Update from P&O Friday 20th March 2020

Please familiarise yourself with the below advice and in particular, guidance on staff with underlying medical conditions and prioritisation for working from home.
A number of temporary provisions regarding COVID – 19 (Coronavirus) have been put in place today to support all staff at this time. This is a continually evolving picture and these provisions are aimed at supporting business continuity whilst balancing employee health, wellbeing and other pressures at this challenging time. We would ask managers to agree with individual employees how and if they can continue to contribute in ways that may need to be flexible and may be different to “normal” working.

These provisions are:

1. 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.

2. 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 and working from home.

3. The use of special leave has been extended for certain situations relating to COVID – 19 these are:
a) Those Self-Isolating on medical advice
b) Those with an underlying medical condition who are unable to social distance effectively and continue to work
c) Those with emergency caring requirements who are unable to work from home
On point 3.c – this amounts to a temporary amendment of the special leave policy and means that where an employee has an emergency childcare need and they are not able to undertake their work, or another task that we may ask them to do and balance childcare provision, then they can make use of up to 7 days special paid leave (rather than being on unpaid leave as per our usual policy). This provision can be used where an employee is for example unable to access emergency childcare provision as a “key worker”. Further information about emergency childcare for key workers will follow for all staff.

4. More flexibility around when hours are worked in agreement with your employee. Being mindful of 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.
These measures will remain under review and offer support to staff now in a time of uncertainty, whilst we are expecting guidance to emerge on this issue from Scottish Government and we will communicate any further developments.

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.

Please stay in regular contact with all team members and check in on their health and wellbeing, updating CoreHR as needed to reflect changing circumstances.

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 on the Intranet and ensure your team members are able to stay in contact by using their own devices for work, if you are both happy to do this.