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Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Latest Information

Coronavirus - Latest Information

Coronavirus all staff FAQs

FAQs updated at 1pm on Wednesday 15 April

To help you find the answer to your question more easily, we've grouped our FAQ’s by topic areas. Please check back regularly for our latest updates. 

  1. Working arrangements
  2. Homeworking
  3. Pay and contracts
  4. Maximising attendance and sick pay provisions
  5. Annual leave provisions
  6. Disciplinary and appeals procedures
  7. Other helpful guidance

1.  WORKING ARRANGEMENTS

Am I a key worker?

Your manager will already have advised you if you are a key worker. Key workers are those who are essential to continuing to deliver services during Covid-19.  If you’re unsure you should speak with your manager immediately to clarify this.

Can I volunteer to be a key worker?

Yes. We’re encouraging employees to volunteer to help maintain the vital services that the Glasgow City Council family delivers across the city everyday with roles available in public health, social care and education. You’ll receive appropriate training to allow you to perform the role and you’ll be paid your normal salary. We've put together information on how you can register for volunteering opportunities.

I have been advised I’m a non-essential worker, what does this mean?

This means that you’re not required to support delivery of our key activities and you should follow government advice in relation to isolation and social distancing. It doesn’t mean that we don’t need you still to be doing a job, if you’re able to.

Your manager will already have discussed and agreed your working arrangements with you, for example home working and any work you’re able to do during this time if this is possible. If you’re unsure what you should be doing, you should speak with your manager to clarify this.

I’m pregnant, should I be working?

Your health and wellbeing is the priority at this time and you should be following NHS Inform guidance on social distancing. You should not be working unless you’re able to do so from home.

Your manager should have discussed this with you taking into account your individual circumstances. If this has not happened then you should speak with them immediately to clarify this.

I’m pregnant and have been sent home, am I now on maternity leave?

If you are pregnant and have been sent home you will not automatically be placed on maternity leave. You will move on to maternity leave at any point you choose, up to 11 weeks before your baby is due. You should continue to keep in contact with your manager and notify them when you wish to commence your maternity leave.

I’m over 70, should I be working?

Your health and wellbeing is the priority at this time and you should be following NHS Inform guidance on social distancing. You should not be working unless you’re able to do so from home. Your manager should have discussed this with you taking into account your individual circumstances. If this has not happened then you should speak with them immediately to clarify this.

I have an underlying health condition, or I’m currently undergoing diagnosis for one, should I be working?

Your health and wellbeing is the priority at this time and you should be following NHS Inform guidance on social distancing. You should not be working unless you’re able to do so from home. Your manager should have discussed this with you taking into account your individual circumstances. If this has not happened then you should speak with them immediately to clarify this.

I have been advised I fall under the shielding category, should I be working?

Your health and wellbeing is the priority at this time and you should be following NHS Inform guidance on social distancing. You should not be working unless you’re able to do so from home. Your manager should have discussed this with you taking into account your individual circumstances. If this has not happened then you should speak with them immediately to clarify this.

I live with someone who is pregnant/vulnerable/over 70/has an underlying health condition or is shielding should I attend work?

If you're an essential employee you should attend work. We understand this will be a concerning time for you; your manager should have discussed this with you and agreed an outcome taking into account your individual circumstances. If this has not happened then you should speak with them immediately to clarify this.

I’m a key worker and have dependents relying on me at home, should I be working?

You should speak with your manager regarding your circumstances to identify if/how we can support you to allow you to attend work. If you’re a key worker with children and have nobody to look after them then your local authority will be providing provision for your childcare and you should check with them about how they can support you. 

I’m a non-essential worker and have dependents relying on me at home. What support will there be for parents/guardians during school closures?

We appreciate your responsibilities to your dependents and it's important that you're able to support them as you need to. We have agreed that employees will be able to use five days paid special leave during Covid-19 to help them make arrangements for childcare etc. 

If, after the five days has been utilised, further support is required, we will work with you on a case by case basis to find a solution which does not place you in financial detriment.

Your manager will already have discussed and agreed your working arrangements with you, for example home working and any work you're able to do during this time if this is possible. If you're unsure what you should be doing or your position changes, you should speak with your manager immediately.

Do I have to return to work after my period of self-isolation?

If you have finished the advised period of self-isolation, you should contact your line manger to discuss your return to work plan. In line with government guidance, the majority of Glasgow Life staff are currently working from/staying at home.

How long do I need to self-isolate for?

The maximum incubation period is 14 days and starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. If you live with others and you are the first in your household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for seven days.

If anyone else in your household starts displaying symptoms then they should stay at home for seven days from the day their symptoms appeared and regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

Household members who remain well should still stay in self-isolation for a full 14 days, calculated from day one of the first symptomatic person in your household.

Do I need to self-isolate if I have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed as having Covid-19?

The current guidance is for you to self-isolate only if you are experiencing Covid-19 related symptoms or a member of your household is.

Who should be social distancing and how long should I be social-distancing for?

It is not currently known how long social distancing will last. We will continue to update you following government guidance. Social distancing measures are for everyone, including children. We should all be trying to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

 Social distancing measures should be used when people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers.

My family member’s carer is self-isolating and I now need to take over caring?

Speak to your line manager to discuss support or specific arrangements which can be put in place, taking into account your individual circumstances.

Will I need to change how I work?

 

This is a national public health emergency and we all need to be flexible. Glasgow City Council is working at speed to create resilience around the city’s essential services. We will inform you of any updates about the essential services the Council provides and you may be asked to support these. Additionally each service and ALEO is considering its own Business Continuity Plan.While we intend to be consistent about how we respond to this, there will clearly be some local circumstances which need to be dealt with.

2.  HOMEWORKING

I have been advised to work from home, what does this mean?

This is to ensure you’re able to follow the NHS Inform guidance on social distancing. Your manager will already have discussed and agreed your working arrangements with you and any work you’re able to do at home during this time. If you’re unsure what you should be doing, you should speak with your manager immediately to clarify this.

Can I work from home?

Government guidance to reduce the spread of the virus is for anyone who can work from home to do so. Please discuss this with your line manager.

I have a disability with adjustments in the workplace and have been advised to work from home, what support is available?

Your health and wellbeing is the priority at this time. You should have discussed this with your manager and agreed if you’re able to work from home, how we can support you to make this happen, taking into account your individual circumstances. If this has not happened then you should speak with them immediately to clarify this. 

This guidance from disability charity SCOPE on home working might also be of interest. Our Employee Assistance Provider, Workplace Options, can also provide support and guidance (contact details are included in the ‘Other Helpful Guidance’ section of the end of these FAQs).

Can I access GOLD and other training materials whilst I am at home?

Yes, there are some great online resources available to keep everyone learning over the coming weeks. Whether you’re at home or work, on a Glasgow Life device or your own personal tablet or smart phone – learning is accessible from most devices. We've put together step-by-step guidance on accessing and navigating the GOLD portal from home.

Do I still need to attend pre-booked Glasgow Life training courses?

No. All Glasgow Life corporate training courses have now been cancelled until the end of May. If you have any training related questions or concerns, please email james.conaghan@glasgowlife.org.uk.

If I am working from home, how can I ensure my laptop is connected to the network at least every 4 weeks?

CGI has confirmed that password resets are now no longer required on laptops. This removes the need for users to connect to the network to update Windows passwords. Currently there is no technical requirement for users to return to a site to connect their device to receive the latest security updates. The risks around this are being assessed regularly by the Information Security Board.

How can equipment be shared to enable home working?

We have a finite number of laptops and mobile devices. Managers are currently reviewing how these are allocated across the organisation to prioritise essential services, such as payroll. We may ask you to give up a laptop or phone. Please be flexible if you are asked to hand over any equipment.

I want to work from home but don’t have access to my work emails, can I use my personal email account instead?

For security reasons personal email accounts must not be used to share any sensitive or confidential business information. You should discuss and agree any home working arrangements with your manager.

3.  PAY AND CONTRACT

Will I be paid during Covid-19?

Yes, we aim to continue to pay employees in line with their contractual arrangements on the normal pay dates. This includes payments for contractual overtime, non-standard working pattern and work context and demand payments.

I’m working during Covid-19, will I get paid for additional hours?

Yes, for employees working additional hours pay will remain in line with contractual arrangements. Should you have any queries please discuss this with your manager.

I work additional hours on a regular basis, will I receive payment in recognition of this?

We are aware that some employees work regular additional hours whilst others work additional hours on an ad-hoc basis. In conjunction with Glasgow City Council, we will be reviewing where additional hours have been worked on a regular basis and will work with the service areas and trade unions to seek feedback on any arrangements that may be put in place. Further information will be made available in due course.

I am currently receiving a responsibility payment, will this continue?

If you are continuing to do this work then this payment will continue in line with what has been agreed.  Your manager should clarify the position with you, if you are unsure you should speak with them to clarify. 

I am a bank / casual / sessional worker, what will I get paid during this time?

As your hours vary we will pay you your average salary based on your earnings during the previous 12 weeks. Payments will be made on the basis that you remain available to work should Glasgow life require you for business critical activities. For this purpose, it is essential you provide your contact details to your manager. If you have any questions you should speak to your line manager.

I am an agency worker, what will I get paid during this time?

We appreciate the work you’re doing and we have agreed to extend agency workers’ arrangements with us until the end of June 2020. We’re currently working with agencies to finalise this. Whilst this is happening you should continue to work in line with your manager’s instructions and speak to them about any concerns you have.   

I have a deduction coming off my salary for purchased annual leave, can I cancel this?

Our focus from a payroll perspective at this time is to continue to pay employees their core pay. We may review this position post Covid-19.

I have a deduction coming off my salary for childcare vouchers, can I cancel this?

You can manage the amount you’re sacrificing from your salary or cancel your vouchers through your online account at www.kiddivouchers.co.uk. This would be processed in your next pay and full details will be advised through your Kiddivoucher account.

Due to Government changes in childcare vouchers rules, if you cancel your account you will not be able to start it again. If you will continue to need your vouchers after Covid-19, you should reduce the amount you sacrifice and not cancel your account. 

Will the 2020/21 pay increase be applied?

Yes this will be processed into pay on Tuesday 7 April 2020. 

I have a query about my pay, what should I do?

Our priority is to ensure all employees receive their core pay. We are asking employees only to raise pay queries where they are really needed. If your query relates to overtime payments then this will be rectified in your next pay. If it is necessary to raise a pay query, please discuss this with your line manager.

I am on a temporary or fixed term contract, how will I be impacted?

Generally we have extended these arrangements until the end of June and your manager will discuss your position with you in due course. If you have any concerns, please raise these with your manager.

I am a portal user, and view my payslip on line. Will a paper copy be sent to me whilst I am not able to access the portal?

If you normally receive a paper copy of your payslip to your home address you will continue to receive this. If you normally use the HR Portal to view your payslip you should continue to do so. If you don’t currently have access to My Portal from a council device then you will be able to view backdated pay slips when you do get access. Unfortunately, there is no option to send a paper version to you. If you have any queries about your pay, you should speak to your line manager.

4.  MAXIMISING ATTENDANCE AND SICK PAY PROVISIONS

I have contracted Covid-19, will I get sick pay?

Yes, the priority is your health and wellbeing and you will receive your full contractual pay.  We will not count any Covid-19 related absence as part of our absence management procedures or towards full or half sick pay entitlements. You should keep in contact with your manager to update them on your situation.

I am self-isolating, will I get sick pay?

Yes, the priority is your health and wellbeing and you will receive your full contractual pay.  We will not count any Covid-19 related absence as part of our absence management procedures or towards full or half sick pay entitlements. You should keep in contact with your manager to update them on your situation.

I am absent due to illness which isn’t Covid-19 related, how will this be handled?

Our normal maximising attendance and sick leave provisions will apply in these circumstances for both new non-Covid-19 absences and absences which started before Covid-19.

How do I report my absence?

If you are unable to attend work because you are self-isolating or ill due to Covid-19, please report this to your line manager in the usual way. Managers should send a daily update for their area to the HR team at ERGL@glasgowlife.org.uk.

How will managers record my absence?

The absence management portal has been updated to include Covid-19:

  • If the employee is a MyPortal user, the manager will update accordingly;
  • If the employee is a non-portal user, the manager should state on the weekly absence return if someone has Covid-19 or is self-isolating;
  • Clarification will be given on how to record an employee who is social distancing as soon as possible.

Will I still be paid if my absence is Covid-19 related?

If you fall into one of the categories set out on the Government’s website of high-risk groups and have been advised by your manager to stay at home, have contracted Covid-19, or are self-isolating, you will be paid. Your absence will not:

  • Be counted against your sick leave entitlement;
  • Be used in connection with any absence management process.

 Do employees need to provide a Fit Note when absent because of the Covid-19 situation?

Under Glasgow Life’s Maximising Attendance Policy, you are able to self-certificate for the first seven days of your absence.  Anyone who is following official guidance to self-isolate for more than seven days and is unable to work should obtain an isolation note using NHS 111 online.     

If you have to stay at home but feel well enough to work and can work from home, you will not need an isolation note. No isolation note or fit note is required for social-distancing although any unexplained or unauthorised absence may be considered under the company’s discipline and appeals procedure.

If you are absent, you are still required to maintain contact with your manager, on days 1, 4, 7 and every seven days thereafter.

If you are absent through a reason other than Covid-19, normal absence reporting procedures apply, and from day eight you should seek to provide a fit note. Due to current demand on the NHS however, a GP may not be able to provide you with a fit note, and Glasgow Life will consider extending the period of self-certification, as well as accepting fit notes retrospectively.

I have been self-isolating and I’m due to return to work, what should I do?

You should advise your manager that you're now fit to return to work as they'll want to ensure you're okay to return and update you on the situation for your area. If you're a key worker you'll normally return to your normal work location; if there's any change to this then your manager will discuss this with you. If you're a non-essential worker then you should discuss and agree your working arrangements with your manager.

I am due to return to work after a period of illness (Covid-19 or other illness), what should I do?

You should advise your manager that you're now fit to return to work as they'll want to ensure you're okay to return and update you on the situation for your area. If you're a key worker you'll normally return to your normal work location; if there's any change to this then your manager will discuss this with you. If you're a non-essential worker then you should discuss and agree your working arrangements with your manager.

5.  ANNUAL LEAVE PROVISIONS

I have leave booked which was approved before Covid-19, does this still stand?

It's important that all employees take approved leave to ensure their own health and wellbeing and our focus is on making this happen. In the rare circumstance where your annual leave will need to be cancelled or amended, this will be in discussion with your line manager. We are currently waiting for more detailed guidance on this from the Council Family, and will update you shortly.

Am I able to make leave requests during this time?

Yes, you should agree this with you manager in the normal way. We are currently finalising our guidance on leave provisions during Covid-19 and will update on this soon.

6.  DISCIPLINARY AND APPEALS PROCEDURES

Are the disciplinary procedures still valid during this time?

Disciplinary action is always a last resort for us. Our procedures are designed to ensure that we treat every employee in a fair and consistent way and allow us to deal with unsatisfactory standards of performance and behaviour. Our procedure will still be valid during this time, and while it is unlikely that we will be able to meet any recommended timescales we will do all that we can as quickly as we can to bring things to a conclusion. You should speak with your manager or your trade union representative should you have any concerns. 

I am involved in an ongoing disciplinary case which started before Covid-19, what will happen with this?

Unfortunately progression of this may be delayed. Dependent upon the stage of the procedure, the investigating, disciplinary or appeal hearing officer should already have been in touch with you to provide an update. You should speak with them or your trade union representative if this has not happened.

7.  OTHER HELPFUL GUIDANCE

Will things change for me as the pandemic progresses?

This is an unprecedented and unknown situation and we aim to keep employees fully informed of the overall picture for the organisation and how this will impact you as things progress. Your manager will maintain regular contact with you; if you have any concerns you should raise these with your manager first.

I am worried about this situation, where can I get support?

It’s an unknown time for everyone and it’s understandable that you’re worried. You should speak with your manager or trade union representative about any concerns you have. 

You and your family members can also access our Employee Assistance Provider, Workplace Options, by telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week on (freephone) 0800 247 1100.

You can also access services at www.workplaceoptions.com with the user name GCC and the password Employee or watch their webinar Keep calm and carry on maintaining your composure during the coronavirus outbreak’ .

The national Covid-19 helpline is also available on 0800 028 2816.

What are the high risk groups and what constitutes a significant underlying health condition?

The government has released the following list of high-risk groups and underlying health conditions that may place someone at higher risk. This list may not be exhaustive:

Those who are pregnant;

Aged over 70 (regardless of medical conditions);

Under 70 with an underlying health condition (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds) such as:

  • chronic (long term) 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, a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Problems with your spleen – for example sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • Being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)

People who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication;

People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy;

People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment;

People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets);

It is important for staff to highlight any underlying health conditions to their line manager.

What if one of my colleagues is unwell, with a cough and/or high temperature and refuses to go home?

Government guidance is that anyone with a new cough and/or fever should stay at home and self-isolate for seven days, regardless of how mild the symptoms are. It is very important to stop the spread of the virus. If you have concerns that colleagues aren’t following the government guidance you should speak to HR by emailing ERGL@glasgowlife.org.uk.

Is there anything I should be doing to make the work place as safe as possible?

Public health authorities have published general principles organisations and individuals can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including Covid-19, and support targeted measures:

  • Ensure that all members of the organisation are aware of the requirement to self-isolate if they develop symptoms and support them in doing this;
  • Consider staggering start and finish times to reduce commutes at high volume travel times;
  • Recommend routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces (e.g. telephones, keyboards, door handles, desks and tables);
  • Promote hand hygiene by making sure that staff, contractors, service users and visitors have access to hand washing facilities;
  • Ensure any crockery and cutlery in shared kitchen areas is cleaned with warm general purpose detergent and dried thoroughly before being stored for re-use.

What is the difference between self-isolating, social distancing and shielding?

Self-isolating is what you should do if you, or members of your household develop symptoms of Covid-19. For the most up-to-date advice, visit NHS Inform online.

Social-distancing is not the same as self-isolating; social-distancing is required by everyone to minimise unnecessary social contact. If you have the capability to work from home, we may ask you to do so. Should you develop symptoms while social distancing, please tell your line manager who will record you as self-isolating.

Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus, by minimising all interaction between them and others. Those who are extremely vulnerable will have received a letter from NHS Scotland advising them to shield for 12 weeks, which means not leaving their homes and minimising all non-essential contact with other members of their household for a 12-week period.

ENDS