vigilant about social distancing.

Any member of staff with a significant serious condition as defined by the Government will be contacted by their medical team and be given advice which you should pass on to your 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

These are challenging times for all of us and it is by working together and looking after each other as a community that we will come through this. Looking after your wellbeing is important: talk to your line manager about any concerns and use our wellbeing advice. The employee counselling service can help you if you are concerned about your mental health.