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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.

Read FAQs

If you have a member of staff that has tested positive for coronavirus, they must self-isolate for 10 days and not attend the workplace, regardless of their vaccination status.

A member of the Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) service will contact them to provide the appropriate advice on how to self-isolate and to find out who they may have been in close contact with.

It is important that staff follow the advice of the TTP service especially when advised to self-isolate, as this is a legal requirement. Further advice and support on self-isolation is also available on the Welsh Government website.

Anyone that is thought to be a close contact can remain in the workplace until they are contacted by the TTP service, who will provide the appropriate advice.

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)

Staff should self-isolate at home and get a test if they have coronavirus symptoms.

Anyone that is thought to be a close contact can remain in the workplace until they are contacted by the Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) service, who will provide the appropriate advice.
It is important that staff follow the advice of the TTP service especially if advised to self-isolate, as this is a legal requirement.

Please note – there is separate Welsh Government advice available for health and social care workers and guidance has already been issued to our social care managers.

Further advice and support on self-isolation and how to get tested is available on the Welsh Government website.

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).

Shielding measures are currently paused. This means that anyone, who was previously required to shield, can go to work, if they cannot work from home, as long as the business is Covid-secure. 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.

The Welsh Government has produced guidance on protecting people defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus (COVID-19) – previously known as ‘shielding’.

 

 

 

 

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.

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 ppegeneral@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

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.

First aid during Covid-19 (.pdf)

 

Any incidents within the following categories should be reported as soon as possible;

  • Staff refusing to wear Personal Protective Equipment when carrying out their roles
  • Any form of violence and aggression (verbal or physical) related to COVID-19
  • A reckless breach of the 2 metre social distance

Reporting an incident

We have put together some ideas of wellbeing support you can offer your teams:

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 health&wellbeing@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

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.

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:

Urgent queries

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.

HR Advisor for your service area/school

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. 

  1. Nature of work/workplace e.g. community care and support services/social care/public facing/customer service/office-based/education/manual labour
  2. 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)

  3. Travel to and from work – public transport use or other means which have a lower risk of transmission.
  4. Workplace entry and exit – one-way systems or 2m distance maintained with one person in one person out at a time.
  5. Availability, need for and use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  6. Ability to maintain hand hygiene/availability of handwashing facilities or hand gel
  7. Workplace environment cleanliness control – what are the cleaner’s responsibility and what are staff expected to do
  8. Arrangements for toilet facilities and canteen use, set up of break out/lunch areas
  9. Ability to avoid symptomatic people (particular consideration in health and community/social care settings)

Request a referral

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.

Risk assessment: Expectant Mothers at Work (.pdf)

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?'

Returning staff to work checklist (.docx)

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:

Returning Employees Safely to Work guidance (.pdf)

 

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.

Pay

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

Occupational Health are continuing to take new referrals but cannot take referrals for COVID-19 related fitness for work advice.

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

Safe working practice: Homeworking (.pdf)

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.

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Page updated: 12/08/2021 13:52:10

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