Advice & Guidance for Staff

The following information explains how Writtle University College (WUC) will support staff who may be unable to attend work during the Coronavirus outbreak. As this is a quickly evolving situation, staff are strongly encouraged to keep up to date by regularly reading https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

Following NHS advice, if you are unwell and have concerns linked to coronavirus, please do not attend work for at least 14 calendar days and ensure that you keep your line manager and/or Human Resources informed. Do not go to your GP, Pharmacy or Hospital.

COVID-19 Procedures

Track and Trace Procedure

You are at work and have symptoms of Coronavirus, what should you do?

 

If you have returned from one of the specified areas in the last 14 days or have come into contact with someone known to have coronavirus and /or you begin to develop symptoms of coronavirus (a cough, fever or shortness of breath) you must go home. You are required to self-isolate at home for a minimum of 14 days.

In this circumstance you should use the 111 online service; https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ and obtain any relevant advice for yourself.

In any case, you must avoid going home on public transport where possible. If advised to self-isolate you must not attend work for the next 14 calendar days, or longer if advised by the NHS.

You must let your line manager know as soon as possible what advice you have received, and from whom i.e. your GP or NHS 111. If you’ve been advised to self-isolate you should let them know by phone or email.

Your absence will be treated as normal sick leave, WUC’s Absence Policy will apply.

 

You have a dependant with symptoms of Coronavirus, what do you do?

 

In line with any emergency involving a dependant who falls ill with signs of coronavirus, you must contact your line manager. You will be entitled to take emergency time off to care for your dependant. Emergency time off for dependants is unpaid.

You will not be expected to work from home while caring for a dependant, but may agree with your line manager to do so if able, and you have the equipment, access and approval to do so.

If the dependant lives with you, you will also be required to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 calendar days, you can use the online 111 online assessment; https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ to seek the relevant advice and guidance, updating your Line Manager with the relevant advice you received, who will update HR.

If you are self-isolating to care for your dependant, it may be possible for you to work from home with your Line Manager’s authorisation. Where this isn’t possible the Absence Policy will apply.

 

You have been in contact with someone who is now self-isolating, what should you do?

 

If you are not showing symptoms you should come to work as normal. If however you begin to develop symptoms of coronavirus (a cough, fever or shortness of breath) you are advised to self-isolate, you must not attend work and must stay at home for 14 calendar days, or longer if advised by the NHS. Your absence will be treated as sick leave, WUC’s Absence Policy will apply. You can use the online 111 online assessment; https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ to seek the relevant advice and guidance, updating your Line Manager with the relevant advice you received, who will update HR.

 

Your child’s school or nursery is closed or other care arrangements are affected as a result of Coronavirus.

 

This would be classed as Emergency Time Off for dependants and this time is normally unpaid. If possible, working from home may be agreed with authorisation from your Line Manager. If you are unable to work from home, you may be able to categorise the time spent away from work as TOIL or annual leave, with the agreement of your Line Manager.

If your child is self-isolating and you live within the same household, you are also required to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 calendar days, you can use the online 111 online assessment; https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ to seek the relevant advice and guidance, updating your Line Manager with the relevant advice you received, who will update HR. If you are not showing symptoms it may be possible for you to work from home with your Line Manager’s authorisation. Where this isn’t possible, the Absence Policy will apply.

 

You are not at work (i.e. non-working day) and develop symptoms of Coronavirus, what should you do?

 

If you have returned from one of the specified areas in the last 14 days or have come into contact with someone known to have coronavirus and/ or you begin to develop symptoms of coronavirus (a cough, fever or shortness of breath) when you are not at work you are advised to self-isolate. You must not attend work and must stay at home for 14 calendar days, or longer if advised by the NHS. Your absence will be treated as sick leave, WUC’s Absence Policy will apply. You can use the online 111 online assessment; https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ to seek the relevant advice and guidance, updating your Line Manager with the relevant advice you received, who will update HR.

 

You have been in contact with someone who has contracted Coronavirus, what should you do?

 

If you have been in close contact with someone who has contracted the virus, including a dependant, you are advised by the NHS to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 calendar days. You must not go to work, use public transport such as buses or trains, or visit public areas.

As you must not attend work, you must follow the usual absence reporting procedure. You must call your line manager to report the medical advice you have received, and from whom, i.e. your GP or NHS 111.

If you do not have any symptoms during the period of self-isolation, your manager will agree with you if you can work from home. This will depend on the nature of your role and whether you have the equipment, access and approval to do so. Working from home for the period of isolation will have no effect on your pay, and a record will be kept that you are self-isolating under medical advice.

If you are unable to work from home your manager will place you on paid leave. Your absence will not be recorded as sickness and will have no effect on your absence record or entitlement to sick pay.

You must keep in regular contact with your manager during your absence via email or telephone.

If you become ill during this period of self-isolation you must follow the advice of your GP/NHS 111. You must inform your line manager as soon as you fall ill and if you are confirmed as having contracted the virus. Your absence will be treated as sick leave, WUC’s Absence Policy will apply.

 

You do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, you feel well but have received medical advice to self-isolate.

 

If you have received medical advice from your GP or the NHS 111 service that you must self-isolate, either because you have recently returned from a specific country or have been in close contact with someone who has contracted the virus, you must stay at home for 14 calendar days, or longer if advised by the NHS.

You must not go to work, use public transport such as buses or trains, or visit public areas such as libraries, pubs or shops.

As you must not attend work, you must follow the usual absence reporting procedure.

During the period of self-isolation, your manager will agree with you if you can work from home. This will depend on the nature of your role and whether you have the equipment, access and approval to do so. Working from home for the period of isolation will have no effect on your pay, and a record will be kept that you are self-isolating.

If you are unable to work from home for any or all of the 14 day period of isolation, your manager will place you on paid leave. Your absence will not be recorded as sickness and will have no effect on your absence record or entitlement to sick pay.

You must keep in regular contact with your manager during your absence via email or telephone.

If you become ill during this period of self-isolation you must follow the advice of your GP/NHS 111. You must inform your line manager as soon as you fall ill and if you are confirmed as having contracted the virus. Your absence will be treated as sick leave, in this circumstance WUC Absence Policy will apply.

 

I have an underlying health condition and am concerned for my health, what do I do?

 

If you have an established underlying health condition you should make your Line Manager aware. Your Line Manager will undertake a risk assessment with you, and ask you to obtain specific medical advice from your GP/Consultants to inform the risk assessment.

It is likely that you will be advised to work from home, with a date scheduled for review of the current arrangements based on discussions and medical advice, which may be up to a period of 12 weeks. Where you are unable to work from home, you will be placed on paid leave.

 

I am pregnant and I am concerned for my health and my unborn child - what do I do?

 

You are will be asked where possible to work from home for a period of up to 12 weeks.

Your pregnancy risk assessment will be updated, and you will be asked to contact your midwife/healthcare provider to ensure the relevant preventative measures have taken place.

Where you are not able to work from home, you will be placed on paid leave.

I am over 70, should I come to work?

 

Where there are concerns you will be asked where possible to work from home for up to a period of 12 weeks.

Where you decide and it is agreed that you remain in work a risk assessment will be undertaken to ensure the relevant precautionary measures have taken place.

 

You are concerned about working in public areas and the risk of infection - what do you do?

 

As a general rule, the fear of contracting an illness is not sufficient reason for failing to attend or participate in normal work. Failing to do so, without an appropriate and agreed reason will be considered unauthorised absence and therefore may be unpaid as a failing to perform contractual requirements.

However, we would want to take a more considered view and explore the reasons for the concern and try to allay fears as far as possible in order to resolve the situation. WUC has taken all possible precautions to minimise risk e.g. deep cleaning in heavily used areas, sending staff home who may be displaying symptoms, requiring staff or students who have recently returned from identified areas to refrain from coming into work.

 

General Concerns about the spread of Coronavirus at WUC

 

Please be assured that WUC is monitoring the evolving situation very closely and extra measures are being put in place to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff, students and visitors, such as Hand Sanitisers in key locations, and additional cleaning.

As the situation changes, we will contact all staff and students by email to signpost to the latest information and advice.

General information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/keep-warm-keep-well/ or https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

 

What is the usual sickness reporting procedure?

 

This normally requires calling your Line Manager to report the absence. Please make sure you are familiar with the correct contact details. If you are unable to make contact with your Line Manager please contact the Human Resources department via: staffabsence@writtle.ac.uk or by calling 01245 424208.

You must report the medical advice you have received, and from whom, i.e. your GP or NHS 111.

In cases of sickness absence, WUC Absence Policy will apply.

 

General Concerns for Colleagues

 

WUC encourages all colleagues, students and visitors to follow all public health advice to prevent the spread of infection.

If you are concerned about the wellbeing of colleagues, you should check in with them as you normally would, advising them that they should contact their GP or NHS 111 Online Assessment to obtain advice and to follow the advice given.

In the interests of your own health and wellbeing, and that of your colleagues and students, you are expected to seek such advice and to follow the advice given, which may include a 14 calendar day period of self-isolation at home, or longer if advised by the NHS.

WUC is an organisation that welcomes and promotes a welcoming culture of equality, diversity and inclusion where everyone can feel safe, valued and supported. All staff are expected to continue to show due respect, sensitivity and support for all colleagues and students, particularly those who may be very concerned about family and friends who are effected in the UK and other countries.

If you have any concerns of being discriminated against, harassment or mistreated as a result of this situation, you should report them to your own line manager and/or HR without delay.

 

Posting on Social Media

 

We ask all staff and students to refrain from posting any information linked to Coronavirus or the health of yourself or others on any social media platform, unless you have written consent from our Marketing Team or WUC Leadership Group members to do so.

 

Your concern isn’t listed here, where should you go?

 

For any concern in relation to Coronavirus please follow the below guidance:

  • Concerns linked to staff, please contact the HR department via: human.resource@writtle.ac.uk or 01245 424208 / ext 25670

  • Concerns linked to student wellbeing, please contact Safeguarding and Wellbeing department via: wellbeing@writtle.ac.uk or 01245 424200 / ext 25566

  • Concerns linked to Business Insurance, please contact the Health and Safety Officer via carole.wren@writtle.ac.uk or ext 26038

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