Coronavirus - Employees Frequently Asked Questions

Does the government have any advice for vulnerable groups?

Further details on vulnerable groups. This now includes further advice for pregnant women who are being advised to self-isolate.


Does the government have any advice for pregnant women?

Further details for pregnant women . This now includes further advice for pregnant women who are being advised to self-isolate.


Is there advice on self-isolating and staying at home?

Further advice on self - isolating and also for people living with an extremely vulnerable or vulnerable person

Employees are required to self-isolate if they have:

  • a high temperature and/or
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your senses of smell or taste

You should stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.  Do not go to your GP or other medical centre. 


What conditions are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable?

People who fall into this group include:

1.   People with a solid organ transplants (e.g. heart, lungs, kidney)

2.  People with specific cancers:

  • People with cancel who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer.
  • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma, or myloma who are at any stage of treatment.
  • People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatment for cancer.
  • People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors.
  • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.

3  People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.

4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to increase risk of infection.

6.  Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.


People who fall into this clinically extremely vulnerable group will be contacted directly either via their NHS clinician, or their own GP, with further information and guidance.  

As an employee, if you receive a notification from the NHS or your GP you are advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks or until the government decides to lift the restrictions.

If you live or care for someone in the group then you should discuss the matter with your line manager. The government advice is that you should work from home. 


What conditions do people have who are classed as vulnerable?

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

1. aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)

2. under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):

  • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • pregnant women

As above, there is a further category of people with serious underlying health conditions who are clinically extremely vulnerable, meaning they are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You, your family and carers should be aware of the guidance on shielding which provides information on how to protect yourself still further should you wish to.

If you live or care for someone in the group then you should discuss the matter with your line manager. The government advice is that you should work from home. 


Where can I find information for businesses, including nurseries? 


What is the government advising regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

  • There is new infection prevention and control guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes advice on when to use a standard surgical facemask, versus when to use an FFP3 fit-tested respirator mask. There is also new guidance on how to put on and take off PPE for non-aerosol-generating procedures.  


Are there any information posters available that we can put up in the workplace? 


I do not wear PPE as part of my job but do I need to wear a face covering

The government website states:

Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are in an enclosed space where social distancing isn't possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example on public transport or in some shops.


What is the new Government Track and Trace system? 

The NHS test and trace service:

  • ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents
  • helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus

The NHS test and trace service will help to control the rate of reproduction (R) and reduce the spread of the infection. By playing your part through the actions set out below, you will directly help to contain the virus by reducing its spread. 

You can help in the following ways:

  • if you develop symptoms, you must continue to follow the rules to self-isolate with other members of your household and order a test to find out if you have coronavirus
  • if you test positive for coronavirus, you must share information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service to help us alert other people who may need to self-isolate
  • if you have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus, you must self-isolate if the NHS test and trace service advises you to do so

This specific guidance applies in England only. All 4 administrations are working closely together to have a consistent and joined-up approach to testing and tracing.

Further information can be found on the Gov.uk website


How NHS test and trace service works

Part 1: for someone with symptoms of coronavirus

  1. isolate: as soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms, medical advice is clear: you must self-isolate for at least 7 days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms
  2. test:order a test immediately at  or call 119 if you have no internet access
  3. results: if your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 7 day self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to self-isolate
  4. share contacts: if you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited. It is important that you respond as soon as possible so that we can give appropriate advice to those who need it. You will be told to do this online via a secure website or you will be called by one of our contract tracers.

Part 2: if you are contacted by the NHS test and trace service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus

  1. alert: you will be alerted by the NHS test and trace service if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. The alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. You should then log on to the NHS test and trace website, which is normally the easiest way for you and the service to communicate with each other - but, if not, a trained call handler will talk you through what you must do. Under 18s will get a phone call and a parent or guardian will be asked to give permission for the call to continue
  2. isolate: you will be told to begin self-isolation for 14 days from your last contact with the person who has tested positive. It's really important to do this even if you don't feel unwell because, if you have been infected, you could become infectious to others at any point up to 14 days. Your household doesn't need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home
  3. test if needed: if you develop symptoms of coronavirus, other members of your household must self-isolate immediately at home for 14 days and you must book a test at  or call 119 if you have no internet access. If your test is positive, you must continue to stay at home for at least 7 days and we will get in touch to ask about your contacts since they must self-isolate. If your test is negative, you must still complete your 14 day self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet - this is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

Are there different ways of working during the coronavirus outbreak?

A flowchart (PDF 505KB) has been put together to help managers and staff work through various scenarios that are emerging as a result of the developing situation with the Coronavirus and the subsequent national and Council guidance.

The flowchart covers common questions that have been asked. You will understand that it is not possible to cover every scenario and this is provided as a guide and will be updated if situations change. Managers are asked to use their judgement and pragmatism to solve problems that arise.


How do I record sickness absences due to coronavirus?

Recording should be completed in iTrent following the normal absence recording method. 

  • Where a team member is unwell with a confirmed case of coronavirus record in iTrent as "Coronavirus - confirmed case"
  • Where a team member is unwell with a suspected case of coronavirus record in iTrent as "Coronavirus - suspected case"
  • If a suspected case becomes confirmed, you will need to change the reason for the absence to "coronavirus - confirmed case". 

Managers are advised that absences in respect of Coronavirus are to be discounted from triggers and progression through the Absence and Wellbeing procedure.

Ending an absence 

As normal, absence should be ended when the team member is fit to return to work. It is really important to maintain accurate records so promptly entering absence end dates will help the organisation understand and plan around levels of availability. 


What do I record when someone has been self-isolating or has caring responsibilities or their building has shut or their work isn't sustainable?

Just like when your team members are on flexi leave, other absences from the workplace should be recorded in iTrent. Additional categories for coronavirus related absence have been added which will continue to provide normal pay. The codes are as follows:

Covid-19 Caring responsibilities 

  • This option should be selected if the employee's normal care arrangements are not available (i.e. school closure, carer unable to attend) and the employee is unable to work from home. 

Covid-19 Awaiting Redeployment

  • This option should be selected if the employee is available for  redeployment into another role due to their building being closed or current work is not sustainable etc. Further guidance will be provided on this in due course.  

Covid-19 Redeployed

  • This option should be selected if the employee is redeployed into another role. Further guidance will be provided on this in due course.

Covid-19 Self-Isolating Unable to Work (If possible all current 'Self-Isolating' absences will be mapped to this absence reason)

  • This option should be selected if an employee is directed by health professionals or following government guidelines to self-isolate or dependants have coronavirus symptoms but they are unable to work from home. Self-isolation should not be recorded as a sickness absence.  

Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Restricted Duties

  • This option should be selected if an employee is directed by health professionals or following government guidelines to self-isolate or dependants have coronavirus symptoms and they are unable to conduct the majority of their duties from home. Self-isolation should not be recorded as a sickness absence. 

Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Working Normally

  • This option should be selected if an employee is directed by health professionals or following government guidelines to self-isolate or dependants have coronavirus symptoms and they are able to do the majority of their duties from home. Self-isolation should not be recorded as a sickness absence. 


How to record Coronavirus related absence (not sickness)

  1. In People Manager, select relevant Employee and choose 'Other Leave' 
  2. Select 'Other Absence - New' 
  3. Enter details and select 'Paid Leave' and choose relevant Coronavirus absence option above and save


What do I record if self-isolation if required?

The manager should record it on iTrent through People Manager under Other Absence the codes are as follows:-

  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Unable to Work
  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Restricted Duties
  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Working Normally


When does an employee need to stay at home? 

  • If you develop a cough or high temperature stay or have a loss of, or change to, your senses of smell or taste stay at home for 14-days. 
  • If you live with someone who has a cough or a temperature have a loss of, or change to, your senses of smell or taste  stay at home for 14-days. 
  • If you are in the high risk group - identified by the government

The latest government guidance should be followed - GOV.UK stay at home guidance


Should I/my team work from home?

Yes where possible- Managers are reviewing their business continuity plans which will include assessing all those staff within their service who can fulfill their role by working from home.  Please speak to your manager who will be able to provide further detail.

As the lockdown eases your manager will contact you about about how and when you can return to your normal place of work. 


What to do if a team member becomes ill during self-isolation?

If the team member who has been self-isolating becomes unwell, then they should then be recorded in iTrent as sickness absence, using the instructions above just like you would for any other normal absence.


A member of my team is stuck abroad - how do I record their absence?

The manager should record it on iTrent through People Manager under Other Absence using the code:-

  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Unable to Work


If an employee has mild symptoms of Covid-10 but they feel they aren't sick, should they be recorded as sickness or self-isolation?

Any symptoms, no matter how mild, should be recorded as sickness absence under the title Covid-19 Suspected or Confirmed (if tests confirm positive for Covid-19).


If an employee has mild symptoms of Covid-10 but they feel they aren't sick, should they be recorded as sickness or self-isolation?

Any symptoms, no matter how mild, should be recorded as sickness absence under the title Covid-19 Suspected or Confirmed (if tests confirm positive for Covid-19).


I am classed as a key worker and my children could go to an alternative school provision. I don't want them to go what should I do? 

The council needs to maximise the availability of all our employees to support the delivery of services across our county.  Whilst we understand the concerns parents may have over alternative childcare provisions, you are strongly encouraged to make use of these so that you can attend work and support your employer to deliver services across Cumbria.  


I am working from home, but also have a responsibility for home schooling/ caring for my children - how do I balance their and CCC's differing needs?

Under normal circumstances we would not advise to mix childcare and working from home.  However, in these unprecedented circumstances we need to be flexible and support our employees to balance all of their responsibilities both at home and at work.  Employees should speak to their line manager about what they are able to do and to think of flexible and creative ways to manage these demands.  This might mean working different hours around partner's working patterns or taking regular breaks during the day to support their children to be safe and entertained.  Wherever possible we would ask that people fulfil their full contracted hours.  However being very pragmatic, this is not going to be possible in all cases and managers need to work with their teams to find flexible solutions to maximise the outputs from their team managing the situation as best they can.   

Top tips:

If you have a someone to help you at home:

  • Share the childcare responsibilities between you and the person supporting you, work in shifts and perhaps break the day into two blocks e.g. early start to lunch and then early afternoon to evening or work alternate days. 
  • Set up a work area away from the children in a different room where you won't be distracted, even creating a 'do not disturb sign' so they know when you are busy. 
  • If you know you have a call or meeting ask for help to keep the kids entertained in a different room or outside in the garden. 

If you don't have support at home:

  • Discuss with your line manager how you can maximise your working time to fulfil your employment contract. 
  • Work flexibly to suit your family's needs
  • Set yourself a schedule for the day, break the day up into hours 
  • Work shorter days e.g. 10am - 4pm or work earlier in the morning or later in the day, plan this around your child's 'quiet time'. 
  • Take a longer lunch break 
  • Log on early and keep checking your emails periodically throughout the day 
  • Keep your phone on so you are contactable for anything urgent 

Tips for juggling work and home schooling

  • Plan the day so your children know what to expect, they often respond well to a routine, even if you don't stick to it, it helps to have ideas at the ready and they might enjoy helping to create it and sticking it up on the wall. 
  • If you know you need to be on a call or do something urgent don't feel bad for sitting them in front of TV/tablet/game station, be kind to yourself. 
  • Remember it doesn't all have to be structured work include lego/jigsaws/toys/playing in the garden. 
  • Don't be too hard on yourself, everyone is in the same situation at the moment; a dog barking on a conference call or a child walking in on a skype call, that's all okay. Try to prioritise and focus on what matters most and if you need help and support don't be afraid to ask. 

Resources 

Here's what various celebrities are offering you and your kids for free daily to help with their education while schools are closed, use these to add into your daily routines to help you:

9.00am - PE with Joe Wicks 

10.00am - Maths with Carol Vorderman  

11.00am - English with David Walliam

12.00pm - Lunch (cooking with Jamie Oliver) 

1.00pm - Music with Myleene Klass 

1.30pm - Dance with Darcey Bussel 

2.00pm - History with Dan Snow (free for 30 days) 

4.00pm - Home Economics with Theo Michaels (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) 

 

Non-daily events include:

Science with Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince and Guests 

9.30am Wednesday 25 March - Geography with Steve Backshal

 

For your older kids, here are 50 free revision resources for 11+, GCSEs and A-Levels:


Home Schooling 

Set time in your day to home school 

Use resources provided by your School/Childcare provider

There are lots of online School Subscription Services that are providing guidance and resources to support with school closures 


Twinkl - subscription service used by schools is offering a free premium service for educators, parents and children to use whilst schools are closed - enter the code UKTWINKLHELPS

  • Worksheets, PowerPoints and interactive games to support all areas of learning 


I am / I have a member of my team who is essential.  Changes have been made to seating etc to have less contact, however my/their partner works for the NHS and has an underlying health condition and been sent home from work - should I / my team member be self-isolating? 

You should advise your line manager if you are living or caring for someone who falls into the extremely vulnerable or vulnerable group. 

Line managers will need to determine what appropriate measures need to be taken. Your manager will consider all options to support working from home and may ask the Occupational Health team for advice, based on your particular circumstances, to determine the options to support you and also the impact upon the ongoing delivery of critical services.  

If they ask for advice from the Occupational Health team and you may need to speak to one of the Occupational health nurses about your particular circumstances. 

Your manager will then discuss and consider options for working from home with you, balancing the need to continue to provide critical services.


I think I am classed as a key worker by the government and I have children what should I do?

If you do not have any other form of child care then you may send your child to school. You should have received notification about this on Friday 20 March 2020. Your school may require a letter from your employer confirming you are a key worker. If this is the case please ask your manager who has a letter that they can issue for you. 


What is shielding and who is extremely vulnerable? 

A specific group of people have been identified who have medical conditions which make them extremely vulnerable to Covid-19.  Those on this list are at even greater risk than the more vulnerable list previously published and are being advised to undertake shielding measures.  

People, both adults and children, falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

1. Solid organ transplant recipients

2. People with specific cancers: 

  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.

4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

The NHS will be writing to everyone in these categories this week (week commencing 23 March 2020) and they will be advised to 'shield' themselves for a period of at least 12 weeks from the date they receive the letter.  Shielding means remaining at home and avoiding any face-to-face contact if at all possible.  The advice on shielding is available here. 

If you fall into these categories you must remain at home, if you are not already doing so.  You will be required to work from home if at all possible, in line with guidance already issued, but you should not attend work during the period of shielding.

You will probably know whether you fall into this category, but if you are uncertain you should contact your GP or hospital specialist for advice.  Similarly, if you believe you are covered by this guidance but don't receive a letter from the NHS by 29 March, then you should discuss your concerns with the GP or specialist.

Where employees are directed to remain at home this will be classed as self-isolation and must be recorded by managers on iTrent as self isolation and managers should put an end date of 12 weeks.

 Should the employee become sick whilst at home, either with Coronavirus symptoms or any other illness, then they should report their absence in the usual way.


Who are key workers and what does it mean

As you've probably seen the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and have therefore asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. This includes children of "key workers" and there are specified roles and services which this definition applies to. 

Local government is a specified area and the Council has taken the view that all our workers regardless of their specific role are in these challenging times, key workers. So if you have children at school or an early years setting you can take them as usual if the setting is open. If they are not open the school or setting should be able to direct you to an alternative provision.

Please note however although all council employees are designated key workers this doesn't automatically mean you should use this status.  

Please bear the following principles in mind:

  • Staff should keep children away from school if they are able to (but do not have vulnerable people looking after them instead).
  • Staff must only send children to school when they are actually on rota working for the Council, not at other times.
  • Staff should not send them to school if their partner, or similar, is able to look after them.
  • There is an expectation that if staff are working from home the default should be to keep children there, rather than send them to school.  However, we accept some individuals may need to depending on age and other issues relating to children.

Staff may need to use their CCC ID badge as proof of their key worker status at the school or setting. They may also need a letter from their manager. 


I am working from home and I have a special chair and/or ICT equipment. Can this be delivered to my home?

Unfortunately, there isn't the capacity amongst ICT and facilities management to do this, however, if you are able then you could collect it yourself. Please report to reception and adhere to the social distances rules.

If you do need to borrow an item, you should complete a request on the ICT portal by following the Home Working link.


Can I have equipment to help me work at home?

Chairs - Some of you may have already had permission through your line manager to borrow an office chair if you do not have anything suitable at home - it is important to us that while working at home you put your health and safety first. Given that we are now reaching an extended period of time working in this new way, we have set up a ticket system for chair requests through our Business support request system. You can submit a request for an office chair to be borrowed for use at home on the portal andyou will need to make arrangements to collect this yourself.. If you have already borrowed a chair please register this equipment loan via the portal retrospectively so that we have a record. 

It is important when using a laptop to be able to set this up safely when working for periods longer than an hour. The laptop should be raised so that it is level with your eyes, and if you normally use a mouse and separate keyboard in the office, these can be borrowed for use at home.

If you do need to borrow equipment or feel that additional items are required, you need to seek the approval of your line manager who can then raise a ticket on the ICT portal. For a very small number of roles, secondary screens are required in addition to your laptop, and these should be requested for home use by exception and on a case by case basis given the fittings required to ensure they are affixed safely to a stand. Where ICT equipment is approved for home use, it will be necessary for individuals to collect, transport and set up the equipment in their home. If problems occur with the equipment, it will need to be returned by the user to ICT for assessment and also for the annual PAT testing safety check to be completed.

Safe Use of laptops and display screens:

  • Where possible and already issued as part of your usual workplace equipment, attach a separate keyboard and mouse when using your laptop
  • Work from a suitable work surface (desk or table) and use a comfortable supportive chair
  • Position your laptop so that your eyes are roughly at the same height as the top of your screen
  • Regularly change position and take regular breaks away from the screen (suggested as around five minutes in every hour)
  • Multiple screen (and repeater screens) may not be as practical to be regularly moved from usual workplaces to home environments, so please work flexibly given the challenging situation.

There are a range of other online learning and links also available online at My Learning.

Ergonomics company Posturite have produced some handy tips on their blog which you may find useful.

The HSE also produce a free to download booklet - Working with display screen equipment (DSE).


What do employees and managers need to do if a member of staff falls into the "Vulnerable group" (see above). And what do they need to do if they live with someone or care for someone who is identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable or vulnerable (see above for details of who is in the groups)

Staff  should advise their line manager if they fall into one of the vulnerable group category

Line managers will need to determine what appropriate measures need to be taken. 

Staff should advise their line manager if they are living with or caring for someone who falls in the extremely vulnerable or vulnerable group. 

Managers will consider all options to support working from home and may ask the Occupational Health team for advice, based on your particular circumstances, to determine the options to support staff and also the impact upon the ongoing delivery of critical services. 

The line manager needs to E-mail Occupational.Health@cumbria.gov.uk with the completed pro-forma (DOC 16KB)

If managers ask for advice from the Occupational Health team, staff may need to speak to one of the Occupational health nurses about their condition.

Manager will then discuss working from home with you, balancing the need to continue to provide critical services.


What do zero hours employees get paid during the COVID -19 situation? 

If you are off sick or self-isolating with coronavirus then you will be paid the average pay based on the previous 3 months. Normally if zero hours employees don't work then they don't get paid.

For Zero Hours employees in 'seasonal' services (e.g. Registrars) the average payment period to be used is 12 months.

If zero hours employees are able to work (in their own post or in a redeployed post) then they will be paid for the hours they work.  They do not get paid the average of the 3 months AND for any hours they work.  It is one or the other depending on if they can / cannot work.  They don't get both.

So just to confirm:

  • If a zero hours employee / casual worker CAN work (in their own post or a redeployed post) they get paid for the hours they work.
  • If a zero hours employee / casual worker CANNOT work they receive payment based on the monthly average of the previous 3 months.  


What do casual workers get paid during the COVID -19 situation? 

If you are off sick or self-isolating with coronavirus then you will be paid the average pay based on the previous 3 months. Normally if zero hours / casuals don't work then they don't get paid.

For casual workers in 'seasonal' services (e.g. Registrars) the average payment period to be used is 12 months.

If casuals are able to work (in their own post or in a redeployed post) then they will be paid for the hours they work.  They do not get paid the average of the 3 months AND for any hours they work.  It is one or the other depending on if they can / cannot work.  They don't get both.

So just to confirm:

  • If a casual worker CAN work (in their own post or a redeployed post) they get paid for the hours they work.
  • If a casual worker CANNOT work they receive payment based on the monthly average of the previous 3 months.  


I currently work for Cumbria Care in two different settings/homes as a support worker am I still able to do this? 

Staff should not work in more than one setting i.e. residential care homes, hospitals, due to the risk of cross contamination/infection control. In addition bank staff should now only work in one residential home now rather than across a number of homes. 

Staff will need to speak to their line managers to agree where they should work whilst the Covid -19 situation continues. 

If both posts are CCC roles it is hoped that they will be able to undertake all their hours (for both setting) into their main role. However, if this is not possible then they will continue to be paid for the hours of their secondary CCC post.  If this is the case the line manager should record this on iTrent under "Other Absence" as Covid-19 Gardening Leave (Cumbria Care only). 

Where one of the posts is non-CCC and staff choose to continue working in Cumbria Care and lose hours with a different employer they would need to raise this with their line manager and see whether it would be possible to increase hours in their existing contract with Cumbria Care for that time period. 

Where one of the posts is non-CCC and staff choose to continue working with a different employer they will continue to be paid their contracted hours with Cumbria Care (or average of the last 12 weeks for relief staff) and the line manager should record this on iTrent under "Other Absence" as Covid-19 Gardening Leave (Cumbria Care only). 

When does an employee need to stay at home?

  • If you develop a cough or high temperature or have a loss of, or change to, your senses of smell or taste  stay at home for 14-days. 
  • If you live with someone who has a cough or a temperature  have a loss of, or change to, your senses of smell or taste stay at home for 14-days. 
  • If you are in the high risk group - identified by the government

The latest government guidance should be followed - GOV.UK stay at home guidance


I am off sick with Coronavirus do I have to get a doctors fit note?

If you are off sick with coronavirus symptoms then there is no need to contact your doctor for a fit note. You should follow the coronavirus self-isolation advice. You should follow the normal procedures for keeping in touch with your manager.

If you are off sick with a conditions not related to coronavirus then normal procedures apply and if you've been off sick for more than 7 days then you will need a fit note (or Statement of Fitness for work) signed by a doctor. For the first 7 days of any absence (not coronavirus related) you should complete a self-certification form (DOC 627KB).


Do absences in respect of COVID-19 count towards absence triggers?

Managers are advised that absences in respect of COVID-19 are to be discounted from triggers and progression through the Absence and Wellbeing procedure.


How do I record sickness absences due to coronavirus?

Recording should be completed in iTrent following the normal absence recording method. 

  • Where a team member is unwell with a confirmed case of coronavirus record in iTrent as "Coronavirus - confirmed case"
  • Where a team member is unwell with a suspected case of coronavirus record in iTrent as "Coronavirus - suspected case"
  • If a suspected case becomes confirmed, you will need to change the reason for the absence to "coronavirus - confirmed case". 

Managers are advised that absences in respect of Coronavirus are to be discounted from triggers and progression through the Absence and Wellbeing procedure.

Ending an absence 

As normal, absence should be ended when the team member is fit to return to work. It is really important to maintain accurate records so promptly entering absence end dates will help the organisation understand and plan around levels of availability. 


I have a zero hours contract will I be paid if I have to self-isolate, be socially distancing or have to be off sick?

Normally, if employees with zero hours contracts are absent through sickness, they receive pro rata sick pay for any days off sick, based on their average pay over the previous 12 weeks (previous 3 months payroll) or 12 months for seasonal staff.

The Council is temporarily extending this provision to also apply where these employees are unable to attend work because of a requirement to self-isolate and are unable to undertake alternative duties from home.


I am a casual worker will I be paid if I have to self-isolate, be socially distancing or have to be off sick?

Casual workers are not employees and would not normally be paid when they are not working.  However, given the exceptional circumstances the Council is temporarily extending the provision for zero hours employees to also cover casual workers where they cannot continue to be engaged in work.

Therefore if a casual worker is not able to undertake work - to carry out hours that they would normally have been asked to work - due to a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus, or because they are required to self-isolate, they will receive payment based on their average pay over the previous 12 weeks (3 months payroll) or 12 months for seasonal staff.  This includes casual workers who have existing employment with the County Council.


I have been contacted by the Government track and trace system and have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus - what should I do?

You will need to follow the advice that has been given to you. You should also contact your manager to explain the situation and self-isolate for 14 days. 

You must self-isolate for 14 days after you were in contact with the person who has tested positive for coronavirus. This is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

Self-isolation means staying at home and not going outside your home at any time. If you live with other people, they do not need to self-isolate, but they should avoid contact with you as far as possible and follow advice on hygiene. If you do not live with other people, you should seek help from others, or delivery services, for essential activities such as food shopping. Self-isolation can be particularly challenging if you are looking after children, or if you care for vulnerable people who cannot stay with friends or family.

If you go on to develop symptoms, anyone you live with must then self-isolate and you must report your symptoms and get tested.

It is crucial that you complete your 14-day self-isolation period if you've been identified as a contact, even if you get a negative test result. This is because you may have the virus, but it cannot yet be detected by a test, so you could unknowingly spread the virus if you leave the house. Other members of your household, however, do not need to remain in self-isolation.

Further information about test and trace

Managers should record it on iTrent through People Manager under Other Absence, the codes are as follows:

  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Unable to Work
  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Restricted Duties
  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Working Normally

If I'm unable to work from home but need to self-isolate will I/the employee still be paid?

Yes, the absence will need to be recorded on iTrent through People Manager under Other Absence the codes are as follows:

Covid-19 Self-Isolating - unable to work (If possible all current 'Self-Isolating' absences will be mapped to this absence reason)

  • This option should be selected if an employee is directed by health professionals or following government guidelines to self-isolate or dependants have coronavirus symptoms but they are unable to work from home. Self-isolation should not be recorded as a sickness absence.  

Covid-19 Self-Isolating - restricted duties

  • This option should be selected if an employee is directed by health professionals or following government guidelines to self-isolate or dependants have coronavirus symptoms and they are unable to conduct the majority of their duties from home. Self-isolation should not be recorded as a sickness absence. 

Covid-19 Self-Isolating - working normally

  • This option should be selected if an employee is directed by health professionals or following government guidelines to self-isolate or dependants have coronavirus symptoms and they are able to do the majority of their duties from home. Self-isolation should not be recorded as a sickness absence. 

Should you become unwell during this time, it would then need to be recorded as sickness absence in the usual way.


I've been asked to cover tasks / roles outside of my substantive post what will I be paid? 

You will be paid your substantive rate of pay.


I have worked additional hours i.e. over 37 hours, but I am paid over Grade 9 will I be paid for these additional hours? 

Yes, during this emergency response period then you can either take flexi (if applicable), take time off in lieu (TOIL) at a later date or you can be paid for additional hours. Please discuss these options with your manager 


I have a zero hours contract and I am willing to do more hours in my normal post what will I be paid? 

You will be paid your normal/substantive hourly rate for the hours that you work.

If you are re-deployed into another post you will be paid your substantive rate of pay.


I am a casual worker and I have been redeployed - what will I be paid?

You will continue to be paid the rate for your casual worker role for any work you undertake.


I am currently off sick what will I be paid?

If employees are off sick, their sick pay will be based on the level of their current entitlement.  For example if an employee is currently entitled to full sick pay but would drop to half pay, their sick pay will continue to be paid at full pay.  If an employee is on half pay and was due to drop to nil pay, their sick pay will continue on half pay.  This will be applied for a maximum of up to 12 weeks from 1 April 2020 (i.e. up to 24 June 2020) and will be reviewed after that.

Wherever possible, employees and managers should remain in contact and employees should return to work when fit to provide support to critical services.


What happens to sessional payments if I am off sick or self-isolating?

Sessional Payments (Sundays / Nights / Bank Holidays) will continue to be paid to employees who are off sick or have to self-isolate, for employees who would normally be entitled to sessional payments as defined in the pay and benefits booklet (PDF 887KB), while off sick or on annual leave, under their existing contracts.

Employees who are carrying out their substantive post by working from home at different times of day e.g. in the evening or early morning will not be entitled to claim sessional payments.


What happens to my "sleep in" payments if I am off sick or self-isolating?

'Sleep in' Payments are not normally payable during periods of sickness.  However, due to the exceptional circumstances sleep-in payments will temporarily be paid to employees who are off sick or have to self-isolate, for employees who would normally be rostered to undertake sleep-ins under their existing contracts.

In these circumstances, to ensure these payments are made, managers should record sleep in payments on timesheets in the same way that other sessional payments would be recorded if an employee was off sick.


I work Term time only on a zero hours contracts - what is the impact on my holidays if I work additional hours during the holiday periods?

Only max 7.6 weeks of the school holiday periods is deemed as annual leave so that leaves 5.4 weeks 'unpaid' where you could do additional hours. 

If you are part time part year workers you could do additional hours up to 37 per week anyway, or even more hours, as long you comply with Working Time Directive rest periods. You will then accrue extra annual leave on any extra hours worked and this will be included in your holiday pay rather than extra time off. 

All employees cannot exceed actual weeks leave that they are entitled to. So however many hours we work the maximum leave is 7.6 weeks (dependent on the individuals leave entitlement) . It is the holiday pay that is adjusted to reflect extra hours. (Obviously extra paid time off may be given as flexi or TOIL but in that event they are getting time back so no extra holiday pay due). 


Is there any advice to Schools about casual or flexible workers?

Given the impact of school closures and implications that this will have on our communities and your staffing teams in school/working in schools, you are strongly encouraged to honour all commitments for pay for employees and workers and to act responsibly in these unprecedented times.


What will I be paid if I'm redeployed to cover essential services and I work Sundays/ Bank holidays/ nights and Standby?

You should claim the appropriate sessional payments where they would normally apply.


I am off sick or self isolating and I cannot work from home what happens about the sessional payments I would normally receive?

You can claim sessional payments if you normally do so while off sick or on annual leave.


I am working from home but I'm working at different times to my normal office hours - can I claim a sessional payment?

Employees who are carrying out their substantive post by working from home at different times of day e.g. in the evening or early morning will not be entitled to claim sessional payments, unless they have been specifically required to work at these times by managers.


If I undertake additional hours or have a second temporary contract, how will it affect my pension?

For members of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) 

  • If you increase your working hours, you will also pay pension contributions on these additional hours into your CARE fund. However, any increase in hours may take you into a different contribution rate.  
  • If you are employed on a second contact for more than 3 months, and you are under 75, you will be contractually enrolled into the LGPS.

For members of the Firefighter Pension Schemes

  • As any additional hours or 2nd contract will be on a temporary basis, it is not pensionable under the Firefighters pension schemes and so you will not pay any additional pension contributions. 


I am already in receipt of a pension, if I re-join the County Council will it affect my pension?

For members of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) 

  • No, you can be re-employed and there is no minimum break in service required. There will be no effect on your pension but you may be auto enrolled back into the LGPS provided your contract is for more than 3 months and you are under 75. 

For members of the Firefighter Pension Schemes

  • Yes, there may be an effect on your pension but it depends on your age and specific circumstances. Your pension may be subject to Abatement (reduction) and it may affect your Protected Pension Age if you are a member of the 1992 or 2006 Fire Pension Schemes. You should therefore contact Your Pension Service to find out the potential implications for your pension.  


I have taken Flexible Retirement and have reduced my hours of work in accordance with the LGPS Scheme. In the current Coronavirus pandemic I would like to volunteer to undertake extra hours, can I do this? 

Yes, on a temporary basis:

  • provided you have the approval of your senior manager
  • the additional hours are specifically linked to the delivery of essential services during the coronavirus pandemic, and
  • you work at least one hour less per week than your hours immediately prior to your Flexible Retirement
  • if you are currently paying pension contributions these will be based upon any extra hours and potentially any increase in annual salary may take you into a different contribution rate band.

Your manager will be required to keep this situation under review and you will revert to your substantive hours when the emergency responses are no longer needed. 

What happens about my annual leave during the COVID 19 response?

During this challenging time it is recognised that many people are working above and beyond and supporting work pressures on a daily basis, often for longer hours than normal.  At times like this it is important to consider your own wellbeing and that you take some well-earned rest.

All staff are encouraged to take their annual leave during the current period, however it is recognised that for those staff directly involved in the COVID19 response it may be more difficult to do so.  In such circumstances the government have provided guidance to support the carryover of annual leave  

Following this we are pleased to confirm the following: 

  • In such circumstances where you are unable to take your leave entitlement, you may request to cancel any leave which was pre-booked to take place during the coronavirus pandemic.  This must be discussed and agreed with line manager
  • In accordance with the government guidance staff will be able to carry forward up to 4 weeks annual leave, to be used over the next 2 years, extending your current leave into 2021 and 2022.  This must be discussed and agreed with you  line manager.
  • Your managers will be asked to carry out planning of all future holiday requirements, following the coronavirus period.  This is so that we can ensure continuation of critical services while also managing requests for leave and the wellbeing of employees
  • Where all other options have been exhausted consideration will be given to pay for up to 10 days outstanding holidays which employees have been unable to take (pro-rated for part time employees).  This will be by exception only, where the employee was directly involved in the COVID19 response and will require approval by a senior manager
  • Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are subject to separate conditions under the Working Time Directive and consideration of whether this guidance applies to those employees is currently still under review.


I am on annual leave but I've become sick with Coronavirus. Will I be able to take my leave at a later date?

Under normal circumstances you would need a doctors fit not in order to reclaim you leave however; as it is not normal circumstance this is not a requirement during the Coronavirus epidemic. You should discuss this with your manager so that your leave can be credited. 


If an employee is self-isolating and they have leave to take but it is cancelled will there be some flexibility about them carrying over the leave into the next leave year?

All staff are encouraged to take their annual leave during the current period, however it is recognised that for those staff directly involved in the COVID19 response it may be more difficult to do so.  In such circumstances the government have provided guidance to support the carryover of annual leave   

Following this we are pleased to confirm the following: 

  • In such circumstances where you are unable to take your leave entitlement, you may request to cancel any leave which was pre-booked to take place during the coronavirus pandemic.  This must be discussed and agreed with line manager
  • In accordance with the government guidance staff will be able to carry forward up to 4 weeks annual leave, to be used over the next 2 years, extending your current leave into 2021 and 2022.   This must be discussed and agreed with you line manager.
  • Your managers will be asked to carry out planning of all future holiday requirements, following the coronavirus period.  This is so that we can ensure continuation of critical services while also managing requests for leave and the wellbeing of employees.


If people are doing extra hours/ duties to cover for colleagues absence - and cancel their leave can they carry more of their leave over?

Staff working in support of the COVID19 response will be able to carry forward up to 4 weeks annual leave, to be used over the next 2 years, extending your current leave into 2021 and 2022. 


I need to self-isolate but am due to go on annual leave - what happens to my leave?

If you need to self-isolate in line with the government guidance it is the employees choice whether they wish to cancel their leave - some staff may be able to work from home during self-isolation and therefore may still wish for their leave to stand.  Please discuss this further with the employee.


I have leave booked in the near future, should I cancel this and carry it forward?

No, we are encouraging employees to continue to take their pre-arranged booked leave where possible.  However we recognise for many staff who are directly supporting the COVID19 response that this may not be practical.  An option has been introduced by the Government to give both employers and employees more flexibility and to ensure that you do not lose your leave entitlement.  It is important however that you consider continuing to take your leave during this period, where possible, as it may be beneficial for your own wellbeing. 

However, if you have leave booked which you would like to cancel you should discuss this with your line manager in the first instance and if it is agreed that you will cancel this you should delete the leave request which you had previously submitted on iTrentMyHR

In accordance with the government guidance staff will be able to carry forward up to 4 weeks annual leave, to be used over the next 2 years, extending your current leave into 2021 and 2022. This must be discussed and agreed with you  line manager.


I had already booked leave which I was unable to take.  Can I cancel this myself as well?

No.  If the start date of any leave which you were unable to take is in the past your manager will have to amend the entry on iTrent based upon the principles above.


Do I have to say now when I will take my carried forward leave?

Not immediately, but you should be aware that managers will be asked to look at planning of future holiday requirements as this will result in employees having more leave to take which could impact on future service delivery and you should bear in mind that due to the inevitable demand for annual leave after this critical period, line managers may not be able to grant all requests.


My leave year runs from my birthday, is the carry-over of annual leave based on calendar years or from the date of my birthday?

Your leave year is that set out in your contract of employment so for most employees this will start from your birthday, however where this is different it will be dependent on your specific contractual terms.


I have purchased additional annual leave through the council's scheme.  Can I cancel this and have the cost refunded?

Yes, if you have purchased annual leave which you no longer wish/are able to take, this will be refunded.  You should speak to your line manager to arrange for this to be actioned.


Can I just ask to be paid for my leave rather than carry it forward?

By exception there will be a process to consider any requests for leave to be paid.  Your line manager will first be asked to consider how practical it will be for the leave to be carried forward and taken at a later time.


Does this mean that anyone can now request payment instead of taking time off work?

No.  Any agreement to make payments will be by exception and will only be agreed if the employee was unable to take their leave due to COVID19 response work they were doing during the period of the Coronavirus pandemic.


Can I be paid for my flexi  or Time of in Lieu (TOIL) if I am unable to take it?

In exceptional circumstances during the coronavirus outbreak consideration will be given to payment in respect of flexi / TOIL.  This should be discussed with your line manager.


Can my manager insist that I work additional hours?

Any request for you to work additional hours will be discussed with you and will take account of your own personal circumstances and wellbeing.


What happens if I can't take my flexi/TOIL within the normal 4 week period?

it has been agreed that current restrictions on flexi time and time off in lieu (TOIL) are to be temporarily relaxed as follows:

  • Where it is not practical for flexi/TOIL to be taken within a 4 week period the current limit on time carried forward will not be applied and time accrued in excess of 3 days can be carried forward
  • Consideration may be given to payment of flexi/TOIL where you are unable to take time off.   This should be discussed and agreed with your line manager.

What and how can I claim if I have Additional travel and/or  expenses claims relating to Coronavirus?

Any claims should be made via the usual methods, see below for instructions on how to submit a claim.

Where employees have been required to make a business journey due to the Coronavirus, then "Coronavirus" should be entered in the reason column.

Any additional expenses which are directly linked to Coronavirus, should be claimed against the 'expenses - other' element. In the reason for spend column employees should enter, Coronavirus followed by what the expense is, for example "Coronavirus - purchase of hand sanitizer".

Expenses should be pre-authorised by an individual's line manager before any claims are submitted.

Cumbria County Council will only reimburse employees for expenses which are essential and required to carry out their role. An example would be where employees working in the front line services are required to purchase their own hand sanitizer or cleaning products to be used in the work place.

Although it is against normal expenses guidance, Cumbria County Council will reimburse any additional telephone costs arising from employees needing to use their own phone for work purposes, as they are required to work from another work location (including home) and did not have access to a Council phone, either landline or mobile.

All claims should have a valid VAT receipt. Where VAT is not to be recovered, claims should still be supported by a receipt where possible to ensure compliance. All mileage claims must be accompanied by VAT receipts, with the exception of pedal cycle travel. Reimbursement will not be made if receipts are not provided.


How to submit a claim

Employees with access to MyHR should submit their claim online.

MyHR User Guides:

Employees who do not have access to MyHR should complete the Mileage and Expenses Claim Form (DOC 245kb). Completed forms and VAT receipts should be sent to: Service Centre, Parkhouse Building, Baron Way, Kingmoor Business Park, Carlisle. CA6 4SJ.


During the COVID 19 pandemic, if a member of staff is self isolating for 12 weeks are we required to request the suspension of the car user monthly payment during their isolation period?

For the present time we will not be suspending car user payments however this decision is subject to review and may change after the 12 week period.


What will happen if I am unable to submit my expenses claim within the usual 3 month period?

Where possible, we would ask that employees try to submit their expenses within the usual 3 month period, however we would ask that managers take a pragmatic approach to this, as it may not always be feasible in the current situation for employees to complete these on time.


I have been redeployed to a different workbase e.g. a residential home rather than a day service centre, I am going to be paid mileage for the additional travel cost - will I also need business insurance in order to claim this? 

You would be paid the difference from your old home to work base, to the new home to work base for the period of redeployment.  This is a home to work journey (just to a different work base) and therefore a private journey rather than business travel and therefore staff are not required to have this insurance in order to claim. 


I am working from home during the coronavirus situation - what expenses can I claim? 

During the coronavirus situation the council will reimburse any additional telephone costs arising from employees needing to use their own phone for work purposes, when required to work from another work location (including home) and do not have access to a Council phone (either landline or mobile).  We will keep monitoring the situation over the coming weeks.

Employees can claim tax back due to increased costs if they are working from home.

As per national guidance the council is encouraging as many people as possible to work from home.

For lots of people this may be the first time you have worked from home and you might be feeling a bit apprehensive, however we've put together some useful advice, guidance and tips to help you and will continue to send out regular updates throughout this period. There is a new page on our website which contains all of the staff messages should you want to refer back to anything. 

The BBC have put together some handy tips and advice to help you work well at home.


Working safely from home - Th!nk safe - be safe

We remain committed to ensure people work safely. Home working requires some adjustments and it is important that each of us consider our own health and safety and follow the appropriate guidance. For instance the chairs, desks or additional equipment you may use at work may not be available or supplied to a home environment or alternative place of work at this time.

If you're using your own equipment please be aware of common hazards - please visually check all equipment to ensure it is fit for purpose and undamaged before use and ensure cables do not cause trip hazards.

Use of laptops and display screens:

  • Where possible and already issued as part of your usual workplace equipment, please attach a separate keyboard and mouse when using your laptop 
  • Work from a suitable work surface (desk or table) and use a comfortable supportive chair 
  • Position your laptop so that your eyes are roughly at the same height as the top of your screen 
  • Regularly change position and take regular breaks away from the screen (around five minutes in every hour) 
  • Multiple screen (and repeater screens) will not be practical to be moved from usual workplaces to home environments, so please work flexibly given the challenging situation 
  • Please speak to your Line Manager should you have individual concerns 


Is there any information on Lone Working?

Please discuss with your Line Manager any agreed lone working measures so that you can keep in regular contact at suitable intervals. This may be at the beginning and end of a working day but will be dependent on your role.

You can find out more about Lone Working using the links below:


Are there any tips on how to manage your team remotely?

You may already manage people who work from home routinely, but if you don't then this might take some adjusting for you too. Over the coming days, we'll be providing more information to help you to manage your team in this new and different way of working. In the meantime it's important to check in regularly with your team to make sure they are ok and coping with their workload and also adjusting to this new way of working. Don't forget to not overlook the importance of letting them know that they and their work is valued - a simple thank you goes a long way!

These are unprecedented times and we really value everyone's flexibility and commitment to adapt to new ways of working, staying connected to one another and continuing to provide the best possible services for the people of Cumbria - so thank you again, you are really appreciated.

Latest information on the Coronavirus


How do I connect to council ICT systems from home (VPN)?

The council's ICT team have worked hard to increase the number of people able to work remotely via VPN.

This is however placing additional demands on the network so whilst you're working from home and connecting to the network using VPN you may experience your laptop running a bit slower than usual. Unfortunately this is unavoidable and is to be expected given the increased load on both the county council's and national communications networks. Our ICT colleagues are aware of some challenges being experienced and are doing everything possible to maximise network availability so there is no need to log a call with them about this specifically.

Much work has already been done and is ongoing to keep us all connected and please be assured that the systems in place will aim to support as many people as possible to work from home. We'd ask that you please be patient whilst the system adjusts and consider the types of thing you are using the network for, for example - trying to access large files, pictures, videos and video conferencing will take longer than usual so consider doing this at non peak times of the day if you can. In particular, if you are connecting to video conferencing, video calls take up more bandwidth than just audio calls so should only be used when absolutely required. Everyone can play in part in keeping us all connected so thank you for your continued support on this.

If anyone is new to using VPN please follow all three stages below:

  1. Download Google Authenticator onto your mobile phone 
  2. Register for VPN  
  3. Connect to a wireless network and VPN

If you require support to connect please contact the ICT helpdesk on ict.servicedesk@cumbria.gov.uk or call 01228 226000.


Is there any Learning and development support?

A range of online learning and links is available online at My Learning, these are currently being extended to include short courses and training on working and managing in a virtual way. Further detail will follow.


How do I know I am set up properly to work from home safely?

Although Health and Safety Executive guidance currently allows employers to permit employees to temporarily work from home without the need of an additional workstation assessment, we recommend accessing the module within learning pool to allow you to undertake a workstation self-assessment. This provides training on the safe ways to work and allows you to complete your own home workstation checklist quickly and easily. You can then download this and send to your Manager. Access the online e-learning package.

Safe Use of laptops and display screens:

  • Where possible and already issued as part of your usual workplace equipment, attach a separate keyboard and mouse when using your laptop
  • Work from a suitable work surface (desk or table) and use a comfortable supportive chair
  • Position your laptop so that your eyes are roughly at the same height as the top of your screen
  • Regularly change position and take regular breaks away from the screen (suggested as around five minutes in every hour)
  • Multiple screen (and repeater screens) may not be as practical to be regularly moved from usual workplaces to home environments, so please work flexibly given the challenging situation.

There are a range of other online learning and links also available online at My Learning.

Ergonomics company Posturite have produced some handy tips on their blog which you may find useful.

The HSE also produce a free to download booklet - Working with display screen equipment (DSE)


Can I use my own equipment?

If you're using your own equipment such as extension leads and charging devices at home, it is worth being aware of common hazards. Please visually check all electrical equipment to make sure it is fit for purpose and undamaged before use and make sure cables are hidden to avoid trip hazards.

Any damage, risks and defects to your work equipment should be reported to your line manager for discussion and investigation.


How can I stay connected to my team?

There are lots of ways to keep in touch with colleagues whilst you are away from one another. Many teams are setting up regular calls or Skype meetings to stay connected and check in with one another, or through the additional mobile phone options that have been rolled out.

  • For direct 1-2-1 discussion, use your county council mobile phone
  • There is also the Skype option which allows face to face video and audio calls as well as the facility for wider meetings with your colleagues. ICT are progressing Microsoft Teams which will be introduced in the near future. 

Useful guidance for using Skype on intouch.

There is also guidance for meeting on Skype as already mentioned - be aware that video calls take up more capacity on the council's network so please bare this in mind and please try to use the audio function first.

  • There are already a number of conference call multi dial in telephone conference numbers allocated to keep teams connected, however the council have allocated 200 additional BT conference call dial ins for teams to use which provide the council with a cost effective way for people to keep in touch. Please speak to your manager for the numbers allocated to your service
  • Yammer is also now live for teams to connect so you can keep in touch with your team mates online. Yammer is similar to Facebook and you can use whether you're working at home or in the office.

How do I volunteer to support our critical services?

We are still looking for more staff so if you feel that you are able to support our critical services please complete the short questionnaire 

If you already work in a critical role you are not expected to volunteer.


What will I be paid if I volunteer?  

Staff will continue to be paid at their current grade whilst they are undertaking different duties

At this stage it is not possible to determine how long the support in the critical services will be required therefore how long they will be away from their normal duties

The council's travel and expenses policy will apply for any additional mileage incurred

The council's Pay and conditions policy will apply for any additional hours worked or sessional payments for weekend or night working and Bank Holidays 

If priorities change staff may be asked to carry out different duties to those initially identified in order to support service delivery 


Do I need to volunteer if I work in a critical service already?

No - but if you can increase your hours please talk to your line manager.


Can I volunteer to go and work for other organisations and/or community groups?

Staff working in critical roles for the council should only volunteer for tasks with any other organisation and/or community group where this does not impact on their availability to provide support to council services. 


I am not classed as a Key worker and would like to volunteer to be re-deployed what do I need to do? 

We will need to allocate some of our resources differently in order to support critical services. 

Teams and services are being asked to consider where they can stop delivery of non-essential activities in order to free up staff to help support critical services. If you feel that you are able to support our critical services please complete the short questionnaire.

You will need to provide information regarding your availability in terms of location and hours/days and confirmation of any specific skills and qualifications. A process has been developed to ensure that volunteers are matched based their skills and availability linking with the priorities from critical services. If you are able to volunteer in any capacity, then we would actively encourage you to do so as this will make a real and direct difference to the support we can provide to the people of Cumbria. Thank you in advance.


I am currently on maternity leave but would like to come in to support my colleagues is this possible? 

It depends on your individual circumstances. Please contact you line manager in the first instance who can then discuss it with People Management / Payroll.


Who do I report to when I am supporting a different area of the Council?

You will be assigned a new temporary line manager in the area where you will be working.

Your substantive line manager will be informed of your temporary work arrangements.


I would like to provide some support but I have childcare responsibilities?

One option would be to do some work from home. The aim where possible is for most people to work remotely to support people. Please contact you line manager to or complete complete a short questionnaire to volunteer


If I volunteer what work will I be asked to do?


Adult Social Care roles

Domestic

  • Cleaning 
  • Laundry
  • Making beds
  • Making drinks


Kitchen Assistant/ Cook

*Food hygiene certificate required

  • Basic food / veg  prep
  • Basic cooking/ baking
  • Ordering stock
  • Washing up/ Cleaning kitchen

Support Worker 

(non care tasks)

  • Plating and serving meals and drinks
  • Restocking units
  • Assisting with chores/activities
  • Washing up and setting tables
  • Cleaning
  • Chatting with Service users/ reminiscing
  • Activities: bingo, reading, playing cards etc
  • Phone calls and Skype to families


Support Worker*previous care experience essential

  • Help with dressing
  • Assist/support with personal care tasks
  • Assist/support people to get washed and dressed
  • Assist/support with eating and drinking
  • Assist/support with manual handling tasks
  • Completion of notes and care plans


Driver *UK driving licence required

  • Delivering / transferring goods/equipment/ Essential medicines


Emergency Support line 


Support line administrators Taking and making calls

  • Gathering and passing on information
  • Recording information 
  • Communication with members of the public, external organisations and CCC services

Shielding hubs in the community


Hub administrators

  • Management of hub information.
  • Hub rota management.
  • Liaison with Cumbria County Council call centre.
  • Information management of local support groups.
  • Support new team members with training and familiarisation. 
  • Monitor social media.


Lead Coordinators

  • Triage cases at the hub.
  • Record actions into MATS.
  • Follow up of caseloads. 
  • Distribution of tasks to welfare officers.


Welfare Officers

  • Call customers to confirm welfare requirements.
  • Link customer with community groups.
  • Follow up of caseloads.


Adult Social Care link

  • Vulnerable person advisor, providing support advice. 


Childrens and families link

  • Vulnerable person advisor, providing support advice.


Driver Coordinator

  • Management of hub driver team


Children's Residential Service

Children's Residential Support 

*No experience required

  • Cleaning
  • Supporting Household Tasks

Children's Residential Support 

*Experience in working with vulnerable children essential

  • supporting care staff with children's activities
  • supporting with food prep with children
  • supporting with personal care 
  • supporting care team


If are able to support our critical services please complete the questionnaire 


I am a Ministry of Defense reservist - what do I do if I am called-up? 

If the MOD contacts you about the mobilisation process you should in the first instance contact your line manager to explain the details of what you are being asked to do and when. 

The council would like to support the release of reservists during this time however, some council workers, are also be deemed to be key workers and therefore it may not be possible to release you. Your manager can seek advice from People Management where necessary. 

If there is a compelling reason why you cannot be released you should then inform the MOD.  

If your release is approved then then you should submit the financial compensation claim form to your manager.


I would like to do some volunteer work within the community as my own work is starting to dry up. What is our position on volunteering outside CCC as part of the working day if we still have unfilled gaps within CCC?

Where staff are not fully utilised in their own role and/or are able to work additional hours they should speak to their manager, to find out if there is any additional work requiring support within their services. If no further support is required then they should complete the internal survey monkey with their information to support the wider council. 

Staff should only be volunteering for work externally outside their normal working hours. 


Where people are volunteering in the community in their own time, is it acceptable that they wear their CCC ID badges "to provide reassurance"?

Staff should only be using their ID badge when they are doing work for CCC. They shouldn't be using/wearing their badges for any other volunteering activities. 

It's really important to look after your mental and physical health during the current situation.

Also Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and other networks during this time. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.

Remember it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too. Or you can use a NHS recommended helpline.

If you would like any further information or support you could: 


Can I access counselling?

The Occupational Health Service operates an employee self-referral scheme for counselling. At present all counselling support is provided remotely by phone in-line with social distancing guidelines.  

Please note counselling can be provided to employees as an interim measure of support while the employee seeks longer term treatment and support through their GP. Once your referral has been triaged then you will be referred to a counsellor initially for up to four sessions. 

To access the scheme please read the self referral for Counselling Portal guidance (DOC 3.5MB) first and then log into the Occupational Health Portal

If you have any difficulties please call the Occupational Health Service on 01768 812556. 

Alternatively you can the NHS counselling service  -  The First Step contact details are:

Alternatively you can ask your manager to refer you for counselling.


I have concerns about a child I know, who could I contact for advice?

Since schools and education settings have closed, referrals to children's social services have fallen dramatically. With millions of children remaining at home, there is a hidden group of children potentially at risk of abuse or neglect who are having much less interaction with statutory services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone's lives - and this has brought a whole new area of concerns about children. The NSPCC have already seen a range of new queries come in to the helpline, ranging from worries about domestic abuse, through to parents needing support with their children's mental health and behaviour.

The NSPCC are still here for children, and this service is open every day with free support for anyone who's worried about a child.

You can talk to their helpline team who offer free support and guidance on 0808 800 5000 (8am to 10pm Monday to Friday,  9am to 6pm weekends) or you can email help@nspcc.org.uk 24/7.

As well as the above, people can report concerns in the following ways:

  • Call the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub on 0333 240 1727 
  • If a child is at immediate risk of harm call 999
  • Children can contact childline.org.uk if they do not feel safe on 0800 1111

Can I or a member of my household have the symptoms of Coronavirus can I get tested? 

The government announced on the 18 May 2020 that anyone over the age of 5 can now get a coronavirus test. 

If you are an essential worker you can apply for priority testing.

Essential workers as at 11 May 2020

all NHS and social care staff, including: 

  • doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff, including volunteers and unpaid carers
  • the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK's health and social care sector
  • those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines, and medical and personal protective equipment
  • NHS Blood and Transplant frontline staff (blood donation staff, specialist nurses for organ donation, staff running therapeutic apheresis services in NHS hospitals)
  • those providing ancillary support to NHS workers (such as hotel accommodation for NHS staff)
  • personal care assistants

essential public services staff, including: 

  • charities and workers delivering critical frontline services
  • public health and environmental staff, such as specialist community public health nursing
  • fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)

transport workers, including: 

  • those who keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus response
  • those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass

education and childcare workers, including: 

  • support and teaching staff
  • social workers
  • specialist education professionals

critical personnel in the production and distribution of food, drink and essential goods, including: 

  • those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery
  • those critical to the provision of other essential goods, such as medical supply chain and distribution workers, including community pharmacy and testing (such as PHE labs), and veterinary medicine
  • workers critical to the continuity of essential movement of goods
  • local and national government staff critical to the effective delivery of the coronavirus response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits
  • public and environmental health staff, including in government agencies and arm's length bodies

frontline local authority staff and volunteers, including:

  • those working with vulnerable children and adults, victims of domestic abuse, and the homeless and rough sleepers (and hotel staff supporting these groups)
  • voluntary sector organisations providing substance misuse treatment

utilities, communication and financial services staff, including: 

  • staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
  • information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus response
  • essential staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 essential services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sector

Additionally,  testing is available to:

  • social care workers and residents in care homes, with or without symptoms, both to investigate outbreaks and, following successful pilots, as part of a rolling programme to test all care homes (guidance for care home residents and workers in England)
  • NHS workers and patients without symptoms, in line with NHS England guidance

This means anyone in one of these groups can find out whether they have the virus. Testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing.

Symptoms include a fever and persistent new cough or a combination of symptoms including shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of taste/smell.

Testing is available for anyone over the age of 5 who has coronavirus symptoms. Details of how to get tested.  

Anyone who has had symptoms and been self-isolating for more than five days is not eligible for testing. Testing must take place 1 to 5 days from the onset of symptoms to be reliable.


What is the purpose of being tested?

Getting tested is important to understand if you, or a member of your household has coronavirus, so that you will know what steps to take to look after yourself, protect others and know if you are fit to return to work.

The test will tell you if you currently have the virus. It will not tell you if you have previously had the virus.

Testing does not replace your clinical care, and if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition worsens, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service 

If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.


When should I or my household member(s) be tested?

You should get tested in the first three days of coronavirus symptoms appearing, although testing is considered effective up until day five. No testing should be undertaken after day five, unless it's for a specific reason which will be agreed on a case by case basis by local microbiologists.

If you are self-isolating because a person you live with has symptoms, you can refer them for testing. By testing the household member(s), we can be much more certain that you should either be self-isolating or can return to work.


Why can't people get tested if they do not have symptoms?

The test only checks if you have coronavirus right now. The test will give you confidence to decide whether you are safe to return to work if you don't have the virus, or to remain in isolation if you test positive for coronavirus.


Can my child get a test?

Children over the age of 5 can now be tested. 

Children aged 12 to 17 can use the test themselves or have their parent or guardian perform the test. Children aged 5 to 12 must have the test performed by a parent or guardian.

Test kits are unsuitable for under-fives. If your child under-five has coronavirus symptoms, please follow current NHS guidance.


How do I organise a test?

Self referral 

Ideally all employees should organise a test themselves using the government website 

It is a simple process but staff will need a personal mobile number and email. They can choose to attend either a drive through appointment or receive a home testing kit. However, the home testing kits are limited and where possible, drive through appointments should be used.

Once registered they will be sent a text or email containing a code, which will link to the appointment site. They will then follow the link into the website and book their appointment at the location of their choosing. They will then receive an email or text containing a QR code. They will have to take, either a printout of the email or download the test confirmation and QR code onto their smart phone; this will be scanned on arrival at the testing site. Photo ID such as passport or driving licence will also be required. They will also need their staff ID.

Please note no more than 4 members of the household can attend the drive through appointment in one car and all need to have a separate appointment. Also note that the testing is not available for those under 18 at some sites, although this is being reviewed.

Management referral

Alternatively, managers can email occupational health and an employer referral will be submitted to request appointments for staff.

Managers need the following information:

  • Name 
  • Date of birth 
  • NHS number if possible 
  • Personal mobile phone number 
  • Email address 
  • Car registration number 

This information will then be sent to the employers testing website and an individual will again receive the link as above.


I'm an essential worker but I don't have a car. How can I get tested?

Home test kits are now available. You order them via the Self-Referral Portal and Amazon deliver the kit to your home. You perform the test on yourself following the detailed instructions that come with the kit. Royal Mail couriers will collect your sample and you will receive the results within 72 hours. You can order up to five test kits for your household.


Where are the test sites?

COVID-19 testing sites in Cumbria

Please note these are government testing sites:

  • Penrith: Penrith Rugby Club, Winters Park, Penrith, CA11 8RQ
  • Kendal: Westmorland General Hospital, Burton Road, Kendal LA9 7RG
  • Gateshead: Ikea car park, Metro Park West, Pinetree Way, Swalwell, Gateshead NE11 9XS
  • Preston: Preston College Car park, St Vincents Rd, Fulwood, Preston, PR2 8UR

In addition there is some availability at the following NHS sites for eligible health and social care workers, you would need to contact your manager to access these sites:

Carlisle: The Coppice, Carleton Clinic, Cumwhinton Drive, Carlisle, CA1 3XS 

Whitehaven: Flatt Walks Surgery, 3 Castle Meadows, Whitehaven, CA28 7QE 

Lancaster: Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Ashton Rd, Lancaster, LA1 4RP  7 days a week 8 to 6pm

Barrow in Furness: Furness General Hospital, Dalton Ln, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 4LF  7 days a week 9 to 5pm

Kendal: Westmorland General Hospital, Burton Rd, Kendal, LA9 7RG Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

The army are also running additional pop-up sites. 

You will be able to see your nearest test centre when you book on line. 


What happens at the test? 

You should only arrive at a test centre in a car, there is no option for public transport, walking or taxis. You will need to arrive in the vehicle registered on your application and each person who requires testing must be seated adjacent to an opening window.

The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted). You may experience some mild discomfort and may feel a gagging sensation, but it should not hurt. The sample is then sent to the lab for testing.

The test results should be available within 48 hours of a swab being taken, or within 72 hours for a home test. You will receive the result by phone, text or email.


What to do about the results

Please inform your manager of your results whether positive or negative and your manager will advise on the next steps.

Once you have your results you should contact your line manager. We are keen to know who has tested positive/negative. Please let your manager know the:

  • date 
  • type of test 
  • result 

They will then ensure that the results are inputted onto your record in iTrent (HR system) and eOPAS (Occupational health system). This will help with business continuity planning in the future. 


When can I return to work after my test?

If you have had a test with a negative result you should only return to work if you feel well enough to do so. 

If everyone with symptoms who was tested in your household receive a negative result, you can return to work immediately, providing you  are well enough, and have not had a fever for 48 hours.

If a household member tests positive, but your test is negative, you can return to work on day 8 from the start of your symptoms if you feel well enough and have not had a fever for 48 hours.

If the worker does not have symptoms but a household member tests positive, the worker should continue to self-isolate in line with national guidance

The Public Health England flowchart (PDF 429KB) provides guidance on when you can return to work depending upon how you are feeling and your test result.


Where will my test results be stored? 

For further information on where and why the information will be stored - please refer to the Coronavirus privacy notice.

The government has also issued a privacy notice.


Can part-time staff and EPW's be tested? 

Yes, part-time and EPW's can be tested


Will I be paid mileage for going to be tested?

Provided the test is for yourself or you are taking a member of your household to be tested in your car then normal mileage rates will apply 


Will I be paid to go and get tested? 

If your test appointment time is during your normal hours then no additional payments/ time will be paid. 

If your appointment time is outside of your normal work time then you will be able to claim Time off in lieu (TOIL).


What other support is available for staff?

There is a Coronavirus Testing Call Centre for employees who have been referred or booked a test themselves, which is contacted on 0300 303 2713. Lines are open open daily 8am to 8pm. This call centre does not offer medical advice. If your employee is unwell, they should call NHS 111 and in a medical emergency, dial 999.


As a manager how to I refer a member of staff for testing? 

Option 1

Ideally all employees should organise a test themselves using the government website

It is a simple process but staff will need a personal mobile number and email. They can choose to attend either a drive through appointment or receive a home testing kit. However, the home testing kits are limited and where possible, drive through appointments should be used. 

Once registered they will be sent a text or email containing a code, which will link to the appointment site. They will then follow the link into the website and book their appointment at the location of their choosing. They will then receive an email or text containing a QR code. They will have to take, either a printout of the email or download the test confirmation and QR code onto their smart phone; this will be scanned on arrival at the testing site. Photo ID such as passport or driving licence will also be required. They will also need their staff ID. 

Please note no more than four members of the household can attend the drive through appointment in one car and all need to have a separate appointment. Also note that the testing is not available for those under 18 at some sites, although this is being reviewed.

Option 2

Management referral

Alternatively, managers can email occupational health and an employer referral will be submitted to request appointments for staff.

Managers need to send the following information to occupational.health@cumbria.gov.uk:  labelled COVID-19 TESTING

  • Name 
  • Date of birth 
  • NHS number if possible 
  • Personal mobile phone number 
  • Email address 
  • Car registration number 

This information will then be sent to the employers testing website and an individual will again receive the link as above.

Testing sites for option 1 and option 2:

  • Penrith: Penrith Rugby Club, Winters Park, Penrith, CA11 8RQ
  • Kendal: Westmorland General Hospital, Burton Road, Kendal LA9 7RG
  • Gateshead: Ikea car park, Metro Park West, Pinetree Way, Swalwell, Gateshead NE11 9XS
  • Preston: Preston College Car park, St Vincents Rd, Fulwood, Preston, PR2 8UR

Option 3

In addition there is some availability at the following NHS sites for eligible health and social care workers, you would need to contact your manager to access testing at these sites:-

Carlisle 

The Coppice 
Carleton Clinic 
Cumwhinton Drive 
Carlisle 
CA1 3XS 

To access the service, line managers must complete the Carleton Clinic referral form (DOC 33KB), providing brief details on behalf of your employee, and email the form to: NCM-TR.CARLISLE-COVID-TESTING@NHS.NET

Upon receipt of the referral, a member of the booking team will contact your essential worker directly to arrange a COVID-19 swab appointment for the same day or next morning.

Whitehaven 

Flatt Walks Surgery 
3 Castle Meadows 
Whitehaven 
CA28 7QE 

To access the service, line managers must complete the Copeland Red Centre referral form (DOC 80KB), providing brief details on behalf of your employee, and email the form to: CUCCG.COPELANDREDCENTRE@NHS.NET Upon receipt of the referral, a member of the booking team will contact your essential worker directly to arrange a COVID-19 swab appointment for the same day or next morning.

Lancaster 

Royal Lancaster Infirmary 
Ashton Rd 
Lancaster 
LA1 4RP 

7 days a week 8 to 6pm

Telephone: 01524 591419

Line managers need to telephone to make the referral.  Someone from the centre will then call the individual to arrange a suitable time for testing.

Barrow in Furness

Furness General Hospital 
Dalton Ln 
Barrow-in-Furness 
LA14 4LF 

Telephone: 01524 591419

7 days a week 9 to 5pm

Line managers need to telephone to make the referral.  Someone from the centre will then call the individual to arrange a suitable time for testing.

Kendal

Westmorland General Hospital 
Burton Rd 
Kendal 
LA9 7RG

Telephone: 01524 591419

Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Line managers need to telephone to make the referral.  Someone from the centre will then call the individual to arrange a suitable time for testing.

Up to date list of testing sites


As a manager what do I do with the results?

Managers should input the results via People Manager using the UDF titled "COVID - 19 Testing screen". 

By logging onto People Manager

Finding the person 

Clicking on "Covid-19 Testing"

Clicking onto either "New Test Result" or to amend a result "View/Amend Test Result" 

Input the data to the fields:

  • Test type
  • Test Date
  • Test Result

The details will then be automatically inputted into eOPAS - the occupational health system. 

If an employee has more than one test then each test should be inputted separately.


Who do I contact if I don't understand my test results?

If you do not understand your test result and you are concerned about your health and wellbeing following your test result, please contact NHS 111 or your local GP.


What do I do if I haven't received my test results?

If you haven't received your result, please call the Coronavirus Testing Call Centre on 0300 303 2713. You should continue to apply the national guidance on self-isolation while waiting for your result.

If you have followed this guidance and your self-isolation period has completed, you can return to work.


If I test negative, and then later I develop symptoms, can I get tested again?

Yes. If you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, you can self refer or your employer may refer you again to be tested.

If you previously tested positive for coronavirus and have another episode of symptoms, do you need to self-isolate again?

If your first illness was so severe you were prioritised for a coronavirus test and the result was positive, you will probably have developed immunity to coronavirus. Your new symptoms are very unlikely to be due to coronavirus and therefore you and your household do not need to isolate.

However, if another person in your household develops symptoms and they have not previously tested positive for coronavirus, then they need to isolate along with all other members of the household except for you (as you have already tested positive).

If you are concerned about your new possible coronavirus symptoms (a new, continuous cough or a high temperature), use the 111-coronavirus service  or call NHS 111.

For up to the minute information for households with possible coronavirus, please see refer to the national guidance.


How reliable is the test?

The test is reliable and effective. There are different tests in use under this programme and all have been assessed as performing to manufacturers specifications before being used. In addition, the newly established Lighthouse laboratories that will undertake the majority of the tests have been reviewed by experts as part of their set up and each has a clinical virology lead.


When can employees return to work after a test?

The Public Health England flowchart (PDF 429KB) gives guidance on when an employee can return to work depending upon how they are feeling and their test result.

For awareness, when someone is asymptomatic yet has tested positive for coronavirus there is currently no national guidance on how long they should self-isolate for. The current advice from our public health colleagues is that if they remain asymptomatic they should be off for 7 days. If during that time they become symptomatic then they should remain off for 7 days from the date they become symptomatic and can return to work on day 8 providing no high temperature for 48 hours and well enough to return to work.


When can employees return to work if they are asympotatic but have tested positive?

For awareness, when someone is asymptomatic yet has tested positive for coronavirus there is currently no national guidance on how long they should self-isolate for. The current advice from our public health colleagues is that if they remain asymptomatic they should be off for 7 days. If during that time they become symptomatic then they should remain off for 7 days from the date they become symptomatic and can return to work on day 8 providing no high temperature for 48 hours and well enough to return to work.


What is the new Government Track and Trace system? 

The NHS test and trace service:

  • ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents
  • helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus

The NHS test and trace service will help to control the rate of reproduction (R) and reduce the spread of the infection. By playing your part through the actions set out below, you will directly help to contain the virus by reducing its spread. 

You can help in the following ways:

  • if you develop symptoms, you must continue to follow the rules to self-isolate with other members of your household and order a test to find out if you have coronavirus
  • if you test positive for coronavirus, you must share information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service to help us alert other people who may need to self-isolate
  • if you have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus, you must self-isolate if the NHS test and trace service advises you to do so

This specific guidance applies in England only. All 4 administrations are working closely together to have a consistent and joined-up approach to testing and tracing.

Further information about test and trace


How NHS test and trace service works

Part 1: for someone with symptoms of coronavirus

  1. isolate: as soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms, medical advice is clear: you must self-isolate for at least 7 days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms
  2. test:order a test immediately or call 119 if you have no internet access
  3. results: if your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 7-day self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to self-isolate
  4. share contacts: if you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited. It is important that you respond as soon as possible so that we can give appropriate advice to those who need it. You will be told to do this online via a secure website or you will be called by one of our contract tracers.

Part 2: if you are contacted by the NHS test and trace service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus

  1. alert: you will be alerted by the NHS test and trace service if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. The alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. You should then log on to the NHS test and trace website, which is normally the easiest way for you and the service to communicate with each other - but, if not, a trained call handler will talk you through what you must do. Under-18s will get a phone call and a parent or guardian will be asked to give permission for the call to continue
  2. isolate: you will be told to begin self-isolation for 14 days from your last contact with the person who has tested positive. It's really important to do this even if you don't feel unwell because, if you have been infected, you could become infectious to others at any point up to 14 days. Your household doesn't need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home
  3. test if needed: if you develop symptoms of coronavirus, other members of your household must self-isolate immediately at home for 14 days and you must book a test or call 119 if you have no internet access. If your test is positive, you must continue to stay at home for at least 7 days and we will get in touch to ask about your contacts since they must self-isolate. If your test is negative, you must still complete your 14-day self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet - this is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.


I have been contacted by the Government track and trace system and have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus - what should I do?

You will need to follow the advice that has been given to you. You should also contact your manager to explain the situation and self-isolate for 14 days. 

You must self-isolate for 14 days after you were in contact with the person who has tested positive for coronavirus. This is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

Self-isolation means staying at home and not going outside your home at any time. If you live with other people, they do not need to self-isolate, but they should avoid contact with you as far as possible and follow advice on hygiene. If you do not live with other people, you should seek help from others, or delivery services, for essential activities such as food shopping. Self-isolation can be particularly challenging if you are looking after children, or if you care for vulnerable people who cannot stay with friends or family.

If you go on to develop symptoms, anyone you live with must then self-isolate and you must report your symptoms and get tested.

It is crucial that you complete your 14-day self-isolation period if you've been identified as a contact, even if you get a negative test result. This is because you may have the virus, but it cannot yet be detected by a test, so you could unknowingly spread the virus if you leave the house. Other members of your household, however, do not need to remain in self-isolation.

Further information about NHS test and trace

Managers should record it on iTrent through People Manager under Other Absence, the codes are as follows:

  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Unable to Work
  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Restricted Duties
  • Covid-19 Self-Isolating - Working Normally