MyCouncilWorks

Covid-19 advice for staff

It is understandable you have a lot of questions at this time as a result of COVID 19.  We have created this page to answer as many of them as we can.

If your question is not covered in the FAQ list below then please contact the Employee Relations Advice Line on 01546 605513 option 2 or by email on HRemployeerelationsenquiries@argyll-bute.gov.uk

This is a constantly changing situation and we will be updating this frequently and adding more questions.  Please check back regularly.

Updated Covid-19 guidance

The Scottish Government has released new ‘stay at home’ Covid-19 guidance that will impact everyone differently depending on your role.

For Council staff, including those in the HSCP (unless you are in a designated role), the following applies:

  • You are advised to stay at home if you have symptoms of Covid-19 and are too unwell to carry out normal activities.
  • If you have Covid-19 symptoms but feel well enough to attend work, you can. You no longer need to take a PCR or Lateral Flow test.
  • You do not need to self-isolate and can return to work as soon as you feel better.
  • The above also applies to school pupils.

If you work in the HSCP and have face-to-face interaction with patients and service users, the following guidance continues:

  • You will continue to do asymptomatic LFD testing twice a week and will get free access to additional LFD tests.
  • If you develop symptoms of a respiratory infection, or you do not feel well enough to attend work, you should take an LFD test as soon as possible. You must report the results to your line manager.
  • If you live in the same household, or have stayed overnight in the same household, as someone with a positive Covid-19 test, you should notify your line manager and discuss ways to reduce risk of onwards transmission.

If you are currently off work with a Covid-related absence exceeding 11 days, you will now automatically move from authorised paid leave to sickness entitlement.

Line managers – if you have an employee currently off with a Covid related absence, it is your responsibility to notify them they will be moving to sickness entitlement.

The Frequently Asked Questions section on MyCouncilWorks has been updated to reflect these changes and authorised paid leave and can be reviewed here – Covid-19 advice for staff – My Council Works

If you have any questions regarding the changes please call the HR Advice Line on 01546 605513.

 

I have symptoms of COVID – should I come to work?

 Yes you can still come to work if you have symptoms of COVID. You will only be asked to ‘stay at home’ if you have symptoms of COVID and have a fever or are too unwell to carry out normal activities.

If you can work from home then you should speak to your line manager to see if that is possible.

I don’t feel well with symptoms of COVID – should I come to work? 

If you don’t feel well then don’t come to work till you do – People who have symptoms of COVID and who have a fever or are too unwell to carry out normal activities will be asked to ‘stay at home’ while they are unwell or have a fever.

When do I need a sick line if I am absent from work with COVID or suspected COVID?

You will need to provide a sick line on day 11.

My child is unwell with symptoms of COVID– can I have paid leave to look after them?

No. If your child is unwell for any reason and you have no other childcare option, you should use annual leave/flexi leave or unpaid leave.

Children with mild symptoms of COVID who are otherwise well, can continue to attend their education setting. Mild symptoms include runny nose, sore throat or slight cough.

My child has tested positive with COVID – can I have paid leave to look after them? 

No. If your child is unwell for any reason and you have no other childcare option, you should use annual leave/flexi leave or unpaid leave.

Children with mild symptoms of COVID who are otherwise well, can continue to attend their education setting. Mild symptoms include runny nose, sore throat or slight cough.

I am pregnant and I am concerned about being at work – what should I do? 

Your line manager should conduct a risk assessment to ensure the workplace is safe and or, identify any reasonable adjustments that can be made.

For further guidance on carrying out a risk assessment, you should contact the Health and Safety team.

For advice regarding pregnant employees, please contact the HR Wellbeing team.

I was previously classed as high risk and I am concerned about being at work – what should I do? 

Your line manager should conduct a risk assessment to ensure the workplace is safe and or, identify any reasonable adjustments that can be made.

For further guidance on carrying out a risk assessment, you should contact the Health and Safety team.

I have tested positive for COVID – should I come to work?

No. If you have tested positive for COVID you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days if you are over 18 years old or 3 days if you are under 18 years old after the day you took your test, or from the day your symptoms started (whichever was earlier).

HSCP Staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 

Conditions to exit self-isolation early:

a) This will apply to Health and Social Care staff who test positive (regardless of vaccination status) either through work place LFD/ PCR testing or PCR testing due to symptoms. If a member of staff tests positive through LFD they no longer need to take a PCR test to confirm their positive status. The LFD positive test should be treated as a confirmed positive case of COVID-19.

b) All staff, should take a PCR test if they have symptoms of COVID-19, and have not received a positive LFD test. If a member of staff has symptoms and has tested positive on LFD they should be treated as COVID-19 positive and do not require a confirmatory PCR.

c) In line with guidance for the general population staff can return to work from day 7 of their self-isolation, if they have two negative LFD tests taken 24 hours apart (day 6 and day 7), and do not have a fever for 48 hours (a temperature of 38 degrees or above). For clarity if a staff member tests positive on day 6 but negative on day 7 and 8 they can return to work from day 8.

d) In addition to two negative LFD tests prior to returning to work, Health and Social Care workers should continue with their standard work place testing regime, which is to undertake daily LFD tests prior to work on working days. Staff are reminded to record results (positive, negative and void) on the portal Welcome – COVID Testing Portal (service-now.com).

e) In the event a member of staff tests LFD positive after day 10 they should stay off work and continue to take daily LFD tests until they have one negative test. If this situation of testing LFD positive prolongs then a risk assessment by the Local Health Protection Team can be undertaken.

f) Staff who can return should not work with individuals on the highest clinical risk list for the remainder of the 10 day period. The highest clinical risk groups include individuals on chemotherapy, whom are immune-suppressants such as pre/immediately post-transplant, those who have profound immune-deficiency and other high clinical risk patients who are not vaccinated. This list is not exhaustive and local line managers may determine other groups as fitting within the high clinical risk category. Staff can however be asked to return to work in roles to care for and support people who are not deemed at high clinical risk.

g) Staff should not return to work in the following circumstances:

 They have not had two negative LFD tests taken 24 hours apart

 They have or have had a fever (a temperature of 38 degrees or above) within the previous 48 hours.
 They decline to take daily LFD tests for the remainder of the 10 day period. In this circumstance they should not return to work in a physical setting and instead if feasible work from home until day 10.

HSCP Staff fully vaccinated close contact

Conditions to exit self-isolation early:

a) This applies to all Health and Social Care staff whom are identified as a contact (both household and non-household) of a positive COVID-19 case and are fully vaccinated (double vaccinated and have received booster doses 14 days prior to last exposure of case).

b) If a staff member is a contact of a case, they should undertake a PCR test, as soon as possible, upon finding out they are a contact. They should not attend health or social care settings for work while awaiting the results of the PCR test.

c) If the PCR test is negative they will not have to self-isolate and will be able to return to work within these settings. However as an additional safeguard, they will also need to take daily LFD tests for the remainder of the 10 day period. If an LFD test is positive, or the individual develops symptoms within the 10 day period, they must follow the self-isolation guidance for Index cases as detailed in point 2 of this guidance. Staff are reminded to record results (positive and negative) on the portal Welcome – COVID Testing Portal (service-now.com)

d) After the 10 day period staff should continue to take an LFD test prior to each working day as per their workplace testing regime.

e) This is the current policy position with Health and Social Care Staff and this will continue to be in place. To summarise, staff can return to work where the following conditions are met:
 They have been double-vaccinated and have received a COVID-19 booster vaccination at least 14 days prior to the last exposure to the case;
 They have had a negative PCR test where the test is taken as soon as possible after exposure;
 They have negative LFD tests on a daily basis:
 They are not currently self-isolating as a COVID-19 case or under international travel regulations;
 They do not have COVID-19 symptoms (Coronavirus (COVID-19): General advice | NHS inform);

f) If a staff member has previously tested positive by PCR for COVID-19 they should continue to LFD test. The previous requirement of not having to LFD test within 90 days of a positive test no longer applies. If a staff member tests positive on LFD or develops symptoms they should follow guidance for an index case as detailed in paragraph 2.

g) People who are participating / have participated in a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial are treated as equivalent to those vaccinated through the NHS vaccination programme. See NHS Inform for more information on COVID-19 vaccination status for clinical trial participants.

HSCP Staff unvaccinated close contact

Conditions to exit self-isolation early:

a) This applies to all Health and Social Care staff whom are identified as a contact (both household and non-household) of a positive COVID-19 case and are not fully vaccinated (meaning they have not received all three vaccination doses of).

b) If a staff member is a contact of a case, they should undertake a PCR test, as soon as possible, upon finding out they are a contact. If they are not fully vaccinated they should not attend work and should complete their 10 day self-isolation period. There is currently no option for staff who are not fully vaccinated and are identified as a contact to exit self-isolation early.

c) If a member of staff develops symptoms or tests LFD positive during their 10 day isolation period they should follow guidance for index cases as detailed in paragraph 2 of this guidance.

d) After the self-isolation period staff should continue with their workplace testing regime which includes taking an LFD each working day prior to attending work.

If you meet the conditions to end self-isolation early as detailed above, you are expected to return to work.

If you’re identified as a close contact more than once, you’ll need to have a new negative PCR test each time in order to be exempt.

Responsibility for asking staff to return to work and ensuring that the guidance is implemented in full lies with the individual line manager.

This policy will be applied when staff members are confirmed as having COVID-19 or when they are contacts of positive cases.