Scroll down this page for information about support for staff during the Coronavirus, and flexibilities during this exceptional time. This infographic sets out a range of: Resources and Support Available to Staff 

Induction for Staff Checklist - June 2021 

Other links

Staff Testing for Coronavirus (Email: elft.testing@nhs.net for advice)

Coronavirus COVID-19 People Manager's Guidance (May 2021)

Return to Work Guidance for Shielding Staff(May 2021)

Staff Wellbeing

NHS Offers Near You

Working remotely

Information for Staff Travelling Abroad

Parking, Travel & Accommodation

Workstreams

Staff Survey Results 2020

Vulnerable Household Members & Underlying Health Conditions 

Whilst shielding has now been paused by the government staff safety is of paramount importance and the Trust’s approach to returning to the workplace will be steady and considered. Please review the  return to work guidance for Shielding Staff here – for further details

Shielding is currently paused. Although the advice to shield has ended, clinically extremely vulnerable people must continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone.

We are also advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves. You are advised to follow the practical steps described below to minimise your risk of exposure to the virus.

Childcare 

Time off for childcare where schools are closed due to COVID-19

Government advice during ‘lock-downs has been that children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required. Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response include those who work in health and social care.

This includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

In lockdowns when schools have been shut, ELFT has arranged supplementary online classrooms & the Yoopies childcare platform. Should this be the case in the future, please keep a lookout for additional ELFT childcare support.  

What should staff do where a child who is well is sent home from school having been in contact with a confirmed COVID – 19 case?

Where a staff member’s child is required to self-isolate but are not sick with COVID-19 there is no requirement for the staff member to self-isolate and they can attend work as normal.

What arrangements are in place to support staff with childcare arrangements?

The Trust recognises that the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic is likely to have an impact on childcare arrangements and the ability of staff to attend work. Staggered drop-offs and pick-ups, changes to school club and wrap-around care arrangements, as well as the possibility of local quarantine are all potential issues for parents and carers.

Staff should be encouraged to raise any concerns before issues arise, and managers are advised to have a discussion with affected staff in order to find a sensible arrangement, based on their needs, as well as those of the service.

Options to support staff making childcare arrangements include:

  • Are other household/family members able to care for children? In a household that includes a non-healthcare worker the Trust asks that, wherever possible, the healthcare worker is supported to attend work as a priority
  • Would home working or temporary changes to working hours/patterns help?
  • The use of accrued TOIL or annual leave to make up hours not worked
  • The option to accrue hours owed (negative TOIL) in line with rostering arrangements/agreement with the line manager
  • Unpaid leave - Career break, parental leave
  • Temporary redeployment to another department where
  • The use of the special leave policy applies (see policy and guidance) . .
  • Where government ‘lock downs’ and school closures are enforced special leave has been increased from 5 days to 10 days
  • Using annual leave allocation flexibly and/ or buying selling annual leave

Further advice can be sought from your People Adviser or People Business Partner

Working Time Directive During COVID-19

The Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) states that no member of staff may work more than 48 hours (including overtime) in a 7-day period on average whether substantive staff or Bank staff unless they have signed the Individual Working Hours Agreement form.  However, providing that the Individual Working Hours Agreement form is signed, ELFT recommend that staff work up to a maximum of 70 hours per week. However, some discretion and flexibility may be needed during the pandemic.  
“Working Time Regulations 1998” – ELFT Rules during COVID-19 Pandemic

Dependents (Carers) Leave

In terms of dependents (Carers) leave, this will be agreed with the line manager in line with the Annual and Special Leave Policy and there is an expectation that flexible working will be discussed. We encourage staff to plan ahead and consider alternative childcare/carer arrangements for example in the event of school closure.

The amount of Carers leave has been temporarily increased from 5 days to 10 days during the pandemic. Staff can allocate the twelve months amount in one episode. Amounts already been taken will be taken in to account. Where schools are closed and health and social care services are reduced, and flexible working is not possible, a combination of annual leave and unpaid leave should also be considered. Each case must be considered on its merits and will be at the line manager’s discretion.  

Ending Isolation

Ending self-isolation and household-isolation > 
You should remain at home until 7 days after the onset of your symptoms. After 7 days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine (work). A cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean you must continue to self-isolate for more than 7 days.

GP Fit Notes

GP Fit Notes are no longer required in respect to COVID-19. These have now been replaced with Isolation Notes, which provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to Coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms.

For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they don’t need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence - the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.

The service, which requires users to answer a few questions, is available via the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or the NHS.UK/coronavirus website.

Sick Pay Entitlement

Normal sickness provisions, will be paused for the duration of the pandemic for sickness absence related to COVID-19. For normal sickness absence that is not related to COVID-19, normal provisions will apply as usual.

Sick pay will not be affected by COVID absence and staff will continue to receive full pay and an average of enhancements received over a reference period will also be paid.

Any sickness absence related to COVID-19 for AfC and medical staff must be recorded separately as in section 5 below and will not be counted for the purposes of any sickness absence triggers or sickness management policies.

Annual Leave

Pandemic Incident - Annual Leave Guidance >

When staff have been unable to take annual leave for the 2019/2020 leave year and this results in them having additional days left by 31st March 2020, in view of these unprecedented circumstances, the following options are available:

  • The working time directive in terms of yearly leave allowance stipulates that staff must take their minimum statutory yearly allowance of 28 calendar days (pro rata for part time staff). e.g. somebody entitled to 27 days per year plus 8 bank holidays has an overall entitlement of 35 days. The staff member would ordinarily be required to take the minimum statutory amount of 28 days.  However, in view of these unprecedented circumstances and latest government advice, staff can carry over any days not taken into the 2020/2021 leave year for use in the next 2 years.
  • The second option is for staff to sell their excess annual leave from the 2019/2020 leave year.  However, the working time directive in terms of yearly leave allowance needs to be followed with regards to selling leave and staff must take their minimum statutory yearly allowance of 28 calendar days (pro rata for part time staff and this includes bank holidays). The staff member must take the minimum statutory amount of 28 days but can sell any additional days above this.
  • the Exceptional Leave policy - the eligible period has changed to 1 April 2019 to 6 March 2020

Reporting/Recording COVID-19 Related Absences

Any staff showing symptoms should follow national guidance and inform their manager and agree ongoing reporting procedures.  

  • To record any absence for a member of staff on HealthRoster in relation to COVID19, please navigate to the date in question on the roster, select the day and either right click on the duty assigned on the day or click on the duty once and select from the bottom task bar “Add Unavailability”. “COVID-19 – COVID-19” will appear and you need to follow this drop down.
  • Once selected, you will then need to select from the “Secondary Sickness Reason” dropdown box the actual related reason for COVID19 Sickness, either COVID-19 – Confirmed or COVID-19 – Suspected. Once selected the remainder of the details for sickness can be followed as per the quick reference guide for recording unavailability on HealthRoster. For any COVID19 absence in relation to Self-Isolation or Carers Leave this should be recorded using the main group reason as “Other Leave”. 
  • If your staff are not on Healthroster, please record the absence on the electronic Sickness Absence form as there is section for COVID-19.

We understand that some staff are not sick, however are working from home/self-isolating. We need to capture all data related to COVID-19, so please capture staff who are working from home too, on the relevant form.

Bank Staff

The Trust will pay all shifts booked prior to the individual becoming unavailable to a 1) maximum of 7 days from the first day they self-isolate (if they live alone) and 2) maximum of 14 days from the first day they self-isolate (if they live with others). Staff who choose to travel for non-essential reasons to a country or region where travel is not recommended due to the pandemic, will not be paid for any resulting self-isolation that may be required.  

Bradford Score

During this challenging time, Bradford scores or sickness triggers will NOT be affected as a result of COVID-19 related absences.

Student Nurses & Apprentice Nursing Associates

Apprentice Nursing Associates need to follow the guidance given by their employers. Their Practice Facilitators will keep them informed of any changes in external placement arrangements and the university will keep them informed of any programme changes. More information for student nurses to follow. 

Virtual Meetings

All meetings at team and directorate level will be“virtual” rather than face to face meetings, especially where they involved travel. 

Recruitment

All ELFT interviews are to go ahead (preferably virtually) which will include three-panel members including service users who will attend virtually. However, it is advised to include the following on all position adverts “If you develop symptoms of coronavirus prior to coming for interview, please let us know and stay at home. No final job appointments will be made prior to your interview being rescheduled”.

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