Covid-19 Information for Employees | Healthy Working Lives
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Information for Employees

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Support for employees

Updated: 01/07/20

Sometimes employees need support to help them understand their rights, responsibilities and options.  This may be especially true during the current coronavirus situation.

The Scottish Hazards Centre offers free and confidential information, advice and in depth support.  It has a dedicated Covid-19 phone line and email address.

Contact the Scottish Hazards Centre on 0800 0015 022 or  email info@scottishhazards.org
or visit the Scottish Hazards website at  www.scottishhazards.org.uk 

View Scottish Hazards videos covering current issues and support in a number of sectors at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiiFd8CNY690FpSANVbw_zA


Symptoms of COVID-19/Coronavirus

Updated: 19/05/20

The original most common symptoms of COVID-19/Coronavirus were a high temperature and/or a new continuous cough. There are now other potential symptoms to look out for that include loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia).

To help prevent the spread of the infection you should follow the guidance relating to social distancing and social isolating (see below). You should also cough or sneeze onto a tissue and dispose of the tissue straight away.

As the virus can survive on surfaces and is transferred by touching these, you should wash and rinse your hands thoroughly using antibacterial soap, if you aren’t able to wash your hands then you should be using a hand sanitiser.

NHS inform has more information for general advice on COVID-19


Test and Protect Information for Employees

Updated: 30/07/20

Test and Protect, Scotland’s approach to implementing the 'test, trace, isolate, support' strategy is a public health measure designed to break chains of transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.  The NHS will test people who have symptoms, trace people who may have become infected by spending time in close contact with someone who tests positive, and then support those close contacts to self-isolate.  That means if they have the virus they are less likely to pass it on to others.  We all need to play a vital role in keeping our communities and workplaces safe by ensuring that we are all aware of and able to follow the public health advice.

 

What to do

Your employer should follow public health guidance if you become unwell with coronavirus symptoms at work. You should be advised to leave work to self‑isolate straight away and, if possible, wear a face covering on route and avoid public transport.  Your employer should direct you to www.nhsinform.scot or, if you can’t get online, call 0800 028 2816, to arrange to get tested.   Until you have been tested and told it is safe to leave home, your employer should make sure that you do not have to, or feel that you have to, come in to work.  Employees can request an isolation note through NHS Inform.

People who have tested positive for the virus will need to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days.


Social Distancing and Isolation

Social Distancing

Updated: 30/07/20

Social distancing is different from self isolation. Social distancing measures are steps you can take to put physical distance between people to help reduce the transmission and spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Physical distancing is still essential for everyone except children under 12 and people in the same household or extended household.

You must:

  • Only meet up with a maximum of 4 households outdoors and in small numbers (no more than 15 people in total) staying 2 metres apart 
  • Only meet up with a maximum of 2 households indoors and in small numbers (no more than 8 people in total) staying 2 metres apart
  • Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water as soon as you get home and before touching anything else
  • Face coverings must be worn in shops and on public transport

If you need to go to your place of work, your employer must consider social distancing measures in the workplace setting.

Read the NHS Inform Guidance on Social Distancing.


Self Isolation

Updated: 30/07/20  

What it means in practice:

As soon as you have any of the symptoms linked to COVID-19 you must self-isolate at home for a period of 10 days; which starts from the day when you first became ill.

Where you live with others, the whole household must self-isolate for 14 days at home to guard against spreading the virus to others. This means stay at home and also practice social distancing from those who have symptoms within the household.

For those within the household that also get symptoms during the 14 days they then must isolate for 10 days even when it takes them beyond the initial 14 days.

NHS Inform has guidance for households with possible COVID-19 infection


Income – Loss of Earnings

Updated: 13/07/20

Flexible Furlough

Job Retention Bonus - This is a one off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee remaining in continuous employment through to the end of January 2021. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021. Further details about the scheme will be announced by the end of July. 

Kickstart Scheme - The Government will introduce a new Kickstart Scheme in the UK, a £2 billion fund to create high quality 6-month work placements aimed at 16-24 year old's who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage from 25 hours per week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. 

Hospitality Support

Eat Out to Help Out - Supporting around 130,000 businesses and helping protect the jobs of their 1.8 million employees, the Government will introduce the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to encourage people to return to eating out. Diners will be entitled to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at participating food service establishments. The discount can be used unlimited times and will be valid Monday to Wednesday on any eat-in meal (including non-alcoholic drinks) for the entire month of August 2020 across the UK. Participating establishments will be fully reimbursed for the 50% discount. Temporary VAT cut for food and non-alcoholic drinks, from 15th July 2020 to 12th January 2021, to support businesses and jobs in the hospitality sector. The reduced (5%) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes and similar premises across the UK. Temporary VAT cut for accommodation and attractions, from 15th July 2020 to 12th January 2021, to support businesses and jobs, the reduced (5%) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK. Further guidance on the scope of this relief will be published by HMRC in the coming days. 

Further information on "A Plan for Jobs 2020" can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-plan-for-jobs-documents/a-plan-for-jobs-2020

*PLEASE FOLLOW ANY GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE OR GUIDANCE  SPECIFIC TO YOUR LOCAL AREA AS GUIDANCE ON THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) IS CHANGING DAILY. 


Key things to note:

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and “Furlough” was put in place to help support employees employed in non-essential businesses that were advised to close at the start of COVID-19 pandemic control measures. 

As time has progressed and restrictions are reviewed and we move to a staggered reopening the Furlough scheme has been reviewed to take account of additional impacts.

If an employer needed to furlough staff that had not yet been furloughed it would have been so by 10th June 2020 for a claim on 30th June.

Originally, furloughed employees couldn't do any work for their employer, but from 1 July you can be asked to return to work part-time.

For example, an employer could pay someone to work two days a week, while the furlough scheme would cover the other three days not worked.

If you are a parent planning on returning to work in the coming months from  extended Maternity or Paternity leave you may be eligible for furlough, coming months will be eligible for the government’s furlough scheme, however this it will only apply to you if your employer has previously furloughed employees.

You will find more information on Furlough and Pay on ACAS https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus/furlough-scheme-pay

Below is the current planned timeline for changes to Furlough over the next few months:

June: Scheme closes to new entrants on 30th June. Final date by which an employer can furlough a worker for the first time will be 10th June

July: Employers can start bringing furloughed staff back to work gradually on reduced hours. Government continues to pay 80% of furloughed worker’s wages

August: Government pays 80% of wages up to £2,500 cap but employers have to start paying National Insurance and pension contributions

September: Government pays 70% of furloughed worker’s wages up to 2,187.50 cap. Employers asked to pay 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to cap of £2,500

October: Government pays 60% of furloughed workers wages up to £1,875 cap Employers will pay 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to cap of £2,500

To check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme go to:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

The Money Advice Service

The money advice service can give further advice on managing your money right now.

If you want to know more about the financial support that is available to you or are worried about how you will pay your bills contact the Money Talk Team on 0800 085 7145


If you have any concerns about your home energy supply or the cost of energy during this time contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282


The Citizens Advice Network in partnership with the Scottish Government have launched an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the additional financial support available to people during COVID-19.  For more information visit Citizens Advice Scotland.


Home Working – How to Work from Home Safely

Take regular breaks from DSE work

Updated: 30/04/20

Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstations or work environments can lead to problems in necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists and hands, as well as fatigue and eye strain. It could also lead to musculo-skeletal disorders (MSDs) such as carpal tunnel or tendonitis.

  • Establish a routine for working at home
  • Take regular short breaks from DSE work, especially while working on laptops
  • Organise or schedule breaks into your day
  • Stretch and change position
  • Look into the distance to change your focus from time to time and blink often

Read the short guidance from HSE about working with DSE equipment.


Travelling to and From Work

Travelling by Public Transport

Updated: 19/06/2020


From the 22nd June Face coverings are mandatory on public transport. Therefore if you need to use public transport to travel to your place of work as lockdown restrictions are eased you will be required to wear face covering to lower the risk of transmission of COVID-19

For some travelling by Public Transport will not be an issue for others this may be stressful, by following these points below will help to protect you and others:

  • Please don’t travel if you feel unwell, you may risk spreading the virus to others.
  • Try to maintain social distancing by sitting in quieter parts of the train or bus and keeping apart from other travellers as much as possible at stations and bus stops. If a bus, tram or train is too crowded, wait for the next one. 
  • Load up your travel card before travelling or use contactless card to pay for tickets
  • If you can, try to travel off peak or outside the busiest travel times.  Perhaps your employer can be more flexible with start and finish times at the moment?
  • The virus can survive on surfaces and is transferred by contact between these and your hands.  Be aware whenever you are touching handrails, poles, seats and stair banisters for example and wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before you travel and as soon as possible after using public transport. 
  • Avoid contacting your face when travelling.  If you bite your nails, are used to brushing your hair from your eyes or are adjusting any face covering, this could be something you need to really think about.
  • Don’t eat or drink while travelling.
  • Follow advice on coughing and sneezing into a tissue while travelling and please put the tissues in a bin to avoid risk to cleaning staff and other travellers.
  • Finally, be patient with travel staff and fellow passengers, as we're all getting used to these changes together. 

The Gov.scot website has more information on face coverings


Cycle Repair Scheme Launched to Keep Scotland Pedalling

Updated: 04/08/2020


The Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme, where you can get up to £50 towards the repair and maintenance of your bike, is now open. The scheme was introduced to encourage people to cycle again, which can contribute to improved health and well-being.

The repairs and/or maintenance can be for adult and children’s bikes, e-bikes, tandems, tricycles, hand-cycles and side-by-side cycles. People who use manual wheelchairs are also eligible.

The process is simple, click here to find your nearest participating shop/garage and contact them to book your bike in. 

For more information, visit the Transport Scotland website.


Volunteering to support your community

The 'Scotland Cares' campaign has launched to encourage people to volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Updated: 06/04/20


While the most important ask for the public remains to stay at home and follow the essential public health guidance, people who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical, emotional or medical help to those most in need.


If you are interested in volunteering to support your community there are 3 categories:

  • returning NHS workers will be directed to existing voluntary arrangements in NHS Scotland
  • people offering general support will be directed to a site co-ordinated by the Red Cross to join their community reserve volunteers
  • people looking for specific opportunities in their local area will be directed to Volunteer Scotland

The Ready Scotland website has more information on Volunteering

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