Coronavirus - Managers' Guidance

Everyone who can do their job from home must continue to do so and services which cannot be delivered remotely or in line with recent Scottish Government Guidelines may remain reduced or temporarily stood down 

CoreHR Recording

To assist with the monitoring of Coronavirus, there is a requirement for all managers to use CoreHR to record staff who are unable to undertake their normal role or attend their normal place of work during the outbreak. This means that we have accurate information, on a day-to-day basis, about where people are working, whether they have symptoms, and if they are self-isolating.

To assist with decision making on staff presenting with symptoms or underlying medication conditions, please see Managers Decision Tree

Any team members performing alternative working arrangements need to update CoreHR using the leave types and reasons below (or you can do this on their behalf):

Leave Type

Reasons

Description

Sick Leave – COVID

 

COVID – Symptoms

To be used where an individual has symptoms and is unfit to work due to COVID-19

Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID

COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms

COVID – Service Closure

COVID – Underlying Medical Condition

COVID – Shielding

To be used where an individual is unable to work from home or in an alternative way but is impacted by COVID-19

COVID – Working from Home

COVID – Alternative to normal work 

COVID – Caring Responsibilities 

COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms

COVID – Underlying Medical Condition

COVID – Shielding

To be used where an individual is able to undertake work from home or in an alternative way but is impacted by COVID-19

COVID – Temp Movement of Staff

Undertaking temporary duties only

Full contracted role & temp duties

Partial contracted role & temp duties

To be used where an individual has been temporarily reallocated to undertake alternative work

Manager FAQs

Guidance from Cosla

These FAQs have been developed in order to provide managers with the latest operational guidance during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.  If you have a query which has not been answered in these FAQs, please contact the Employee Relations team.

All information and FAQs on this page is in line with Cosla guidance.  

Symptoms and protecting vulnerable people

Please refer to the Managers Decision Tree for employees who develop symptoms while at home.

Common symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature or fever, a new continuous cough or a loss or changed sense of smell or taste.   If an employee displays either of these symptoms at work, they should:

  • go home as soon as they notice symptoms and follow the stay at home guidance and self-isolate for 10 days minimum.
  • They should note that any household members will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from this point.
  • Where possible they should minimise contact with others i.e. use a private vehicle to go home. If it is not possible to use private transport, then they should be advised to return quickly and directly home.
  • If possible, a household member could pick them up; the whole household will need to self-isolate for the required period.
  • If they have to use public transport, they should try to keep away from other people and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue. If you don’t have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
  • Anyone with symptoms must now request a test. Test & Protect is now available for all Aberdeen City Council Employees and not just those deemed as critical workers.

If they are so unwell that they require an ambulance you should:

  • phone 999 and let the call handler know you are concerned about COVID-19.
  • Whilst you wait for advice or an ambulance to arrive, try to find somewhere safe for the unwell person to sit which is at least 2 metres away from other people preferably in a separate room where they can be isolated form others. If another employee has to remain with them then they should remain a minimum of 2 metres away.

It is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home, unless they meet the self-isolation criteria.. Keep monitoring the government response page for the latest details.

Cleaning and Disinfection

Once a possible case has left the premises, the immediate area occupied by the individual e.g. desk space, should be cleaned with detergent and disinfectant. This should include any potentially contaminated high contact areas such as door handles, telephones, grab-rails. Once this process has been completed, the area can be put back into use.

Any public areas where a symptomatic individual has only passed through (spent minimal time in) e.g. corridors, not visibly contaminated with any body fluids do not need to be further decontaminated beyond routine cleaning processes. 

This guidance is in line with Health Protection Scotland Advice.  To request further cleaning services, please contact the Cleaning Services Management Team.

 Please refer to the Managers Decision Tree.

Anyone living in a household with someone with symptoms must now request a test. Test & Protect is now available for all Aberdeen City Council Employees and not just those deemed as critical workers.

Please refer to the Managers Decision Tree

Our Guide to Employee Scenarios During Covid-19 may assist you in determining what options are available to different groups of employees.  

In order to support staff, managers must have a discussion with their employees to identify anyone –

Managers must consider how best to introduce protection for these staff members in line with Government advice, including alternative working arrangements including working from home, adjustments to working practices or working in isolation with the aim of minimising contact with customers or other staff members.  You should also complete the relevant risk assessment found on the Staying Safe While Working page.

Those in above list where their role is not suitable to be carried out from home and are therefore unable to undertake their normal role due to the need to undertake physical distancing or shielding effectively should be placed on special leave.  This special leave is to cover the period until alternative duties can be considered for the employee. 

Please ensure you keep in regular contact with all members of your team to ensure their wellbeing.

Our Guide to Employee Scenarios During Covid-19 may assist you in determining what options are available to different groups of employees.  

Please refer to the Managers Decision Tree.

Managers must consider how best to introduce protection for these staff members in line with Government advice, including alternative working arrangements including working from home, adjustments to working practices or working in isolation with the aim of minimising contact with customers or other staff members.  You should also complete the relevant risk assessment found on the Staying Safe While Working page.

Where their role is not suitable to be carried out from home and are therefore unable to undertake their normal role due to the need to undertake physical distancing or shielding effectively should be placed on special leave.  This special leave is to cover the period until alternative duties can be considered for the employee. 

Please ensure you keep in regular contact with all members of your team to ensure their wellbeing.

Our Guide to Employee Scenarios During Covid-19 may assist you in determining what options are available to different groups of employees.  

Please refer to the Managers Decision Tree. 

Following the Chief Medical Officer’s advice on 16 March 2020 that all pregnant women are classed as a precaution in a vulnerable group, we understand that it must be an anxious time for employees if they are pregnant and work in a public facing role.

Pregnant women who can work from home should do so. If they can’t work from home, if they work in a public-facing role that can be modified appropriately to minimise their exposure, this should be considered and discussed with your occupational health team and the employee.

More detailed occupational health advice for pregnant women, including those who cannot work from home was published on 21 March 2020, and updated on 26 March. It recommends that if they are in their first or second trimester (less than 28 weeks pregnant), with no underlying health conditions, they should practise physical distancing but can choose to continue to work in a public-facing role, provided the necessary precautions are taken – these include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and risk assessment.

If they are in their third trimester (more than 28 weeks pregnant), or have an underlying health condition – such as heart or lung disease – they should work from home where possible, avoid contact with anyone with symptoms of coronavirus, and significantly reduce unnecessary social contact. Read the government guidance on physical distancing.

Please ensure you keep in regular contact with all members of your team to ensure their wellbeing.

Our Guide to Employee Scenarios During Covid-19 may assist you in determining what options are available to different groups of employees.  

Follow the advice from NHS Inform and If they can work from home, they should do so.

You may find the decision tree useful or our Guide to Employee Scenarios During Covid-19 may assist you in determining what options are available to different groups of employees.  

Follow the advice from NHS Inform

If you or anyone in your household develops new coronavirus symptoms at any point after ending a period of isolation then the same guidance on self-isolation should be followed again.

This means if you’re unwell, you need to stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms start.

If you live with others, the person who has symptoms should stay at home for 10 days from the day their symptoms started. All other household members should isolate as a household.

Anyone living in a household with someone with symptoms must now request a test. Test & Protect is now available for all Aberdeen City Council Employees and not just those deemed as critical workers.

We must remember first and foremost that information about people’s health is sensitive and private, and to make sure that we only share necessary information with people who really need to know.   If it is necessary to share this status, you should not normally share the name of the staff member affected (unless you have their permission to do so),  and it would be enough in this situation to tell colleagues that someone they work with has/potentially has Covid-19.

Whilst it may be the case in some teams, especially smaller ones who work closely together, that the team may have an idea who it if affected because that member of staff is absent, as a manager you still need to be careful in all cases that the only information shared is that necessary.  

It is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home, unless they meet the self-isolation criteria. Keep monitoring the Scottish government response page for the latest details.

If you have queries about whether any of your staff should be attending work, you should refer to the Managers’ Decision Tree within the Symptoms and Protecting Vulnerable People section of our Managers’ Guidance. You can also refer team members to these pages and to the NHS inform pages.

There is no need to complete a return to work form if the employee has been able to work from home while having symptoms or self isolating, however .

It is best practice complete a return to work interview for anyone returning to work after an absence to ensure that they are well enough to return and to update them on any developments and any changes to working practices.  This should be done via a non-face-to-face method such as by phone or using Teams.  Further guidance on undertaking return to work interviews can be found in the Supporting Attendance and Wellbeing page.

A Return to Work form should be completed where the absence was a sickness absence (i.e. they were not well enough to undertake work),  but is not required where the employee was on Special Leave (i.e. they would normally have been well enough to work, but were required to self-isolate), however, you should still have a discussion with the employee to ensure they are well enough to work and update them on any changes.

You should also ensure that the absence was correctly recorded on CoreHR and closed.  Please follow the instructions above to record any Absence/Working from Home/Alternative Work arrangements on CoreHR.

Please note that any COVID-19 related absences are not counted towards any triggers under the Supporting Attendance and Wellbeing Policy.

Working from Home / Alternative Working Arrangements

Following the latest Government Announcement, all staff who can do their work from home must continue to do so.

To support your decision making please use this Managers Decision Tree

Following the latest Government Announcement, everyone who can work from home should continue to do so.  The challenge for us all is to keep ourselves positive, connected and productive. Please see our Working from Home guidance for more advice.

As a manager, you need to identify where you may need guidance on the relaxation of statutory duties from Scottish Government. Consider where you may have additional resource requirements as a result of these steps and also where you may have additional capacity as a result of freeing up some staff members who are not providing essential/statutory services or those that can be delivered in line with Government advice. All managers need to identify the key priority areas and this must be done in conjunction with the relevant Service Manager.

Following the latest Government Announcement, all staff who can do their work from home must continue to do so.

Switch from face to face meetings to conference calls or Teams meetings, reduce customer contact whilst maintaining service delivery. Consider variation to start times for operational staff to avoid congregating in numbers. For example avoid entering a property where an individual is isolating or shielding, avoid working in close proximity teams and follow guidance on the Staying Safe While at Work page

Managers should consider working from home opportunities where possible, however for those still attending the office/Council buildings consideration should be given to the following

  • All meetings should be carried out over the telephone, Teams etc. Face to face meetings should only be undertaken as a last resort.
  • If the meeting has to be held face to face:
    • It should be conducted in well ventilated open areas (not in confined offices/rooms) where a person to person separation distance of a minimum of 2 meters can be maintained.
    • Consider whether staff can wash hands before and after meeting to ensure good hygiene and no transferal through physical contact with surfaces.
    • There should be no physical contact between those attending the meeting.
  • Try to remove the need to share work desks.
  • However if this is not possible and you must share your desk in a job share situation, ensure that all hand contact surfaces (keyboard, phone, desk, drawer handles, etc.) are cleaned prior to changing over.
  • Cut down on the amount of paper copies being sent between offices and use of shared printers. If a document needs a signature, send it via e-mail. Print the signatory page, sign it, scan it and e-mail it back. This can then be attached to the original document. 
  • Wipe down shared printers after each use
  • To reduce the risk of transfer from hand to door plates and handles staff should regularly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.
    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.
  • Avoid physical contact such as handshakes, sharing of electronic equipment and minimise the time spent in shared spaces such as kitchens or bathrooms.

For non-office environments, more specific advice may be found in ACC’s COVID-19 Procedures, from NHS inform or from Health Protection Scotland.

For more information, please refer to the Staying Safe While Working page.

You  should discuss what options are available, this will depend on the business continuity plans in place in your service.  

Options will include:-

  • Working from home
  • Alternative duties and/or at a different time
  • Be flexible around the time they arrive

Further local travel advice is available on our Travel pages

​ You can be more flexible around when hours are worked in agreement with your employee, for example by relaxing the requirement to work core hours.  Please be mindful of the Working Time Directive and that this is by agreement and not automatically subject to any enhancements such as Overtime or Non-Standard Working Week Allowances.

To assist with the monitoring of Coronavirus, there is a requirement for all managers to use CoreHR to record staff who are unavailable to attend their normal place of work during the outbreak. This means that we have accurate information, on a day-to-day basis, about where people are working, whether they have symptoms, and if they are self-isolating.

To assist with decision making on staff presenting with symptoms or underlying medication conditions, please see Managers Decision Tree

Any team members performing alternative working arrangements need to update CoreHR as follows (or you can do this on their behalf):

Leave Type

Reasons

Description

Sick Leave – COVID

 

COVID – Symptoms

To be used where an individual has symptoms and is unable to work due to COVID-19

Special Leave (Paid)

COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms

COVID – Service Closure

COVID – Underlying Medical Condition

COVID – Shielding

To be used where an individual is unable to work from home or in an alternative way but is impacted by COVID-19

COVID – Working from Home

COVID – Alternative to normal work 

COVID – Caring Responsibilities 

COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms

COVID – Underlying Medical Condition

COVID – Shielding

To be used where an individual is able to undertake work from home or in an alternative way but is impacted by COVID-19

COVID – Temp Movement of Staff

Undertaking temporary duties only

Full contracted role & temp duties

Partial contracted role & temp duties

To be used where an individual has been temporarily reallocated to undertake alternative work

Ensure that all team members have updated their next of kin on CoreHR. If you have team members without CoreHR log-ins, please ask them to submit this information along with their payroll number to AskHR.

Finally, take a look at the Working from Home guidance and ensure your team members are able to stay in contact by using their own devices for work.

Yes, you or your team may be needed to support critical services and will receive training and support to enable you to do that.

Additional information can be found within the Temporary movement of staff protocol

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. 

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.

Where there is benefit in the meeting going ahead, this should be done by tele or video-conference on Teams 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, physical distancing must be observed.

Pay and Leave

All staff will receive normal pay during any periods of sickness absence relating to COVID- 19 regardless of their entitlements due to qualifying service and/or previous sickness absence.

Any other absences will be treated in line with the Supporting Attendance Policy.

Those self-isolating in line with Scottish Government advice and whose role is not suitable to be carried out from home.  To support your decision making please use this Managers Decision Tree.

Those with one of the defined underlying medical conditions and whose role is not suitable to be carried out from home and are therefore unable to undertake their normal role due to the need to physical distance effectively.  This special leave is to cover the period until alternative duties or suitable protective measures can be considered for the employee. 

Those with one of the underlying medical conditions considered to be at highest risk of severe illness and whose role is not suitable to be carried out from home and are therefore unable to undertake their normal role due to the need to undertake shielding effectively.  This special leave is to cover the period until alternative duties can be considered for the employee. 

Those with emergency caring requirements (e.g. childcare), whose role is NOT suitable to be carried out from home or in an alternative way, can seek paid special leave if their child’s school/nursery has been closed due to covid-19. Please discuss with your line manager as soon as possible and complete the approval form here. If approved, this would be recorded on CoreHR as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Other. You can also request a different type of paid special leave If your child is at home awaiting covid test results or if they are at home because they have tested positive for covid. This should be recorded as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms. This is because you will be required to self-isolate in these circumstances.

If a member of staff has been making use of special leave due to caring responsibilities or because they have an underlying medical condition, then annual leave should nonetheless be booked and taken at regular intervals throughout the year, in line with the Council’s annual leave approach below.

Our Guide to Employee Scenarios During Covid-19 may assist you in determining what options are available to different groups of employees.  Where the scenario relates to childcare/caring responsibilities and you have addressed the options within this guide, you may request authorisation on behalf of your employee for an Extension of Special Leave for caring responsibilities.  Approval must be agreed with your Chief Officer prior to submitting an authorisation request.

Normal supporting attendance procedures and sick pay provisions apply.

Where you are able to return to work, but have an underlying medical condition, please follow Government advice and refer to the decision tree.

They will either be paid or can claim time back for additional hours worked as per prior agreement with the service.

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.  Any extension of higher graded duties will be based on service requirements

A return to work interview should be completed for anyone returning to work after any period of sickness absence to ensure that they are well enough to return and to update them on any developments and any changes to working practices.  This should be done via a non-face-to-face method such as by phone or using Teams.  Further guidance on undertaking return to work interviews can be found in the Supporting Attendance and Wellbeing page.

A Return to Work form should be completed for all sickness absences and returned to the AskHR to be added into the employee’s personal file. 

You should also ensure that the absence was correctly recorded on CoreHR and closed.  Please follow the instructions above to record any Absence/Working from Home/Alternative Work arrangements on CoreHR.

A return to work interview should be completed for anyone returning to work after a period of COVID related sickness absence to ensure that they are well enough to return and to update them on any developments and any changes to working practices.  This should be done via a non-face-to-face method such as by phone or using Teams.  Further guidance on undertaking return to work interviews can be found in the Supporting Attendance and Wellbeing page.  

A Return to Work form should be completed for all sickness absences and returned to the AskHR to be added into the employee’s personal file.  Please note, however that COVID-related sickness does not contribute towards trigger levels.

For any absences which are not sickness (e.g. period of Special Leave whilst self isolating), a return to work form is not required, however it is best practice to conduct a return to work interview for the reasons above.  The Return to Work form is a useful guide to the discussion in this instance, however it is not a requirement to complete the form itself.

You should also ensure that the absence was correctly recorded on CoreHR and closed.  Please follow the instructions above to record any Absence/Working from Home/Alternative Work arrangements on CoreHR.

For absences which are not related to COVID-19, normal Supporting Attendance procedures apply and employees would be required to submit a fit note for any absence over 10 days.  They should make NHS Inform their first point of contact or call their GP during opening hours. If the GP practice is closed and their query can’t wait they can still call NHS 24 (on 111).

Where an employee is required to self-isolate, we do not require a fit note.  Please see the recording information above for recording absences relating to COVID -19 on CoreHR.

Further information on NHS 24 arrangements is available here.

The recognised public holidays are unchanged and the upcoming public holiday dates are Friday 10 April (Good Friday) and Friday 8 May (the May Day holiday in 2020 had been moved to recognise VE Day) and these dates are unchanged.

If employees would not normally be expected to work, they will be off work on the public holiday dates.

Some employees may be required to work and normal public holiday arrangements would apply.  The appropriate timesheets should be completed for these hours.

Under normal circumstances, some areas of the Council would continue to provide services on public holidays and these buildings have arrangements in place.

Where service delivery will continue over the public holidays in Council buildings which would not normally be open on a public holiday (for example a school), please contact Facilities Management to allow for cleaning requirements to be identified and put in place.  You should do this by emailing Andy Campbell directly, with your email marked as urgent and titled ‘Public Holiday Opening’.

If the employee is unfit to work or currently on sick leave, you should continue to record this as normal sick leave, with the appropriate reason, and follow the Supporting Wellbeing and Attendance policy.

If they are not currently off sick, they should work from home wherever possible and be recorded as “COVID – Working from Home” with the reason recorded as “COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms”.  If they are not currently off sick and are unable to work from home, you should record this as normal sick leave, with the appropriate reason, and follow the Supporting Wellbeing and Attendance policy.  The employee should provide a copy of the letter requesting them to self-isolate as an alternative to a fit note for the self-isolation period.

Annual Leave

Government Advice and Amendment to Legislation

The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amends the Working Time Regulations 1998 relating specifically to COVID-19. “Where it is not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled due to the effects of coronavirus, (including on the worker, the employer or the wider economy or society) they have an entitlement to carry the 4 weeks under regulation 13 into the next 2 leave years. “

This means that, for some employees, they may qualify to carry forward a maximum of 20 days’ annual leave into the next leave year. This is conditional on the basis that the employee is able to evidence that- as a direct result of the coronavirus -they have been unable to utilise their leave entitlement for that calendar year (see exemptions below). For the avoidance of doubt, any excess annual leave must be fully exhausted by 2022 as per legislative amendments.

Other Guidance and Key Messages to Consider

At the same time we are very conscious of the need to ensure our employees and workers take rest and recuperation, particularly at these challenging times, both at home and work; as well as ensuring that we are ready and able to support our city during the current emergency and after it has passed.

It is key that, in terms of mental health and wellbeing, we use our entitlement to annual leave for time away from work and the rest that we all need.  As part of this, it is important that our annual leave is adequately spaced across the year to avoid workload pressure on each other, and our services, towards the end of the year.  Therefore, the cancellation of pre-booked annual leave is discouraged unless it has been agreed with the line manager that the employee: 

  • is covered by one of the exemptions below and/or;
  • requests to reduce the period of leave booked at this time so that the leave is available later in the year where holiday plans have had to be cancelled and are to be re-booked at a later point (see FAQs below).

COSLA guidance within their COVID-19 FAQs on this topic further advises us that: “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.”

ACAS guidance on COVID-19 highlights that, “In most situations, employees and workers should use their paid holiday (‘statutory annual leave’) in their current leave year. This is important because taking holiday helps people:

  • get enough rest 
  • keep healthy (physically and mentally)”

Main Considerations

The priorities in our approach to annual leave therefore are:

  • The health and wellbeing of staff in ensuring that annual leave continues to be utilised during this challenging period;
  • Maintaining operational delivery of services to the City across the year and into next year – a build-up of annual leave next year puts additional pressures on staff in their team;
  • Ensuring that those who fall within the criteria of the legislation are supported to carry forward their leave at the end of the year and leave is not lost due to any misunderstanding of the legislation.

 Guidance for Use of Annual Leave

In order to achieve these priorities, a suggested pattern for the spread of annual leave is as follows (and unless exempted by the categories below) – this would be operationally dependent and is a guide to support employees and their managers to plan their leave across the year to ensure that the full entitlement is taken, rather than a requirement to take this amount of leave by these dates. (NB this does not apply if an employee is unable to take their leave due to one of the exemptions due to COVID-19 impacts, see exemptions below):

Example Percentage of Annual Leave

Equivalent days for full time staff with 27 days’ allowance

25% taken by the end of June

6.75

75% taken by end of October

20.25

*100% taken by the end of the year

27

(*NB this final 100% includes allowance for the 2 closure days between Christmas and New Year).  Note also that any additional purchased annual leave would be included within the maximum 20 days carried over for those covered by the exemptions.)

If a member of staff has been making use of special leave due to caring responsibilities or because they have an underlying medical condition, then annual leave should nonetheless be booked and taken at regular intervals throughout the year.

Those staff who have not used all of their allocated leave – and who fall into one or more of the exemptions below – will be supported to carry forward up to 20 days leave at the end of the year. This is on the basis of the change in legislation stating that leave should be carried forward where it has been “not reasonably practicable for the worker to take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled due to the effects of coronavirus.”   This will be assessed via an approval form with their line manager.

To assist with determination and discussion around incidences where annual leave carry-forward of up to 20 days can be supported in line with the legislation amendment, the following exemption categories have been formed.

Where the member of staff falls into one of the below categories and has also not been able to practicably ‘catch up’ by taking additional annual leave in the remainder of the year

  • Their line manager has asked them to cancel or not to take a period of annual leave as they have been directly involved in the delivery of COVID-19 related response activity;
  • They have been requested to cancel or not to take a period of annual leave because they have been required to perform organisationally critical work due to COVID-19;
  • They have been asked to cancel or not to take a period of annual leave due to reductions in staffing levels in the team due to COVID-19;
  • They have been unable to use planned annual leave due to symptoms of COVID-19, shielding requirements, or isolation requirements.
  • They have some other substantial reason directly linked to COVID-19 which has resulted in it not being practicable to utilise their leave; the substantiality of which remains at the manager’s discretion. For avoidance of doubt, the manager’s discretion shall be applied objectively and not subjectively e.g. an individual’s personal preference not to take leave should not be considered a substantive issue.

Where such applications are approved, the effect of this is that these employees may carry over up to 4 weeks or 20 days of untaken leave for 2020 into the next 2 leave years with the total leave accrued taken by 31 December 2022.   Any remaining entitlement for part time employees shall be calculated on a pro rata basis in accordance with the above requirements.

Managers may also wish to consider other operational reasons not related to COVID-19 where the employee has not practicably been able to utilise their full annual leave allocation within the year.  If, following consideration of these, they can seek to approve carry-over of leave then a maximum of 5 days may be carried forward in this instance, to be used by end of February 2021.

The Council shall continue to honour existing statutory obligations that remain unchanged as a result of the coronavirus and in accordance with our policies. 

This approach is in line with recent Cosla guidance on Annual Leave during COVID-19.

Be flexible and supportive with your employee; for example, think of ways that annual leave may be taken as dispersed days rather than back-to-back in a block.

In these circumstances it is reasonable to agree for the annual leave to be re-scheduled in order for the employee to be able to access their holiday later in the year.  If this situation occurs for a critical worker further consideration of the requirements of the service against the capacity of the employee to reschedule at a much later date e.g. into the following leave year will be required.

With the current restrictions on movement for everyone, it would be reasonable to ask the employee to take a proportion of the annual leave (e.g. a week), and to enable them to unbook the remainder to be taken at a later date in the year.

It is always preferable for annual leave to be agreed in advance with dates that are mutually agreeable for both employee and manager.  As a last resort at this critical time- e.g. to spread the use of leave across a critical team to support everyone to take some leave across the year-  there is the facility under Regulation 15 of the Working Time Directive to require specific dates to be taken.  Namely that an employer can serve a notice on employees, giving them two days’ notice for every day the employer wishes an employee to take as annual leave. So, for example, if the employer is wanting the employee to use four days’ holiday, the employer must give them eight days’ notice of this. Although this notice does not require to be in writing, it is preferable that this notice is given in writing, for evidential reasons.

Temporary Movement of Staff

There may be circumstances during COVID-19 where the timescales associated with carrying out normal employment checks may cause serious operational difficulties.

In circumstances where you are looking to appoint someone into a critical role prior to receiving a PVG certificate please contact the Talent Team within People and Organisation, who will discuss with you the possibility of undertaking a risk assessment process.

Disclosure Scotland have confirmed that they will prioritise checks for the workers Scotland needs to deal with the coronavirus Pandemic. The priority roles relevant to ACC are childcare, social work and social care. PVGs for these roles will now be completed by a new electronic process. Please contact the Talent Team or the HR service Centre for further details.

Childcare / Caring Responsibilities

Following the latest Scottish Government Announcement, all staff who can do their work from home must continue to do so.

To support your decision making please use this Managers Decision Tree

Following the latest Scottish Government Announcement, everyone who can work from home must continue to do so.  The challenge for us all is to keep ourselves positive, connected and productive. Please see our Working from Home guidance for more advice.

Temporary amendment of our smarter working guidance, which currently states that “Suitable arrangements for care of dependents must be in place while an individual is homeworking i.e. the homeworker cannot act as a carer at the same time as they are home working”.  This clause is relaxed to allow flexibility in supporting business continuity.  As a manager, please discuss and agree balanced working arrangements with any staff who can practically support childcare/caring responsibilites and working from home.

You can be more flexible around when hours are worked in agreement with your employee, for example by relaxing the requirement to work core hours.  Please be mindful of the Working Time Directive and that this is by agreement and not automatically subject to any enhancements such as Overtime or Non-Standard Working Week Allowances.

Those with emergency caring requirements (e.g. childcare), whose role is NOT suitable to be carried out from home or in an alternative way, can seek paid special leave if their child’s school/nursery has been closed due to covid-19. Please discuss with your line manager as soon as possible and complete the approval form here. If approved, this would be recorded on CoreHR as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Other. You can also request a different type of paid special leave If your child is at home awaiting covid test results or if they are at home because they have tested positive for covid. This should be recorded as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms. This is because you will be required to self-isolate in these circumstances.

Those with emergency caring requirements (e.g. childcare), whose role is NOT suitable to be carried out from home or in an alternative way, can seek paid special leave if their child’s school/nursery has been closed due to covid-19. Please discuss with your line manager as soon as possible and complete the approval form here. If approved, this would be recorded on CoreHR as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Other. You can also request a different type of paid special leave If your child is at home awaiting covid test results or if they are at home because they have tested positive for covid. This should be recorded as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms. This is because you will be required to self-isolate in these circumstances.

If a member of staff has been making use of special leave due to caring responsibilities or because they have an underlying medical condition, then annual leave should nonetheless be booked and taken at regular intervals throughout the year in line with the Council’s approach to annual leave above.

Those with emergency caring requirements (e.g. childcare), whose role is NOT suitable to be carried out from home or in an alternative way, can seek paid special leave if their child’s school/nursery has been closed due to covid-19. Please discuss with your line manager as soon as possible and complete the approval form here. If approved, this would be recorded on CoreHR as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Other. You can also request a different type of paid special leave If your child is at home awaiting covid test results or if they are at home because they have tested positive for covid. This should be recorded as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms. This is because you will be required to self-isolate in these circumstances.

If a member of staff has been making use of special leave due to caring responsibilities or because they have an underlying medical condition, then annual leave should nonetheless be booked and taken at regular intervals throughout the year in line with the Council’s approach to annual leave above..

Those self-isolating in line with Scottish Government advice and whose role is not suitable to be carried out from home.  To support your decision making please use this Managers Decision Tree

Those with one of the defined underlying medical conditions and whose role is not suitable to be carried out from home and are therefore unable to undertake their normal role due to the need to physical distance effectively.  This special leave is to cover the period until alternative duties or suitable protective measures can be considered for the employee. 

Those with one of the underlying medical conditions considered to be at highest risk of severe illness and whose role is not suitable to be carried out from home and are therefore unable to undertake their normal role due to the need to undertake shielding effectively.  This special leave is to cover the period until alternative duties can be considered for the employee. 

Those with emergency caring requirements (e.g. childcare), whose role is NOT suitable to be carried out from home or in an alternative way, can seek paid special leave if their child’s school/nursery has been closed due to covid-19. Please discuss with your line manager as soon as possible and complete the approval form here. If approved, this would be recorded on CoreHR as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Other. You can also request a different type of paid special leave If your child is at home awaiting covid test results or if they are at home because they have tested positive for covid. This should be recorded as Special Leave (Paid) inc COVID – Self Isolation/ Symptoms. This is because you will be required to self-isolate in these circumstances.

If a member of staff has been making use of special leave due to caring responsibilities or because they have an underlying medical condition, then annual leave should nonetheless be booked and taken at regular intervals throughout the year, in line with the Council’s annual leave approach below.

You can be more flexible around when hours are worked in agreement with your employee, for example by relaxing the requirement to work core hours.  Please be mindful of the Working Time Directive and that this is by agreement and not automatically subject to any enhancements such as Overtime or Non-Standard Working Week Allowances.

Wearing Face Coverings

  • any premises which open to members of the public where there is access to members of the public from more than 1 home at any one time
  • indoor zoos or visitor farms, and any other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural site
  • community centres
  • crematoriums and funeral director’s premises
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • museums and galleries
  • storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop off points, e.g. a food bank

If the building fits into the description of relevant buildings above or if they have similar uses then you should:

  • Put up signage at access points to customers
  • Require customers and staff in the public areas to wear face coverings
  • Provide these face coverings for all staff who are affected, a minimum of 2 masks so they can wear one on alternate days
  • Consider providing coverings for those customers who may have forgotten

This isn’t required, but guidance does suggest that we have a supply available for those customers who may have forgotten theirs or were not aware that they are expected to wear a face covering.

Yes.  You should do this by placing signage at the entrances to a building. If visits are by appointment, you could also remind customers at this point they will be required to wear face coverings when in the building.

They will be required to wear face coverings where the 2-metre separation distance in front office settings either cannot be guaranteed or they are not sitting behind plexiglass screens. This is only where we have multiple customers in the same area, where they cannot maintain distance.

No, however there is a risk to these staff if they do not wear coverings. You should consider if they can do other non-customer facing roles instead or tasks where they would be guaranteed to be 2 metres from customers

Yes; in ACC buildings which are open and where access is given to members of the public from more than 1 family at any one time (e.g.in a public area) then customers will need to wear face coverings at all times whilst in the building. Even if they are sitting in front of a plexiglass screen this will be required. There are exceptions to the need to wear face coverings.

Some people are not required to wear a face covering. These include:

  • Babies, toddler and children under 5 years of age, due to the possibility of overheating, suffocation and strangulation and they are safe without one. 
  • police constables or emergency response workers such as paramedics acting in the course of their duty 
  • owners, managers, members of staff, or volunteers, of indoor premises where it is mandatory to wear a face covering who are physically separated, by means of, for example, partition screens, from passengers or customers or if they maintain a 2 metre distance from customers or members of the public
  • In a place of worship, or at a funeral, marriage ceremony or civil partnership, by a person leading an act of worship, service, ceremony or registration where there is a partition screen or a distance of 2 metres is maintained

Customers may also have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if, for example:

  • they have a health condition or are disabled, including hidden disabilities, for example, autism, dementia or a learning disability, 
  • They are providing care for someone with a health condition or disability, and a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety to the wearer or the person in the care of the wearer, or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently
  • Individual discretion should be applied in considering the use of face coverings for other children including, for example, children with breathing difficulties and disabled children who would struggle to wear a face covering
  • to seek medical assistance
  • to avoid injury, illness or escape the risk of harm
  • they are taking medication and require removing their face covering to do this
  • customer or staff are communicating with someone else who relies on lip reading and facial expressions to communicate
  • a relevant person, such as a police officer, asks someone to remove your face covering

No – the responsibility to wear a face covering rests with the individual.  There should be a process in place where customers are politely reminded of the need to wear face covering in our buildings.

However, not wearing a face covering is a criminal offence with the potential for a fixed penalty notice to be issued if the law is broken. Our staff are not required to enforce this law, but we ask you to talk to customers who are not wearing a face covering and explain the law. If customers refuse to wear a face covering, staff are asked not to stop customers from entering the building or from being served but should try to maintain the 2-metre distance where possible. 

If they don’t have an exemption, then please hold a discussion with them to understand any concerns they have around face coverings.  Make attempts to rectify any concerns they might have and explain that these were in place to protect the health and safety of both themselves and others.   

Support and guidance on this can be sought from Employee Relations and Corporate Health and Safety.

Arrangements for Relief/Supply/Casual

Relief workers who work “as and when” will be paid as normal for any hours worked. Please ensure they submit timesheets for any hours they have worked to yourself for approval.

For more information on completing timesheets, please see here.

Where hours had already been offered and agreed with the service prior to any disruption, these hours would still be paid. 

Where hours had already been offered and agreed with the service prior to any disruption, these hours would still be paid. 

Where hours had already been offered and agreed with the service prior to any disruption, these hours would still be paid. It was previously agreed that relief workers who had received payment for work in the period 1st January to 31st March 2020 would continue to receive a payment equal to the average amount earned over the 3 month period. This scheme ran from April to June, therefore payments have now ceased. 

For more information please refer to the Covid 19 casual worker compensation guidance here.  

They may still be required to work these hours doing normal or alternative tasks as directed by the service and if they can work from home, should do so or do alternative tasks during the engagement period where possible.  Any hours worked should be claimed through the normal means.

Supply Teachers

The SNCT introduced a Supply Teachers Job Retention Payment scheme for supply teachers not in a contract as at 20 March 2020. As all teaching supply work which is anticipated to last for longer than 2 days is defined as a fixed term contract, this scheme therefore applied to what we would normally refer to as “day to day” supply – i.e. those teachers undertaking ad-hoc engagements with no set pattern of work.

Supply teachers who met this criteria were paid for the average hours worked over the 3 month period 1st January 2020 to 31st March 2020.  The Supply Teachers Job Retention Payment scheme was developed for supply teachers not in a contract as at 20 March 2020. Those who met the criteria received a payment equal to the average amount earned over the 3 month period 1st January to 31st March 2020. This scheme ran from April to June, therefore payments have now ceased.

Also see SNCT Supply Teachers FAQs.

Supply teachers who have an on going arrangement will be treated as fixed term employees for the period of the engagement, and will be paid accordingly. As fixed term employees, they would also be expected to continue to support the learning of pupils during the period of school closure in the same way as permanent teachers.

Please continue to submit the specific Supply/Additional Hours timesheets for these employees.  You can contact AskHR if you have any queries.

Also see SNCT Supply Teachers FAQs.

Agency Workers

Agency workers may be engaged if necessary for essential work, however consideration should be given to whether the tasks could be done by Council employees, who may have additional capacity at this time or by utilising Temporary Movement of Staff.

Where the Council uses workers provided through an employment agency, they will be bound by the contractual provisions agreed with the agency, and any procurement framework in place.  As agency workers and their employers may be eligible for compensation through the UK Government’s “Furlough” scheme, some agency workers/agencies may not be available.

Responsibility for health and safety in a council workplace for service users and workers, (both employees and workers contracted through an agency), remains with line management.  Managers should ensure everyone in the workplace is aware and adhering to appropriate measures identified, such as physical distancing, using PPE, and observing all hygiene measures in place.

For further information, please see Agency Workers Guidance during COVID-19 from Cosla.

An agency worker is a contingent worker who is provided by an employment agency and who is not a council employee. Payment of sick pay is a matter for the agency and therefore cannot be directly addressed by the council.

The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 require that after 12 weeks in a role an agency worker must receive the same basic terms and conditions as a direct employee doing the same kind of work. These conditions are pay; the duration of working time; night work; rest periods; and annual leave. They do not include contractual sick pay, which remains a matter for the employment agency.

For further information, please see Agency Workers Guidance during COVID-19 from Cosla.

Managers must be clear that a worker who reports to work with COVID-19 symptoms or develops them whilst at work should be sent home in line with the current Govenrment stay at home guidance.  Please also follow the steps set out within the ACC COVID-19 Procedures for anyone who displays symptoms at work.

Whether a worker can attend one of our workplaces is a contractual matter between the agency and the council. There is a contractual right for the Council to require an agency worker to leave the workplace and be substituted by an alternative worker.

For further information, please see Agency Workers Guidance during COVID-19 from Cosla.

General

There is no legal obligation on the Council to accept the retraction of a resignation. Services may consider such requests more favourably if the individual works in essential services that may be facing additional pressures at this time.

This will be determined by individual services in conjunction with the Talent Team.

We have taken the decision to make changes to the way we progress some of our employee relations processes until further notice. These processes include:  

  • supporting attendance  
  • performance management 
  • discipline 
  • grievance 
  • bullying and harassment 

There are a number of factors that have necessitated this approach and these are explained in the Employee Relations Protocol.  We would ask you to read it carefully so that you understand your responsibility as managers in dealing with all current and future issues that may arise over the coming weeks.   

If you are a manager of employees actively involved in any of these management processes, or you have been appointed as an Investigating Officer, we would ask that you contact those individuals involved as soon as possible to advise of any changes and the time-frame involved (this is detailed in the protocol and will depend on the policy being followed and the stage it is currently at).   

To clarify, all cases will remain active, but we have amended some of our processes in order to comply with government advice around physical distancing and to ensure the safety of all our employees during this difficult time.  

Employees who have visas expiring between 24th January up to the 31st May 2020  and who have not applied to have this extended will have their visa extended to 31 May 2020, if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

They must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) to update their records if their visa is expiring.

They must provide:

  • full name (include any middle names)
  • date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • nationality
  • previous visa reference number
  • why can’t go back to home country, for example if the border has closed

Speak to the employee and ask if they have applied for an extension or appealed against a decision.  If so a grace period will apply and they will continue to have the right to live and work until this is progressed but they must provide written proof of this from the Home Office.

Scanned or emailed documents can be accepted from the employee during the COVID-19 pandemic, but you must verify these documents. Please refer to the latest Home Office Advice with information on latest requirements.

 If the employee cannot provide written evidence that this is being processed in the system, the HR Service Centre can also check with the Home Office. However, if valid documents are not received and there is no evidence of an application pending the contract of employment will be terminated.

Coronavirus Decision Tree

Temporary Movement of Staff 

Employee Relations Protocol

Staying Safe While Working

Test and Protect

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