Please note that the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is developing quickly and information will be updated with the latest guidance.
- Government response to coronavirus: stay informed with the latest information
- NHS coronavirus information: the latest information about protecting yourself, managing symptoms and preventing the spread of coronavirus
If you have any further concerns, a general enquiries email account has been set up for staff and members: COVID19enquiries@wirral.gov.uk
Occupational Health Service guidance is also available.
Other information for staff
Last updated 31 March 2020
Working from home
The Council’s position is that staff who can work at home should now do so until further notice. It is not just for one day. The working from home ‘test day’ on Wednesday 18th March was about testing how that works and identifying any issues that need resolving.
Staff must be aware that whilst they may continue carrying out their usual duties, some areas may be reprioritised as part of the council’s wider preparations to focus resources and staff on to the most critical services relied upon by residents. Staff will be updated on these decisions and changes as often as possible.
We will periodically ask for volunteers to ensure we can continue to deliver critical services. Unless you volunteer, you will not be instructed to undertake different duties unless it is safe and reasonable to do so taking into account the nature of your current role, duties, pay and personal circumstances.
I have an underlying medical condition what should I do?
We continue to follow guidance issued by Public Health England. This is being updated almost daily at nhs.uk/coronavirus. In line with the latest Government instructions we should all now be practicing social distancing and working at home if possible.
The NHS are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
This group includes those who are:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds:
- chronic (long-term) 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
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
- those who are pregnant
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, we are advised that next week NHS England will directly contact you with advice the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe.
For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.
People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:
- People who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukemia who are at any stage of treatment
- People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
- People with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
If it is not possible to work at home, employees need to discuss options with their line manager. However, if you have an underlying health condition described by the Public Health guidance, you will not be asked to undertake a role or duties in the office or community.
Our priority is employee’s health and wellbeing. We do not intend for there to be any dispute with staff about whether they meet this criteria or not.
I live alone and I have symptoms of coronavirus illness, what should I do?
If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), such as a fever or a new continuous cough, stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started. However, as Public Health advice is changing regularly, you should check the latest advice.
I live with others and me or one of them has symptoms what should I do?
The latest advice from Public Health England (18 March), specified that:
- if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well 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 house became ill.
- for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
- it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
- if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
- if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
- if you have coronavirus symptoms:
- do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
- you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
- testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
- plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
- ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
- wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
- if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
However, as Public Health advice is changing regularly, you should check the latest advice.
Should I do anything to prepare my family in light of COVID-19?
Public Health England suggests that some of the ways in which you could prepare include:
- talk to your neighbours and family and exchange phone numbers of household contacts
- consider and plan for those in your home who are considered vulnerable
- create a contact list with phone numbers of neighbours, schools, employer, chemist, NHS 111
- set up online shopping accounts if possible
I live with someone who has been advised to self-isolate because they are in a vulnerable group or have an underlying medical condition? Do I also need to self-isolate?
The current Public Health advice is that there is no requirement for you to also self-isolate unless you and/or someone in your house is displaying symptoms.
Additionally, social distancing measures are now recommended to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
- Work from home, where possible.
- Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
- Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
Will I get paid as normal if my service is closed and I am unable to work at home?
Yes. You will paid in full until further notice. We would however ask that you do what you can, when you can, however little this is – it all helps. We will periodically be asking for volunteers to ensure we can continue to run critical services which our residents depend on. Thank you.
I normally work weekends or nights and attract enhancements – will I be paid as normal if my service is closed.
Yes. As part of this, if you are contacted to work at the weekend or nights we may ask you to support any priority work needed at that time.
I am a casual or sessional worker – what will happen with my pay?
If you are a ‘regular’ casual worker, the Council will continue to pay you. This will be based on an average weekly hours you have worked over 12 months.
I work different hours each week depending on service demands etc – how will my pay be calculated?
Your pay will be based on an average weekly hours you have worked over 12 months.