Non- furloughed staff FAQs

FAQs Coronavirus – Non-Furloughed Colleagues

We are constantly reviewing our guidance and policies and the following advice is correct as of Friday 3rd April 2020. Please note as the situation progresses we will continue to review our approach and it is subject to change in the future.
On these pages, you can find answers to many of your frequently asked questions. If you have a question that’s not covered, please contact your Area Manager or the People Team.

I have Coronavirus symptoms but cannot get through to NHS 111 on the phone. What should I do?

NHS 111 website has the facility to self-triage. You can answer a set of specific questions to direct and advise you as appropriate.  Do not come into work, if you are non-furloughed Contact your Area Manager or Line Manager and follow the normal reporting procedure.

I have mild symptoms that are consistent with a coronavirus infection – what should I do?

Government advice is to self-isolate as a precaution should you experience mild symptoms of coronavirus infection, to reduce the risk of spreading any infection you may have.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus are recent onset of either:

  • A new continuous cough (this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly) or
  • High temperature (you feel hot to touch on your chest or back), or
  • High temperature and new continuous cough

Government advice is to self-isolate for a 7 day period from the onset of symptoms i.e. to stay at home and do not leave your house. If, after 7 days, you still have symptoms of a cold or flu, please continue to self-isolate and contact NHS111 online for advice. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS111.

Guidance for staying at home can be found here.

If you have very mild symptoms and are identified as non-furloughed (continuing to work) and are able to work from home, please agree this with your Area Manager and you will continue to receive your pay as normal.

If you are unwell, a non-furloughed worker or you are unable to work from home, please follow the normal absence reporting procedures, making contact with your Area Manager.

What will I be paid if I am self-isolating or have contracted Coronavirus? (Updated! 03/04/2020)

We recognise that you are all committed to doing a great job, and, as a Group together we will do what we can to limit the spread of Coronavirus. We understand that you may be concerned about the impact of any Coronavirus sickness absence on your pay and we wish to assure you that we will support you. It is important that we all follow NHS guidelines on self-isolation to support the health and wellbeing of all colleagues and customers.

If you are self-isolating, as directed by a medical professional or NHS111 advice, and you are not unwell or have very mild symptoms, we would expect you to work from home where at all possible. We will provide support to enable you to have the right equipment in place.

If you are unwell, or do not have the ability to work from home, then you will need to take sick leave.

We will make some temporary changes to our absence management policy in order to support you. You may have noticed that the government have announced that Statutory Sick Pay is payable from Day 1 for Coronavirus sickness absence. Permanent colleagues and colleagues with scheduled hours will receive your normal basic rate of pay (as sick pay) from day 1 of your absence from work for Coronavirus sickness absence, including self-isolation which has been directed by a medical professional or NHS111 advice. This will be paid irrespective of your length of service or probation completion. You must comply with the absence notification requirements detailed in your contract and in the Absence Management Policy.

For most people who are self-isolating due to having mild symptoms, it is not expected that the self-isolation period will extend beyond 14 days. However, should your symptoms continue, and you have received advice from a medical professional or from NHS111 to continue to self-isolate, or you have contracted Coronavirus, then you must not attend work and should continue to self-isolate.

It is possible that in this situation you may become a furloughed worker, in order to return another furloughed worker to replace you. If this is the case, this will be discussed with you by your Area Manager.

Will I be paid if I am told to work from home?

Yes, you will continue to receive your full pay. You will be expected to continue working but at home. If you become ill, or otherwise display the symptoms of the Coronavirus, you must contact your Area Manager and your absence will be treated as sickness absence in line with the absence management policy. There is the potential that you may become a furloughed worker in this instance, this will be discussed with you by your Area Manager or Line Manager.

I have been asked to regularly attend site and I am afraid of coming into work. (updated! 03/04/2020)

Speak to your Area Manager about your concerns. They will assess what you believe the risk to you is and ensure they consider your health & safety. You and your Area Manager may be able to decide on extra precautions that you can take. You can talk to your GP who can also advise.

How do I minimise the chance of contracting Coronavirus?

Good hygiene is key – please follow the government guidelines with regard to handwashing and social distancing.

I feel I am vulnerable if I get Coronavirus due to my own medical situation. (updated! 03/04/2020)

People over the age of 70, pregnant women and those who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine– such as those with chronic diseases– are advised to take particular care to minimise their contact with others.

If we are not aware that you fall into one of these categories, please make your Area Manager aware immediately so that the correct procedures can be adhered to.

What steps should I take if I live with and/or care for someone else who is a high risk individual?

Please share your concerns with a medical specialist or your GP. They may be able to offer advice relating to your own personal circumstances.

My child’s school has suddenly closed and I need to be at home to care for them.

Please identify any alternative and reliable childcare options that would enable you to continue to work, including sharing any childcare duties with friends/family.

It may be possible for you to work from home and/or agree a change to your working pattern – you should agree these with your Area Manage or Line Manager at the earliest opportunity. Where possible, we will be supportive of flexible working arrangements during this difficult period. Examples of this may be temporarily working different hours, working at different times of the day to usual, working on different days. Any change to working arrangements should be agreed with your Area or Line manager. We will need to ensure they work well for the business, as well as ensuring that your health and wellbeing is also supported.

If you are unable to make arrangements with your Area or Line manager, you should speak to them about using flexi time and annual leave to help you with childcare arrangements. You may also wish to request unpaid leave. We will support you with this where we can and understand that you may need to make requests for leave with short notice.

What happens if I need to take time off to look after a family member?

You should discuss this with your Area or Line manager and we may be able to offer several options that you can take such as:

  • Dependents Leave
  • Holiday
  • Unpaid Leave
  • Compassionate Leave (if the family member is seriously ill).
  • Claim owed hours such as lieu/flexi.

How do I get further information or advice?

If you wish to confidentially discuss any concerns you may have about yourself or a family member in relation to Coronavirus then you can contact the following Group resources –

Care First - you can also access information and support using our EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) run by Care First. You can download the Business App available on Our Place and access information or telephone them confidentially 24/7 on 0800 015 5630

Can I attend social events if I am self-isolating?

No, self-isolating means to stay at home and not to leave your house. This is now included in the stay at home guidance

Will my probation period be impacted if I have to take a period of leave due to self-isolation or I contract Coronavirus?

Coronavirus related absence, including self-isolation which has been directed by a medical professional, will be disregarded when reviewing absence levels during your probationary period. Your probationary period may be extended accordingly to ensure that both you and your manager have sufficient time to assess your suitability for the role. This is a temporary change to our procedure and will be subject to review.

Will I continue to be paid (new! 03/04/2020)

As a non-furloughed worker you will continue to receive your normal pay whilst you continue to carry out your work. If there are any changes to the requirement for you to work, you will be notified at the earliest available opportunity.

Will you be making me a furloughed worker? (Updated! 03/04/2020)

On 20 March 2020 the Government announced a scheme to provide all businesses with wages for employees who are furloughed. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have stated they will reimburse 80% of employees’ wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, as many companies face collapse as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. On 31/03/2020 and 01/04/2020 we wrote to all staff who were being furloughed under the retention scheme. You were identified as a key worker and are continuing to carry out your duties. Should there be any changes to our requirement for you to continue working during the site closure, this will be discussed with you at the earliest available opportunity.

I have annual leave which I have booked in the next few weeks, will I still be required to take this? (New! 03/04/2020)

You have been identified as a key worker and will be continuing to work during the site closure. If you wish to cancel or postpone any annual leave you have booked, please contact your Area Manager or Line Manager (if they have not been furloughed) to discuss the potential for re-arranging.

What happens to bank holidays? Will I continue to work these? (New! 03/04/2020)

Bank holidays will still apply for non-furloughed workers and your usual contractual arrangements will apply.

Can I contact people who are furloughed? (New! 03/04/2020)

Your colleagues who are furloughed are unable to complete any work, therefore you should not be contacting them regarding work matters. However, we encourage you to keep in touch with your colleagues and to continue to support each other during these difficult times.