Guidance for managers / headteachers
This page provides Managers and Headteachers with the information required to manage teams and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that all managers and headteachers follow this guidance to ensure consistency in the management of our employees and workers at this challenging time. This guidance is updated on a regular basis and so you are advised to regularly check this page for the latest information as well as the page dedicated to FAQ’s for staff.
Updated advice was provided by the Welsh Government on the 22nd December 2020. An employee that falls within this group is advised not to attend the workplace. If their work can be done at home, then they are strongly advised to remain working from home.
If an employee is unable to work from home, because of the nature of their role, there may be other work they can do to support the Council. We would ask that managers speak to their staff in this situation to explore alternatives and contact the Skills and Workforce Hub to discuss deployment options. A checklist has been developed to support this conversation. Download the checklist here.
The Welsh Government website has a full list of health conditions that fall within the extremely vulnerable group and the Chief Medical Officer for Wales (CMO) will issue letters to those that are affected to confirm this new advice.
Employees falling into this group are at risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) and are advised to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. If you have an employee that falls into this group and they have concerns, please speak to them about their circumstances and about options to maximise their safety.
Visit the Gov.Wales website for a list of health conditions that fall within the "increased risk" group.
In addition to public transport, it is now a legal requirement to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces from the 14th of September.
We have developed Guidance on face coverings for our buildings and services.
You need to provide clear instructions to employees about what they are required to do and the importance of wearing a face covering. Where an employee does not comply with this instruction it is important that you establish the reason for this refusal by discussing this matter with them on a one to one basis. The Authority guidance on face coverings explains the situations where employees may be exempt or have a reasonable excuse from wearing a face covering. Please ensure you refer to this document prior to that discussion.
Some of these exemptions or reasonable excuses will not be obvious. In your role as the manager you will be required to make further enquiries into their identification. This should be undertaken with dignity and respect and on a case by case basis.
If the employee simply refuses to wear the face covering without an exemption or reasonable excuse, this may be dealt with in accordance with the disciplinary Policy and Procedure. Further advice can be sought from People Management.
Our guidance states that employees should discuss the supply of face coverings with their line manager. You can order them from the PPE General Store by e-mailing email@example.com.
We are committed to complying with legal and moral duties to provide and maintain first aid provision throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This must be achieved whilst maximising the safety of its employees, members of public and service users.
Managers should consider whether sufficient numbers of first aiders are in place and are available through their recovery planning and restarting of their services. First aiders should continue to refer to their relevant training when providing first aid and in line with the current first aid guidance, however additional measures are required to reduce the risks and spread of the virus.
The following guidance has been adopted from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and should be adopted.
We have put together some ideas of wellbeing support you can offer your teams:
- Provide staff with a list of the resources and support available (preferably in a team meeting so you can show them at the same time). We also have a list of organisations who can help with financial advice and support.
- Consider appointing someone in your team to be a Health & Wellbeing Champion
- Promote health & wellbeing messages. We also add weekly wellbeing tips on our staff news section as well as our staff newsletter.
- Ensure good communication and team building with staff, particularly if some are still working remotely.
- Maintain regular contact with your employees through Skype, Microsoft Teams or a phone call to ensure that employees feel connected and supported whilst working remotely.
- Regular team meetings
- Regular 1:1s
- E-coffees and e-stretches
- Team fun challenges e.g. our keep active challenge
- Avoid e-meeting fatigue (keep meetings short, have breaks in between, avoid lunch time meetings)
- Encourage staff to support one another by sharing information, support and tips on the Staff Forum.
- Don’t rely on staff to come to you if they are struggling, ensure regular 1:1s and let them know they can contact you at any time
- Encourage staff to complete the Mental Health in the Workplace e-learning module. We also have a Managing Mental Health in the Workplace course available for managers.
- Ensure staff are taking breaks and keep an eye on working hours, ensure they are taking leave to avoid burnout (also consider whether you are doing this yourself – lead by example)
- Consider your own wellbeing
Our Occupational Health team is continuing to provide support for staff where needed, so please continue to refer in the usual way for anything unrelated to COVID-19. If staff are feeling stress may be impacting them or their work, then it is recommended that they complete an Impact Stress Assessment.
If you would like further support for your team’s health and wellbeing (e.g. helping to determine actions, further advice on the above or having a Health & Wellbeing Coordinator attend your team meeting) then please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are asking everyone to be flexible about their annual leave so that services are not compromised. There is no ban on leave, however managers have the right to refuse or cancel leave if allowing it will have a detrimental effect on the service. We ask that managers are however mindful of the wellbeing of their employees and try to allow employees to take annual leave where possible.
There is a general relaxation of carry over of statutory leave which means that those employees who have been unable to take their leave because they have been required to support the Council’s COVID-19 effort will be able to carry over their untaken leave and use it across the following 2 leave years.
Update: Employees who have booked or intend to book holidays abroad
The government has announced that, from Monday 8 June, there will be new rules in place for entering the UK because of COVID-19. The rules are for residents as well as visitors.
This means that employees who have booked or intend to book holidays abroad from this point forward should be fully aware that they may be required to quarantine for 10 days on re-entering the UK if they have visited certain countries where this quarantine requirement is in force.
To manage the quarantine period on return, managers should explore with the employee prior to the holiday, opportunities for homeworking or potential deployment to another role to enable homeworking. Where homeworking is not a feasible option, employees should be informed that they will be required to take unpaid / flexi / annual leave to cover this period. Special leave may be considered in extenuating circumstances in line with our Time Off policy - in these cases managers are advised to seek advice from their HR Advisor.
For further details, please read the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Annual Leave Guidance in full.
It is anticipated that employees will, as far as possible within the constraints of school closures, caring responsibilities and complying with Government advice on self-isolating and social distancing, continue to perform their duties and be flexible to ensure that services continue to be provided. Personal protective equipment advice should be followed both in relation to Covid-19 and any other risks applying to the roles that employees are asked to perform. If difficulties arise with a refusal to attend work or a refusal to carry out certain duties, managers should ascertain what the concerns are, consider what, if anything, can be reasonably done to address those concerns and take action accordingly, to encourage the individual to work.
If this has been done, but the individual still refuses to attend or perform the task then this may constitute unauthorised absence or partial performance (ie where they are only prepared to carry out certain tasks rather than their full range of duties). This may be a disciplinary issue, which may justify withdrawal of pay. The manager should explain the individual’s contractual obligations and the consequences of refusing to work. If there is still no change in the individual’s position, immediate advice should be sought from HR to ensure an appropriate and consistent approach can be taken.
Our normal policies apply for re-imbursement of expenses, please visit our Expenses page for further details.
However, if the expenses are incurred because of the COVID-19 response/recovery activity then you need to remind staff to make this clear in their claim form.
If you have a member of staff deployed to another service, you will continue to be responsible for authorising the expenses claim; and making enquiries with the service manager responsible for the deployed team member, that these expenses have been during the course of the deployment.
A large proportion of our workforce will still need to travel to and from their place of work if they have been identified as a key/essential worker in the delivery of the COVID-19 response, either in a direct capacity or in a critical support capacity.
Letters were issued to key/essential workers who are required to travel to work at the start of the pandemic, which can be presented in conjunction with their Council photo ID care if stopped by the Police. If a staff member does not have a letter their Council ID photo card alone will be sufficient.
Many of our services are now restarting and departments are now assessing their staffing requirements. This will mean that service managers will be contacting Casual workers who were undertaking hours of work before the closure of services, to confirm whether there are hours of work available.
Please submit non-urgent queries by e-mail into the relevant mailboxes. This is the most efficient way of submitting your enquiry. Advisors will be checking these mailboxes throughout the day:
- HR Advisors/Employee relations: CEDutyHR@carmarthenshire.gov.uk
- Recruitment: email@example.com
- Attendance management: HRAbsenceteam@carmarthenshire.gov.uk
- Resource link system maintenance, advice and reports: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Job evaluation: email@example.com
- Payroll queries: CRPayroll@carmarthenshire.gov.uk
In those circumstances where you consider it necessary to obtain direct HR advice you should contact the HR Advisor for your service area or school. Most advisors will be working from home so, whilst phone extensions are being diverted to mobile numbers or landlines, the preferred method of audio communication is to call via Microsoft Teams.
All employees returning to the workplace should complete the individual risk assessment and discuss the outcome with their manager. If, following completion of the risk assessment it is identified that the employee requires a referral to Occupational Health, please provide the following details under the ‘Adjustments’ section.
- Nature of work/workplace e.g. community care and support services/social care/public facing/customer service/office-based/education/manual labour
- Work organisation:
- Ability to maintain social distancing at work >2m (required proximity to work colleagues and service users and pupils)
- Number of different people sharing the workplace – is there a rota of employees attending the workplace/number of service users and staff/number of pupils and staff)
- Travel to and from work – public transport use or other means which have a lower risk of transmission.
- Workplace entry and exit – one-way systems or 2m distance maintained with one person in one person out at a time.
- Availability, need for and use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Ability to maintain hand hygiene/availability of handwashing facilities or hand gel
- Workplace environment cleanliness control – what are the cleaner’s responsibility and what are staff expected to do
- Arrangements for toilet facilities and canteen use, set up of break out/lunch areas
- Ability to avoid symptomatic people (particular consideration in health and community/social care settings)
Expectant Mothers have been included in the moderate-risk group (clinically vulnerable). The NHS has provided useful guidance on Pregnancy and Coronavirus, this should be shared with the expectant mothers. In addition, we have undertaken a risk assessment to support Managers in considering the risks associated with the work they undertake during COVID-19. The Risk Assessment also includes advice and recommendations for managers to consider and action as appropriate. Managers should adapt this risk assessment to suit the role undertaken by the expectant mother.
If a member of your team is experiencing childcare issues our Time Off Policy may provide workable options such as flexi, annual or unpaid leave. You can also advise them to visit the Family Information Service website for a list of providers in Carmarthenshire.
During Covid-19 we can also consider paid time off parental leave for a child in self-isolation / clinically extremely vulnerable child that is shielding / school closure during tier 4 lockdown. Further information can be found on our HR pages
Government guidance continues to require employees to work from home wherever possible and so you are reminded that your staff should continue to work from home unless it is not possible to do so. However, over the coming months, as lockdown restrictions are eased, some of your staff may be required to return to work or the workplace as part of the service recovery planning process.
For staff returning to the workplace, their safety is paramount and so we have published guidance on social distancing measures in our buildings and depots. This information sets out the measures being taken by the Council and, because each of us has a responsibility to help reduce the risk of transmission, it provides guidance on the actions all your staff will need to take to ensure safe working practices in the workplace.
You will need to prepare your staff for a return to work, or a return to their substantive role if they have been deployed to support critical services. To support this process, we have developed a checklist for you, which provides pointers on what you need to discuss with your team and individual team members.
Advice in relation to staff that have been unable to work, either because they have been advised to “shield” for medical reasons, are more vulnerable to illness if they were to contract COVID-19 or live in a household with someone from one of these groups, can also be found under the tab 'How are we helping non-working staff return to work?'
During the COVID-19 there are a number of employees who have been unable to work either because they have been advised to “shield” for medical reasons, fall into the “vulnerable” category, ie. have chronic health issues, are aged 70 years + or are pregnant which make them more vulnerable if they were to contract COVID-19 or live in a household with someone from one of these groups.
Now that Government advice is changing and lockdown measures are being relaxed the Council is moving into the recovery phase and restarting some of its services, we will need to rely more than ever on our entire workforce to support service delivery.
Therefore the HR team has been contacting staff who have been unable to work up until now to discuss their personal circumstances and the potential for them to return to work either from home, deployed to suitable alternative work via the Skills and Workforce Hub or to their normal workplace with appropriate safeguards.
Download a copy of our 'Returning Employees Safely to Work' guide to find out what your responsibilities are as a manager, as well as what conversation our HR advisers will conduct with your staff depending on their circumstance:
If a member of staff, who is a member of the reserve forces, has been called for duty, we have information on what they are expected to do on our FAQs page.
If we believe that the employee's absence due to military service is likely to do "serious harm" to the organisation, we may apply for an exemption, deferral or revocation of mobilisation. We will only seek an exemption, deferral or revocation in exceptional circumstances. Reservist employees will not be paid by the authority whilst mobilised as they will be paid Military pay during this time. Regardless of the length of the military action, the mobilised reservist has the right to be reinstated in his/her former job within six months of demobilisation.
Further information can be found within our Time off policy, which is accessible externally from any device. If you need any further advice, please speak with your HR Advisor.
Our Officer’s Code of Conduct defines the standards required of all staff that work for Council - this continues to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In term so of secondary employment, 'any paid or unpaid work undertaken in addition to your work at the Council' – the following applies:
- The employee must discuss the matter with you and get agreement before accepting an offer of secondary employment. This also needs to be agreed by the Assistant Chief Executive.
- Following agreement, the employee must declare any secondary employment using our declaration of interest form.
- You must ensure the work does not conflict with their role and interests of the Council.
- You need to ensure that Working Time Regulations are complied with, which govern the total number of hours a person can safely work. Speak to your HR Adviser if you need further advice on this.
- Secondary employment must not be undertaken during Council time - this includes marketing and promoting the services of the secondary employment.
- Council resources or information must not be used to undertake the secondary employment - this includes IT equipment.
It is essential that at all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related absences are entered via the MyView account as soon as they are reported. Read our guidance on recording and monitoring absence due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
You will have employees who are still attending their place of work and employees who are working at home. The following guidance applies in both instances:
Any member of staff who is required to self-isolate should:
- Call their manager as early as possible to report that they are self-isolating.
- If they’re well enough to work and are homeworking, they should continue to work from home.
- If they’re not well enough to work or their role is not suitable for homeworking, then they must not attend work for the duration of the isolation period.
- A GP’s ‘fit note’ will not be required for the 10-day isolation period.
- If an employee is symptomatic beyond the 10-day self-isolation period they are advised to seek a ‘fit note’ from day 11 of absence from their GP.
- It is important that managers continue to provide appropriate support to employees through the Authority’s sickness absence procedures currently as we continue to have a duty of care to our employees.
An employee who is unwell and prevented from attending work because of coronavirus is entitled to receive normal pay. The first 10 days of sickness absence due to coronavirus, ie. the initial 10-day self-isolation period, shall not be reckoned against the employee’s entitlements under the sickness pay scheme.
Normal sick pay arrangements will apply from the 11th day of absence if the employee continues to be unwell. During the 10-day self-isolation period there is no requirement for self/medical certificates to be submitted. A ‘fit note’ is required from the 11th day of absence from their GP.
Sickness absence triggers
In terms of triggers, any coronavirus sickness absence reported and recorded against the coronavirus code during the first 12 weeks of absence following the onset of coronavirus symptoms does not count towards the triggers for instigating formal processes. This includes a continuous or discontinuous absence period(s) of sickness absence within this 12-week period.
Occupational Health are continuing to take new referrals but cannot take referrals for COVID-19 related fitness for work advice.
As of the 7th April 2020, Welsh Government has introduced Guidance to all Employers to ensure that we put in place reasonable measures so that our staff can maintain a physical distance of 2 metres in the workplace. Physical distancing is intended to supplement a range of other actions being taken to help minimise risk. These include staying away from others when exhibiting symptoms, working from home where practicable, erecting barriers between people where suitable or wearing personal protective equipment where guidance says it is necessary.
The Welsh Government is clear that if physical distancing can be achieved, it will play a part, along with other actions, to minimise community transmission; but if physical distancing is not a reasonable measure in the particular workplace context, then it is not a requirement. Whether it is a reasonable measure will depend on the nature of the workplace.
Our Health and Safety team is working closely with managers to ensure compliance with this new requirement and ensure all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace. Further information can be found on the gov.wales website.
For further information, and to find out what measures are required to maintain safe working practices in the council’s office and depot buildings in order to reduce the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace:
As you would expect in the circumstances, contingency plans have been developed to ensure that we are able to keep our critical services going throughout a time when our workforce may be depleted because of illness and/or self-isolation. We anticipate that our workforce will support each other and their services during these unprecedented times and will also be prepared to help in other critical service areas if required. This is to ensure that we continue to support the most vulnerable in our community and our NHS colleagues.
A skills audit has been undertaken and we are asking you to work with your staff and trade unions to identify and enable swift and effective deployment to critical work areas if required.
All deployment should be done on a voluntary basis wherever possible unless the duties you are asking the employee to undertake are the same or similar to those they undertake in their current role. If your staff are available and interested in supporting colleagues that work in our critical services, they can complete the Skills Questionnaire.
We are responding to the Covid-19 crisis in a number of innovative ways to, help you our Managers and Headteachers, help the wider community, especially our most vulnerable residents, by ensuring our critical services continue to be provided.
To help us do this, we have now established the Skills & Workforce Hub, which means Managers / Headteachers will be able to access the critical skills needed to keep key services running. The support is being drawn from within our existing workforce, those that are not already in a key role but have come forward and offered to support our critical services. The Hub will support Managers / Headteachers by deploying people quickly and efficiently based on their availability, skills and service requirements.
The Hub will ensure that staff are supported by providing:
- Relevant critical skills
- Clarity about the role & what is required
- Clear reporting instructions with follow up checks for skills development & the individuals wellbeing
If you manage a critical service that is struggling to meet demand, the team working in the Hub will be able to help you find the right person with the required skills, with minimal delay. The Senior Leadership Team (Gold) require all Managers / Headteachers to use this service for deploying colleagues to cover critical service needs. To access this service you will need to complete a Workforce Resource request.
If you would like to discuss your requirements having completed your request, please contact the team by e-mailing StaffHub@carmarthenshire.gov.uk. The Skills and Workforce Hub staff will also be contactable by telephone on 01267 246171.
If an employee or a member of their household develops symptoms of cough, fever or change in sense of taste or smell, they must book a test for Coronavirus promptly to help control the spread of infection. They can do this by phoning 191. Further information is available at hduhb.nhs.wales
They and their household must self-isolate while waiting for the result of their test. If they test positive for Covid-19 they should continue to self-isolate for 10 days. From the 10th December 2020, other household members, including those who do not have any symptoms, must stay at home and not leave the house for 10 days.
Everyone is urged to only get a test if they have one of these symptoms, unless otherwise professionally advised to (for example those regularly tested by their employer).
Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus is available on Gov.wales.
Ensure the employee is aware that it is their responsibility to keep you updated with their general health and test results during this time. Results will be sent back directly to the employee within 72 hours.
It is your responsibility as a line manager to ensure you keep Resourcelink updated daily.
Full guidance on what to do if an employee displays symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19 has been developed.
The Welsh Government Test Trace and Protect strategy was launched on 1st June 2020. This is a national health protection initiative to support the fight against Covid-19 transmission within our community. The basic principles being that if an individual tests positive for Covid-19 they will be contacted by a member of the contact tracing team to establish who they have been in contact with and these individuals will be contacted by the contact tracing team to assess the risk and advise them to self-isolate.
Guidance on what to do if an employee displays symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19 has been developed.
Government guidance continues to require employees to work from home and so your staff should continue to do so wherever possible. As the timeline for the initial phase of this advice was unknown, temporary arrangements for home working have been implemented. At present, there is no indication on the timescale for re-setting office-based services and this means the authority is moving into a longer-term homeworking arrangement. We have developed further guidance to support these temporary arrangements, which can be found on our Working from home guidance page. This guidance sets out our approach to temporary homeworking.
It is important to keep in contact with staff when they are working from home as it can feel isolating for some. One of your main considerations must be the wellbeing of your staff:
- Agree to check in often so you can maintain relationships and tackle challenges together. Any difficulties can be flagged up as early as possible.
- Work with your teams to talk through what’s ok and what’s not ok when it comes to getting the job done remotely and talk to them on what you’re expecting from them and vice versa.
- Because employees can feel guilty about not being present at the office, they can work longer hours and go further to deliver more when working remotely.
- Keeping in touch frequently and setting clear boundaries and expectations with your team will help you to avoid the risk of burnout.
Watch our video for further tips on how to successfully lead a team remotely.
Managers are responsible for their employees, including whilst working from home. We have developed guidance to be used by managers to assist in making all appropriate measures and reasonable adjustments to reduce the risks to employees working from home. You should:
- Discuss with your employees their current work set-up at home; and keep a record of the equipment they have.
- Inform the employee to complete the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Self-Assessment E-Form;
- Identify any risk areas / issues that require attention / action;
- Document the discussion, additional measures or adjustments that may be required on the DSE E-Form;
- Arrange suitable and appropriate timescales to keep in touch with their employees;
- Monitor and review the working arrangement at regular intervals.
- Contact health and safety for advice, if there are any concerns or issues that are not covered in this guidance CE Health and Safety CEHealthandSafety@carmarthenshire.gov.uk
Please refer to our 'Safe Working practice' for assistance on what can be implemented to support your staff. This includes:
- Useful points to consider during your discussion
- Ideas on how to resolve problems/issues
- Wellbeing considerations
- Ordering of equipment
- Collection /delivery of equipment
If school buildings are closed because of the pandemic and an employee is experiencing childcare difficulties, please refer to our HR pages where we have a range of options available. We have also developed a checklist which will help you and your employee agree the best solution.
Schools will provide Education at School for children of critical workers as well as vulnerable children where necessary.
The Welsh Government guidance on which occupations fall within the ‘critical’ worker list can be found at gov.wales. If an employee believes their occupation falls within the critical worker list and is experiencing Education at Home difficulties, they can contact their school. If required, their Council ID badge can be used to provide proof of eligibility.
Page updated: 13/01/2021 10:06:51