Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions for staff

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called Coronavirus.

Employees should ensure they are following current advice provided by the Government.

The advice is being updated as the situation develops so employees are encouraged to check the site regularly and familiarise themselves with new and updated guidelines.

The Council will continue to follow Government and Public Health England advice and we have produced a set of FAQs below for staff which are available on the intranet (or on ESS and upon request via managers if you do not have access to the intranet).

These answer some common COVID-19 related questions which people have and they will be updated as and when necessary.

We have to be as prepared as possible for COVID-19 impacting on our workforce, in terms of attendance and our ability to deliver services and, for that reason, business continuity planning is taking place to ensure as far as is possible all business critical services to our residents are delivered.

I know you will have a positive, can-do attitude and that you will give total support to colleagues across the council, whatever the situation and whatever you may be asked to do to support essential and high-priority services.

Caroline Lacey

Chief Executive

Last updated - 2 September

What's new...

In the latest version of the FAQs staff are advised on what they need to do to return to the office from Tuesday 1 September.

Clarification has been provided on mileage claims while working from home or travelling into your place of work.

Coronavirus - Frequently Asked Questions

Recording COVID-19 and Symptoms
How do I record an absence due to COVID-19 related issues?

COVID-19 absences for Council employees should be recorded by their manager contacting HR Employment Services Helpdesk. It is crucial that you update the reason for your absence on the system as the situation changes, for example, if you are self-isolating and then become symptomatic, or are self-isolating and are then tested negative/positive.

This is to ensure that correct payments are made as appropriate.

Our preferred method of contact at this time is email:

hr.helpdesk@eastriding.gov.uk

A phone line is also available for urgent enquiries: 1221

School employees absence related to COVID-19 should be reported to the school Business Manager and recorded on iTrent.

The following categories are available for recording COVID-19:

  • If a reportee is required to self-isolate for 14 days, as advised by government guidelines or a medical professional including NHS 111, and is working from home - 'self-isolation working from home'
  • If a reportee is required to self-isolate for 14 days, as advised by government guidelines or a medical professional including NHS 111, but is not working from home - 'self-isolation not working from home'
  • If a reportee is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 - 'suspected symptoms'
  • If a reportee has been tested and has a confirmed case of COVID-19 - 'tested and confirmed'
  • If a reportee is in the 'extremely vulnerable' group and is 'shielding' and has received a letter from the NHS in line with government guidelines and is working from home - 'shielding working from home'
  • If a reportee is in the 'extremely vulnerable' group and is 'shielding' and has received a letter from the NHS in line with government guidelines, but is not working from home - 'shielding not working from home'
  • If a reportee is not attending work, not due to any of the above reasons, and is not able to work from home - 'other'

An employee should only self-isolate when a household member is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they have been advised to by Test and Trace, prior to surgery or a member of their household is going into hospital for surgery. Self-isolation should only last 14 days.

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or have been tested and confirmed as having COVID-19 your absence will be deducted from your sick pay entitlement, however it will not be taken into account for consideration for any attendance level warning within the policy.

COVID-19 absences due to the above reasons need to be reported to the HR Employment Services Helpdesk for recording, even if the employee is still working from home.

What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, or you have received a positive COVID-19 test result, you must immediately self-isolate at home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started or when your positive test was taken. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

If you have not already had a test, you should arrange to have one to see if you have COVID-19. Instructions on how to book a test are below.

Symptoms are either:

  • A high temperature (fever) - You don't need a thermometer or to know a precise temperature. If you feel hot to touch on your chest or back you have a high temperature.
  • A new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
  • A loss or change to your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia).

If you have symptoms you need to stay away from other people.

Refer to NHS 111 online for more guidance.

Those with mild symptoms will not be tested.

You do need to follow the usual sickness absence notification procedures to inform your manager you are self-isolating and the reason.

Please refer to the government guidelines for more information.

I am confused about whether I am classed as self-isolating or not. Is any guidance available?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19, refer to the question above to find out how to arrange a test. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

If you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you also must self-isolate for at least 10 days, starting from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.

After 10 days, if you still have a temperature you should continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice. You do not need to self-isolate after 10 days if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

If you live with others, all other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14 day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appear, regardless of what day they are on in their original 14 day isolation period.

What if I live with or share accommodation with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19?

The Government is now advising whole households to self-isolate for 14 days if someone develops a high temperature and/ or a new persistent cough.

If you live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date when the other person became ill.

You should only self-isolate for 14 days if someone in your household develops symptoms, unless you then display symptoms.

If you then display symptoms you should self-isolate for 10 days from the first day of your symptoms.

What will happen if individuals in the workplace have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

The NHS test and trace service will follow up with people who need to self-isolate because they have had close recent contact with someone, who might be a colleague, who has tested positive for coronavirus. It will do this through:

  • dedicated contact tracing staff
  • local public health experts
  • online services

Please refer to questions relating to Test and Trace process below for more information.

Please also refer to the Guidelines for Dealing with Major Emergencies and the government guidelines for more information when working with colleagues in any of the above situation.

What happens if my manager believes I should self-isolate?

If your manager has concerns that you should self-isolate, as you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or you are showing symptoms, you should initially remove yourself to at least a 2 metre distance from other people and refer to NHS 111 online coronavirus service for further advice.

Testing
Can I be tested for COVID-19?

Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus can now request a test through the NHS website.

You can apply for a test online.

You'll be asked:

  • how you want to get the test - at a drive-through or walk-through test site or by ordering a home test kit
  • for details such as your name, mobile number and address
Days since symptoms startedWhat you can order
Days 1 to 4Book a drive-through or walk-through test at a test site or order a home test kit.Order the kit by 3pm on day 4 to make sure you can do the test in the first 5 days.
Day 5Book a test at a test site. It's too late to order a home test kit.
Day 6 onwardsIt's too late for a test.
What is Test and Trace and how will it affect me?

The government has introduced a new NHS Test and Trace service. Anyone with Coronavirus symptoms is being asked to be tested, and the close contacts of anyone who tests positive will be traced. The service will help to identify, contain and control the movement of the virus, and help save lives.

If someone tests positive for Coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace service will use dedicated contact tracing staff, online services and local public health experts to identify any close recent contacts the person has had and alert those most at risk of contracting the virus who need to self-isolate.

Further advice is available on the government website

What if I test positive for COVID-19?

The NHS test and trace service will contact you after you have received a positive result, the service will use text messages, email or phone. They will ask you:

  • if you have family members or other household members living with you. In line with the medical advice they must remain in self-isolation for the rest of the 14 day period from when your symptoms began
  • if you have had any close contact with anyone other than members of your household. They will be interested in the 48 hours before you developed symptoms and the time since you developed symptoms.
    Close contact means:
    • having face-to-face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away)
    • spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
    • travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane
    • if you work in - or have recently visited - a setting with other people (for example, a GP surgery, a school or a workplace)
  • They will ask you to provide, where possible, the names and contact details (for example, email address, telephone number) for the people you have had close contact with. This may include your work colleagues.

The manager and employee must discuss the options available including working from home if the employee is well enough to do so.

After 10 days, or longer, if you still have symptoms other than cough or loss/change of sense of smell/taste, you must continue to self-isolate until you feel better. You do not need to self-isolate if you only have a cough or loss/change of sense of smell/taste after 10 days, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

What if I test negative for COVID-19? Can I go back to work?

If you receive a negative result they must inform your manager and discuss a risk assessment to return to work. If you are not experiencing symptoms i.e. a high temperature, a new continuous cough (this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours) or anosmia (loss/change of sense of smell/taste) then you may return to work.

I am about to return to work from maternity leave/sickness absence. What shall I do as my usual place of work is closed?

Speak to your Line Manager in the first instance. If you are currently on maternity leave, sickness absence or self-isolating you will remain on this until you let your manager know you are intending to return to work. You will need to discuss your return to work with your Manager, particularly if you need to work from home, your normal place of work is closed due to Coronavirus or you are a critical worker etc.

If I am self-isolating because a member of my household has symptoms and they test negative for COVID-19 can I return to work?

If you do not have symptoms but are self-isolating because a member of the household does and the member of your household tests negative, you can return to work without being tested yourself if you remain symptom free and there is no need for you to continue with the 14 day self-isolation period.

What will happen if I am contacted by the test and trace team because I have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive for Covid-19?

If the NHS test and trace team identify you as someone who has had close recent contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, they will notify you that you must self-isolate in line with medical advice for 14 days.

You may be feeling well and not have any symptoms, but it is still essential for you to follow the advice that you are given.

This is because, if you have been infected, you could be infectious to others at any point up to 14 days. Some people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms at all and it is therefore crucial to self-isolate to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

You must inform your manager as soon as possible if you have been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team and have been advised to isolate for 14 days.

If I am contacted via the test and trace system but have no symptoms do I need a Covid Test?

If you do not have symptoms, you must not seek a test, as the scientific evidence shows that the test may not be able to detect whether you have the virus.

Absence reporting and sick leave
Do I have to certify my absence from work?

Medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After this time a fit note is normally required, however the Council/school will use its discretion around the need for medical evidence if an employee has been advised to self-isolate and therefore not attend the workplace or visit a GP surgery due to suspected COVID-19. Employees are required to communicate regularly with their manager.

The government have provided an NHS Isolation Note for those who are self-isolating for more than 7 days which can be completed online. However the Council/school do not require employees to provide this note. Instead, employees can simply inform their manager that they are self-isolating.

Will I be paid sick pay when I am absent from work due to COVID-19?

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or have been tested and confirmed as having COVID-19 your absence will be deducted from your sick pay entitlement, however it will not be taken into account for consideration for any attendance level warning within the policy.

Employees on NJC terms and conditions

The Council's sickness scheme allows an employee on NJC terms and conditions who is prevented from attending work because of contact with infectious disease to be entitled to receive normal pay.

When an employee is required to self-isolate or is placed in quarantine, these provisions will apply.

Employees on 'Burgundy Book' terms and conditions

When an employee is absent due to an infectious disease (such as COVID-19), they shall receive full pay and the absence will not be counted towards their entitlement to sick leave.

When an employee shares accommodation with someone with an infectious disease and are required to be absent from work as a result, or the workplace is closed as a result of an infectious disease, the employee shall receive full pay and the absence will not be counted towards their entitlement to sick leave.

Will my absence relating to COVID-19 be taken into account for consideration of an attendance level warning within the attendance at work policy?

Any absence as a result or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or being confirmed as having COVID-19. Any absence due to an employee being required to self-isolate or be placed in quarantine due to COVID-19 will be recorded but not count as an absence which would be used in consideration of the attendance level warnings.

I have been absent from work due to COVID-19. What should I do now I no longer have symptoms or are no longer self-isolating?

If you have self-isolated in line with government guidelines for 14 days and have not developed symptoms you no longer need to self-isolate and can return to work. Your manager will need to log your return to work on iTrent. You may be required to work from home, or an alternative location, if your normal workplace is closed. You will need to speak to your manager for instructions and ensure you are complying with government guidelines in relation to social distancing and 'shielding'.

If you have been absent from work with symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms. After 10 days, if you feel well again you can return to work. Your manager will need to log onto iTrent on your return to work. You may be required to work from home or an alternative location if your normal workplace is closed. You will need to speak to your manager for instructions and ensure you are complying with government guidelines in relation to social distancing and 'shielding'.

If you have been tested and have a confirmed case of COVID-19 please follow the guidance provided by the medical professionals.

Vulnerable groups
How is government guidance on shielding changing from Saturday 1 August?

From Saturday 1 August, the government will pause shielding unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly.

If you are extremely clinically vulnerable you may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so stay at home as much as you can and continue to take precautions when you do go out. You can do this by washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and keeping 2 metres away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible.

From 1 August, you'll be advised you can go out to more places and see more people. The advice is:

  • you can go to work, as long as the workplace is COVID secure - but carry on working from home if you can
  • children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can go back to school (when the rest of their class goes back)
  • you can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise - keeping 2 metres away wherever possible

How do I know if I am in a clinical vulnerable group?

The Government advises that those in the following groups are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds)
    • chronic (long term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
    • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
    • pregnant women

People in this group are strongly advised to follow government guidance on social distancing at all times.

Note: there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, the NHS in England will or may already have directly contacted you with advice about the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe.

People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:

  • solid organ transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
  • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • people with severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • people with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell)
  • people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • women who are pregnant and have significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

Other people have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. GPs and hospital clinicians have been provided with guidance to support these decisions.

Government guidance on shielding for this group changes from 1 August. The question above provides more information about shielding and will be updated in line with changing government guidance on shielding.

What should I do about coming into work if I have a dependent with a chronic underlying medical condition who falls into the 'extremely vulnerable' group?

You do not need to shield yourself, but you should do what you can to support them in shielding and carefully follow guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing).

The 'extremely vulnerable' are no longer advised to observe social distancing with other members of their household as long as they are well. Everyone in the household should regularly follow the advice on hand washing and respiratory hygiene, including regularly washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching their face and cleaning surfaces thoroughly that are touched regularly.

What should I do if have family members in the higher risk health group?

Government guidance states that if a member of staff lives with someone in a vulnerable health group, including those who are pregnant, they can attend their workplace but should continue to comply with general social distancing restrictions.

Caring responsibilities
What happens if I need time off for caring responsibilities due to the Coronavirus?

If you are caring for someone in your household who has symptoms of coronavirus, this period of absence should be regarded as self-isolation for 14 days. Given that you may then have been in direct contact with the virus, where possible, home working arrangements will be considered for the duration of the incubation period. Managers should keep in touch with and support employees. Please refer to the question on self-isolation for more details.

If you are caring for someone who is self-isolating, but does not have symptoms, you do not need to self-isolate. If the individual you are caring for develops symptoms your household will need to self-isolate. Please refer to the question on self-isolation.

Following any school closures, the Council/school will be fully supportive of employees with childcare responsibilities and consider flexible working arrangements, including working from home, adapting working patterns to care for children or dependants or taking time off, whether this is special leave, annual leave or flexible working.

Can I send my child to school?

Education and childcare settings are already open to priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers). Now that progress has been made in reducing the transmission of coronavirus, the Government are encouraging all eligible children to attend - it is no longer necessary for parents of eligible children to keep them at home if they can.

From the week commencing 1 June, the Government asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups.

From 15 June the Government asked secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10, year 12, and 16 to 19 students who are due to take key exams next year, alongside the full time provision they are offering to priority groups.

The Government will be gradually increasing the number of children and young people attending schools and colleges.

For more information about whether your child is able to attend school please contact your child's school.

Working arrangements
I am an apprentice and I am unable to attend work and training at the moment. What should I do?

Training providers are being encouraged to deliver training remotely, and via e-learning, as far as is practicable, as well as keeping in touch with you directly. You can continue evidencing your learning time via these distance learning tools as well as completing other activities around the workplace, where possible. If you are not able to attend your workplace this could be an opportunity for you to get ahead with compiling your evidence in anticipation of assessor contact.

The end-point of assessment may be modified to an earlier or later date and remote assessments may be made.

Furlough does not currently apply to Apprentices employed by the Local Authority.

I am unable to work at the moment due to COVID-19. Can I become a 'furloughed worker' in line with the Government Job Retention Scheme?

The Government's Job Retention Scheme is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus, however as Councils and schools receive public funding for staff costs they are not expected to furlough their staff.

Working arrangements from Tuesday 1 September
What do I need to do to be able to return to the office?

Staff are able to return to the office from Tuesday 1 September. There are a number of steps that you need to take in order to return. This process, along with a number of frequently asked questions are available in our return to the office section.

Annual leave and foreign travel
What should I do about my annual leave while the country is in 'lock-down'?

If you are an NJC employee and you have more than the usual maximum 5 day pro rata annual leave to carry forward at the end of the leave year (March 2020), CMT have agreed that, due to the exceptional circumstances, you are able to carry forward a maximum of 15 days into the new leave year (April 2020). The additional 15 days must be used over the next two leave years (by March 2022).

In addition you are able to carry forward a maximum of 15 days (10 days on top of the usual 5) into the new leave year (April 2021). The additional 15 days must be used over the next two leave years (by March 2023).

However it is expected that you still use some of your leave entitlement while in 'lock-down'. Employees should not save all of their leave until 'lock-down' ends. It is still important for your wellbeing to take time away from work duties to rest and recuperate.

The government has introduced regulations enable workers to carry 4 weeks statutory leave forward where the impact of coronavirus means that it has not been reasonably practicable to take it in the leave year to which it relates.

If you are unable to take leave at the current time due to work requirements (for example an increased workload due to COVID-19) in exceptional circumstances, you may carry your annual leave forward into the following leave year, if necessary. In this instance you must discuss this with your manager in advance in order to agree how this will be managed and that the circumstances comply with the legislation.

Am I able to take annual leave if I wish during 'lock-down'?

You are able to take annual leave during 'lock-down', subject to agreement from your line manager, in the normal way. Although you may be working from home or working in a different way at present, it is important to be mindful of your wellbeing by ensuring you take breaks and have time off work. This may be helpful if you are juggling caring responsibilities and working from home, for example.

Additional information relating to supporting your health and wellbeing during the pandemic is available on Insight.

If I am instructed to quarantine on my return from a foreign holiday, what is the position with regards returning to work?

Rules have been introduced from 8 June 2020 which mean that any employee entering the UK after this date, will not be allowed to leave the place they are staying for the first 14 days (quarantine). From 10 July this excludes those who have arrived from a country or territory on the travel corridor list.

Further details of the government advice regarding quarantine and the travel corridor list.

If you have booked your travel before 23 March 2020 prior to lockdown and you will not be available for work when you return you must inform your manager immediately to discuss the situation with you and agree how the period of quarantine will be covered.

Wherever possible, you will be supported to work from home for any days you would have been expected to be at work, although this is at the discretion and agreement of the manager. Those who are unable to undertake their role from home should be granted paid leave for any days they would have expected to be at work.

If you have booked your travel after 23 March 2020, since the introduction of lockdown in the UK or you are planning to book a holiday abroad you must ensure that you have sufficient annual leave to cover the period to self-isolate for 14 days upon your return and have agreed this period with your line manager. This will be at the manager's discretion in line with the needs of the service

The government have stated that they will keep conditions in the travel corridor list countries under review and if they get worse they will remove them from the list and reintroduce quarantine. You should consider all possibilities prior to travelling to a foreign country and it is your responsibility to check whether quarantine will apply upon your return. Discuss arrangements in advance with your manager.

I need to go abroad for a family emergency, what happens if I need to quarantine upon return?

It is acknowledged that there may be extenuating circumstances that occur which are outside of anyone's control e.g. an employee who needs to travel abroad for a family funeral. In these circumstances, your manager should use their discretion to determine how the quarantine period should be covered. You should notify the manager that you will be travelling abroad as soon as possible to agree this.

I participate in the Flexitime Scheme. Am I able to accrue flexi-time during 'lock-down'?

Whilst the corporate flexitime framework remains operative the accrual of flexitime should be minimised during the current period. Services should adopt a pragmatic approach to the service schemes adopted and determine the most appropriate working practices during this period including temporarily pausing schemes as appropriate.

Driving and mileage
I am an employee who has volunteered to undertake different duties during the COVID-19 lockdown. My new duties include driving for work to deliver essential food parcels. Do I need to have business insurance while doing this?

The Council's and maintained schools insurers are extending the Council's Motor Insurance programme to incorporate Occasional Business Use for the period for which such action is deemed necessary. This will apply to employees' own vehicles used for business purposes. This cover will be provided on a Comprehensive basis subject to an excess of £100 in respect of each and every claim for own damage (Accidental Damage, Fire, Theft and Windscreen replacement). The excess is payable by the employee.

This insurance is contingency cover and any employees who already have insurance for business use should use their own policy in the first instance.

This is not applicable to academy employees who must ensure their own policy will cover any additional duties undertaken.

As I am now working from home do I still need to deduct home to work mileage from my mileage claims?

Until Tuesday 1 September any employee who is working from home will not be required to deduct their home to work mileage from any mileage claim where they are travelling to another site to undertake their duties. In this instance all miles travelled for business purposes will be paid. This is not applicable for journeys to the employee's normal place of work, where home to work mileage should still be deducted.

With effect from Tuesday 1 September employees who have partially returned to their normal base are not required to deduct home to work mileage on days they are based at home but should deduct home to work mileage on days they are 'attending the workplace'. All employees should aim to minimise their mileage claims and plan accordingly. It is the manager's responsibility to monitor mileage claims and ensure that mileage is planned to minimise the cost to the council. On days that employees do work from home, and are required to travel for work purposes, home to the boundary mileage will not be payable.

For example, from 1 September, if you are only working from home you won't need to deduct any home to work mileage if you travel for work purposes, however you can only claim from the East Riding boundary.

If you are partially working from your normal workplace and partially working from home, you need to deduct home to work mileage on days you go into your normal workplace.

Do I need any additional checks to be done in order to drive for work purposes if I don't normally?

In order to drive your vehicle for work purposes you need to have undertaken a Drivers Licence Check, even if driving is not normally part of your duties.

If you are an employee of the Council or a maintained school and require a Drivers Licence Check please send an individual or group email to:

econsentquery@drivercheck.co.uk

cc to:

admin@drivercheck.co.uk, fleet.management@eastriding.gov.uk

Please include the following details in your email:

  • Drivers Full Name (as shown on the licence)
  • Date of Birth
  • Email address

with the wording 'Please add to East Riding of Yorkshire Council account'

More information

I currently pay for a parking season ticket for use in Council car parks. Is there a way to get a refund as I am not able to use it at the moment?

The Council has agreed an extension to the free parking for staff who pay for a parking permit. Details regarding staff parking permit payments:

  • Paper permits with an expiry date between 1/4/2020 and 31/07/2020 can still be used, even though expired. This reflects the period permit charges were made free. If you want to renew your permit, they should be renewed on or before 1/8/2020.
  • For those staff who paid upfront, permit expiry dates can be extended free of charge to reflect the free period by contacting the traffic and parking team.
  • Staff who pay via salary deduction do not need to restart their permits until such time as they need to start using council car parks again. Requesting a permit should be done in the normal way.
  • Staff who paid in advance for a permit may request a refund by contacting the traffic and parking team.

Staff are asked to contact the parking team on 01482 395411 or email parkingnotifications@eastriding.gov.uk to discuss.

Parking charges in Council car parks and parking bays have been reinstated with effect from the 1 June 20, however, NHS and critical care staff, as well as NHS Covid-19 volunteers, will still benefit from free parking when on official duty as long as they display their NHS pass.

Controlled parking zone restrictions will continue to apply, where applicable.

Allowances and payments
I normally work as a casual for the Council. Will I continue to receive payments?

If you are a true casual worker - i.e. you work as and when required with no guarantee of work, you are not entitled to receive a payment.

In the event that you are a true casual, your manager may agree to pay you for sessions which had already been booked in but have had to be cancelled due to coronavirus. In this event the manager may need to redeploy you to alternative duties should the need arise.

If, in reality, you work regular sessions and hours, you may be entitled to payment. In this event you will need to contact your line manager. If your manager is in agreement they will need to complete timesheet and submit them in the normal manner. Failure to do complete a time sheet will mean you are not in receipt of payments.

Regular work does not mean that you have worked the Council for a number of years (you could have worked for the Council for a number of years in a casual capacity), but rather that you have regular predictable work.

As lock-down is eased and services begin to reopen, in full or part, decisions will be made on when it is appropriate to cease payments for casual worker, on a service by service basis.

Please contact your line manager for more information.

Home broadband limits may be reimposed by my broadband provider soon. What is the council's position on this?

We are in discussion with several internet service providers (ISPs) to understand their approach when reinstating monthly download limits. It is expected that some ISP's may start introducing limits again from September 2020, we have no further information at the moment.

If you are on a limited package we recommend that you contact your ISP to understand your personal circumstances as the council cannot act on your behalf.

Should data limits become an issue to continue working from home please discuss this with your line manager.

Can I claim telephone expenses for using my personal mobile and/or home landline telephone for work purposes?

Employees should maximise the options available to make and receive voice and video calls such as work mobile telephone, personal mobile if you have agreed to use this for work purposes or Microsoft Teams, which has had more functionality rolled out to include Microsoft Calendar which can be used as a virtual meeting room, allowing both internal and external participants to join. If you do not have access to Microsoft Teams please contact the IT Service Desk.

If you are using LoopUp for conferencing calls, if you access via the weblink and add in your contact number it will call you rather than you having to call in, this works on mobiles and landline telephones.

If no other alternatives are available or there are connectivity/signal issues with mobile telephones you may seek agreement with your line manager/budget holder to make a claim via iTrent MSS as a subsistence claim. Claims can only be made for actual call costs and not for line rental or a monthly mobile contract charge. Evidence of call charges must be retained and provided upon request.

However, if you are in receipt of a £5 allowance for using your personal mobile for work purposes in line with the Mobile Device Policy then you can only claim in excess of £5 for calls made from an alternative telephone line.

I am working over a Bank Holiday weekend. Will I receive additional hours and TOIL in the normal manner?

Please refer to the annual leave guidelines for details of payments for Bank Holiday working.

* This does not apply to council services where collective agreements have added such days to the employee's leave entitlement. Such days will be treated as normal working days and accrue no enhancements.

Can I claim an allowance for working from home during the coronavirus epidemic?

The council does not pay an allowance for this purpose however HMRC have a provision where tax relief may be claimed on home working expenses via Form P87 or via self-assessment. Should you wish to claim you must do so individually by either of these methods.

For more information visit this gov.uk information page.

Additional support
I pay for membership to East Riding Leisure Centres through the council corporate membership scheme and my payments were paused. Will deductions restart now that some leisure centres are open?

The council has paused leisure centre membership deductions with effect from 31 March 2020.

Most leisure centres reopened on Saturday 25 July with changes in place to protect customers and staff. For further details on the leisure centre temporary programmes and facilities visit East Riding Leisure or contact your local centre.

Membership fee payments will restart on Monday 31 August 2020. All members will have been contacted about restarting their membership. If you are a member and have not received anything then please email the leisure team.

I am finding it very difficult to deal with this situation. Is there any support the Council can offer me or my family?

The Council offers an Employee Assistant Programme (EAP) which offers a free telephone helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. The helpline is open to all Council employees and their families and offers confidential advice relating to:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional problems
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Bereavement
  • Family issues
  • Debt
  • Legal information

Employees are able to speak to qualified counsellors, or get advice from the information team, which is similar to Citizens Advice.

To access the advice line please call 0800 107 6147.

Guidance is also available from the Government on the mental health and wellbeing aspect of Coronavirus.

How do I avoid catching or spreading COVID-19?

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often - do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don't

  • touch your hands, eyes or mouth if your hands are not clean.

Please refer to the Government guidelines for more information.

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