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FAQ’s from Cosla. Lengthy read.

 

*Throughout this document there is a live link to the NHS Inform website that you can click on at any time. Local Government Employee FAQs version 1 27.3.20
General
1. Am I a key worker?
Please see the advice from Scottish Government
https://news.gov.scot/news/supporting-coronavirus-key-workers
If in any doubt if you are a key worker, please refer to your manager.
2. My colleague works for a different local authority and is being given different advice – why is this?
While this is a national emergency led by Public Health Scotland, every local authority will be following their local business continuity plans and guidance and implementing arrangements in the context of their local authority requirements, which may differ to other Local Authorities
Terms and Conditions
3. I have contracted the virus – will I be paid?
Yes, you will be paid for any period of COVID-19 related absence as advised in SJC-61.
4. I have been advised to self-isolate – will I be paid?
Yes, you will be paid for any period of COVID-19 related absence as advised in SJC-61.
5. I have less than 6 months’ service and have a cough/fever, will I get paid?
Yes, you will be paid for any period of COVID-19 related absence as advised in SJC-61.

6. I have a casual contract, however, have worked the same regular pattern for several months. Will I be paid if my building closes and I cannot attend work?
Please discuss this with your manager. If you have worked the same pattern for a period of time and were expected to continue doing so for the foreseeable future, you should be paid for the duration of your current engagement. You should try and work from home or do alternative tasks during the engagement period where possible.
7. I am a casual worker and am symptomatic, will I get paid?
You will be paid for the duration of your current agreed working hours.
8. I work on the casual/supply list, will I get paid if my building closes?
Should a building be closed, you will be paid for the duration of your current agreed working hours. Where possible you will be expected to work from home.
9. I have been told to self-isolate as I am displaying symptoms and don’t feel fit enough to work from home, but my manager has stated I will not get paid. If I am entitled to pay will it be my normal salary or statutory sick pay?
Yes, you will currently be paid for any period of COVID-19 related absence. This will be paid at your normal rate of pay.
10.My role cannot be undertaken at home and I have volunteered to help in other areas. The role that I have been asked to do during this time is at a lower grade/salary than my substantive post – what will I be paid?
Thank you for helping out. You will be paid at your normal grade/salary.
11.I was off sick, with a different illness, prior to lockdown – what happens to my sick pay now?
Normal sick pay procedures apply. Where employees are able to return to work, they should inform their employer and follow the NHS
Inform advice.
12.Will I get rewarded for working additional hours to assist at this time?
Thank you for helping, you will either be paid or can claim time back for additional hours worked as per prior agreement with your manager. discuss with your manager payment for the additional hours you have

Attending Work
worked or agree with your manager a suitable time to take the time back.
13.I have been acting up and in receipt of additional responsibility payments – will these continue during this time?
Yes, acting up arrangements and associated payment would continue for the period agreed and you will continue to provide the higher duties, whether this is from home or working in an essential service area.
14.Am I an essential worker for the purpose of attending my place of work?
If your local authority has deemed, you to be an essential worker, you should attend work and local safeguards will be put in place. If you are uncertain, discuss with your manager or local HR team.
15.Can I be asked to work at a different building and if so, will I be appropriately compensated?
Yes, if you work in an essential service you may be asked to be flexible and work at a different building for a temporary period of time. Each local authority will have its own Additional Travel arrangements and you should speak to your line manager or local HR department about how this would apply in your circumstances.
16.I have a cough or fever, should I come to work?
You should stay at home. Follow the advice from NHS Inform.
17.What if someone I live with has been told to self-isolate because they are symptomatic?
You should stay at home. Follow the advice from NHS Inform.
18.I work in a frontline service, what should I do?
As councils, we deliver a number of frontline critical services. These need to continue to ensure vulnerable people are supported during this
very difficult time. You should continue to follow the NHS
Inform guidance. Where possible, and in line with NHS Inform guidance, we need employees in these services to continue to work and provide support. We appreciate that this will be a very difficult time for employees working in these areas and appreciate the commitment of our staff. Work will be done to identify additional support.

19.I am able to work from home, what should I do?
You should speak to your manager in the first instance, and where appropriate, arrangements will be made for you to work from home. You may be asked to return to work to assist with the provision of essential services. It is important that you ensure your manager can contact you during the period of working from home. You should also keep in regular touch with colleagues to make sure you don’t become isolated.
20.What if I have an underlying condition/am recovering from treatment?
If you have an underlying health condition or weakened immune
system, as per current NHS Inform guidance, you should not be at work. Where you can, you will be asked to undertake work from home. If you are unable to do your normal work from home, consider using the time for ongoing learning and development, there are lots of on-line resources available and special leave should be granted. It is important that you update your manager. Please keep up to date with the latest guidance on NHS Inform.
21.I am pregnant, what should I do?
You should stay at home and follow advice from NHS Inform.
22.My partner is pregnant, what should I do?
Follow the advice from NHS Inform.
23.I am currently well but people I live with have underlying health conditions which place them in a vulnerable group, what should I do?
Follow the advice from NHS Inform specifically on social distancing to protect yourself and members of your household.
24.I am currently working additional hours for which I submit a timesheet. I can continue to undertake the necessary work at home if my building is closed. Do I still submit my timesheets when/if my building closes?
If your additional hours continue to be approved by your manager, then
you can continue working them and submitting timesheets. You should ask your manager about the process for doing this if you are required to work from home.

25.Will absence resulting from COVID-19 count towards absence triggers?
No, COVID-19 absence will not be used for absence triggers; it will be recorded separately.
26.I do not have a diagnosed underlying health condition, however, I am undergoing tests for a condition that would fall under the classifications, what should I do?
Follow the advice from NHS Inform and discuss with your manager. You may be asked to undertake work from home where possible.
27.Where do I stand with retracting my notice and continuing to work with
the Council?
This is a decision for your Service and you should speak to your manager directly. There is no legal obligation on the Council to accept the retraction of your resignation. Services may consider such requests more favourably if you work in essential services that may be facing additional pressures at this time.
28.What happens if I cannot get a GP certificate? Can I self-certificate for longer?
We recognise that GPs may not be in a position to issue medical certificates straight away. If you are absent you should complete a self- certificate as normal for the first 7 days of absence, there is also a facility to obtain an on-line certificate, to ease the workload of GPs. You will find this on NHS Inform.
29.I have heard that our local Community and Leisure Trust’s facilities are closing. Why are council public offices not closing?
National guidance is that people should avoid crowded areas, large gatherings and smaller gatherings such as pubs, clubs, cinemas and gyms. There has been a very significant reduction in the number of people visiting or using Trust facilities so it makes sense for these facilities to close. Front line offices deliver critical services and support and these need to be kept open to maintain essential services for our communities.
30.Should I work from home?
Working from home is being promoted by the government to help support and limit social contact. Whilst working from home is an option, and one that we should be promoting for some services, we need to consider this alongside delivering frontline critical services. Employees

therefore need to speak to their manager about options, which will include reference to nature of service, work needing done at any particular time and equipment available to determine the best approach. As the situation evolves, it may be that you will be required to support service delivery in a different way therefore ongoing contact with your manager is critical.
31.If I am working from home, do I need to record this?
Yes, you should record this on your usual reporting systems.
32.Given pupils are not attending school, I have no childcare, what can I do?
We appreciate that this is a difficult situation and your children need cared for, however we are also needing to try and maintain our essential services and support our community where we can. We would ask that you explore if caring responsibilities could be shared with someone in your household. We recognise that asking Grandparents would be unsuitable at this time. Any support you could provide to essential services would be appreciated and will help us support the most vulnerable in our community. Where you are unable to make alternative arrangements, you should try and continue to work from home where you can or use the opportunity for on-line learning.
If you are a key worker and do not have anyone else to look after your children childcare can be provided through your local authority – please speak to your manager or local school contact about accessing this.
33.Someone in my household has an underlying condition, should I stay home with them?
Follow the advice from NHS Inform.
34.If I have self-isolated and returned to work, should I self-isolate again if another member of my family presented symptoms?
Follow the advice from NHS Inform.
35.As services work on contingency plans, can I be asked to work a
different shift pattern to allow staff to be used where they are most needed?
Yes, in the current situation we will be asking staff to be as flexible as possible. Managers will try and take into account your personal circumstances when making such requests.

36.My building is closed, what’s expected of me?
If you can work from home, then you should do this or please consider volunteering to assist other areas where you can. If none of this applies then currently paid special leave may apply. You may be asked to work at a different location.
Safety – Yours and Others
37.I work with vulnerable clients and members of the public do I need personal protective equipment (PPE) to do this?
We will be following relevant NHS guidance on this and where
providing protective equipment to those who need it.
38.I work on the front line and I am concerned about the availability of PPE – when will more supplies arrive?
We recognise the pressure on services and the need to ensure PPE is available to those who need it – we are working with the government to ensure there is adequate supply delivered. If you have a particular concern about the availability of PPE in your area please let your local managers know as soon as possible.
39.I visit clients in their home how do I know if they are infected?
Managers are making arrangements for clients to be contacted prior to home visits. Further guidance be will be available on the council website in due course.
40.I visit clients in their home and their family members are not respecting social distancing advice – can something be done about this?
Please report this to your line manager as soon as possible so that action can be taken on this.
41.If someone in the building has a suspected case, should there be any extra measures for cleaning put in place?
All councils will follow national guidance that is produced by Health
Protection Scotland for decontamination of the workplace if a suspected case is in a Council building.

42.Are we taking any precautions in terms of employees attending and leaving work i.e. taking their temperature?
We are following Health Protection Scotland guidance regarding workplaces. At the current time monitoring employees’ temperatures is not part of this guidance. Please refer to NHS Inform.
43.It is not possible to observe social distancing in the normal course of my job – what is being done to protect me in carrying out my role?
Leave Arrangements
Only the most business-critical roles will be continuing. All local authorities will be reviewing how services can best continue to be delivered or adapted to protect you and the people we serve. You
should input your ideas and suggestions to those discussions and help find solutions. Following the NHS Inform advice, regular hand washing with soap and warm water or use of a hand sanitiser, will help to reduce infection from contact with surfaces. All team members should be vigilant of any symptoms emerging and ensuring NHS Inform advice is followed. If you have particular concerns about what is happening locally please speak to your line manager in the first instance.
It is recognised that this is an area of concern and further advice is being developed by the NHS. This is therefore an area that we will return to when the further health protection advice is received.
44.I work on the front line and I am concerned about being able to stay healthy at work (e.g. getting access to fresh fruit and vegetables and the ability to get enough rest) – is anyone talking to other sectors to make sure they are able to provide us with the support we need to be able to continue to work?
Your health and wellbeing is our top priority – we are in regular dialogue with Scottish Government about ensuring you get the support you need.
45.Can I cancel pre-booked annual leave as my holiday is cancelled?
This is under constant review, please speak to your manager. It may be that you deliver a role considered critical by the Council, or
you could volunteer in an area that is considered critical, and which requires additional support.

46.I am unable to return to work as expected as my return flights have been cancelled, what happens?
It is our understanding that airlines are operating ‘rescue’ flights to get passengers back home, however we appreciate that this may be later than your original return date. In these circumstances you will be granted special leave until you arrive back in the UK. Please liaise with your manager as soon as you know of any delay. If you have an appropriate device you may still be able to work from your current location.
47.Should I be taking annual leave over this period?
Yes, it is still appropriate to take your annual leave, subject to the normal service requirements, as your wellbeing is important. Everyone must look after themselves over this difficult period.
48.My local authority allows us to purchase additional annual leave which I did before movement was restricted. Can I now cancel this?
This will depend on the arrangements in place with your local authority – please speak to your line manager or local HR team.
49.Is the annual leave year being extended or changed?
Local Authorities may give consideration to annual leave arrangements locally, which may include the leave year being extended or changed.
50.What will the position be with public holidays such as Easter during this time of ‘lockdown’?
Treatment of public holidays varies across councils. If you are not required to work on a public holiday, this should remain as a non- working day. If you are required to work the public holiday, arrangements should be agreed with you line manager over whether you receive payment or a day in lieu at another time.
Meetings
51.What should I do about meetings I have planned with others?
Where there is benefit in the meeting going ahead, this should be done by teleconference where possible to avoid non-essential travel. If a meeting is non-essential, then the meeting should be cancelled. You may wish to discuss the importance of a meeting going ahead with your manager and if you are required to meet in person, social distancing must be observed.

52.I am due to attend a meeting with other partners outwith the Council, what should I do?
Training
Many organisations are cancelling meetings or undertaking these by teleconference. If the meeting is going ahead, try to make arrangements to join the meeting by teleconference, avoid non- essential travel and ensure social distancing is observed.
53.What will happen to current HR processes such as meetings for disciplinary, grievance, etc?
Initially the meetings may be postponed, as operational plans are re-
shaped. However, thought will be given as to how such matters could continue in future, through conference call.
54.I am due to attend a council arranged training course should I attend?
All non-essential training will be cancelled, and you will be notified if this is the case. If the training is considered critical to essential services this will continue. You should still attend if required but ensure social distancing is adhered to. Consideration will be given to the best way of delivering this training.
55.I am due to attend a training course outwith the Council, which the Council has paid for should I attend?
It is likely that many external courses will also be cancelled. If it is still going ahead, you should discuss this with your manager.
56.Can I continue to access on-line courses during this period?
All on-line courses should continue to be available. Employees should use this opportunity to complete relevant courses if you have time to do so.
If external webinars are available and relevant to your role, you should also access these.
57.Will I receive the appropriate training if I volunteer?
Appropriate training will be provided for anyone volunteering to assist in the delivery of essential services.

58.I am willing to volunteer to assist with essential services how do I do this?
Each council will have its own process in place to match staff to roles/task that need to be undertaken – please speak to your line manager.
59.If I am in a non-critical role and unable to work from home is there an expectation I have to volunteer?
It is essential that we remain flexible and work cooperatively across the council and support the critical services on which our communities rely.
Your own council will issue guidance on supporting our critical services so please speak to your line manager in the first instance.
Recruitment
60.Are recruitment arrangements still going ahead during this period?
This will be locally determined. Normal recruitment may be suspended over this period. Where there is a local need to fill candidates should speak to their local recruitment manager

Posted: 27th March 2020

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