Coronavirus Q&As and absence guidance
Last updated at 08:51 on Wednesday 24th March 2021.
Government guidance on local restrictions from 5th January:
Amey's Q&As are below and you can also find the Government's guidance here.
NHS Symptom Checker - here
Employees working from home may be able to claim tax relief on a proportion of their household bills up to the amount of £6 per week. For more information and to check eligibility go to https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/working-at-home
Home workers often benefit from financial savings due to a reduction in commuting, purchasing lunches etc.
PPE can be tried on to ensure correct sizing. Any garment that is tried on and is the incorrect fit must be returned to stores and quarantined separately from normal stock for a minimum of 72 hours before it is re issued. If it is to be returned to the supplier this should follow the normal process.
Unless advised locally, the services we deliver remain unaffected and will continue to operate as normal. This is essential to keeping the country operating.
If you continued to go into work or were able to work from home during the previous first lockdowns, then please do so again. If in doubt, please speak to your people manager.
The Government announcement for England’s second lockdown is available online. Please see the guidance for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland if you live or work in those geographies.
On 22 February the UK Government published a roadmap out of the national restrictions for the whole population, which explains how restrictions will be eased over time. As part of this roadmap, we can now inform you for those employees who were identified clinically extremely vulnerable individuals living in England and Wales that from 1 April 2021 you are no longer advised to shield.
The position on the changing guidance on shielding nationally varies across other areas of the UK and we will continually monitor these dates and how this will be implemented.
Until the social distancing rules are eased more widely, it is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to reduce the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing. In practice this means that from this date those identified as extremely clinically vulnerable can return to work, if working from home is not possible, providing workplaces are COVID SECURE
Group HSEQ has registered Amey with the Government scheme to provide lateral flow workplace testing and will have access to the free testing kit service. However, there are very strict protocols around this to ensure the accuracy rate remains high. At the moment, there is some evidence that the accuracy rate is only in the region of 60-70% for lateral flow testing. We are monitoring this and getting clinical advice from our Chief Medical Officer. Where it is felt that there would be a business/ community benefit then an account can contact their HSEQ Director in the first instance and a detailed pack will be sent out highlighting the clinical/ resource requirements needed to commit to workplace testing.
Currently there are no additional restrictions placed on those who live, work or travel through these areas. We are in touch with our clients who have not made any decisions to close buildings.
If you live in one of these post codes, please do visit your local authority site to arrange a test or find out how they are being administered (some are via door-to-door visits). The areas are currently: London (W7, N17, CR4), West Midlands (WS2), East of England (EN10), South East (ME15, GU21), North West (PR9) – this is a fluid situation and could be subject to change.
We encourage you to take a break from work, as resting is vital for your wellbeing even if you are not able to book a holiday away from home.
If you wish to carry over annual leave into the 2021/22 year which starts on 1st March, please agree this with your manager and submit the form (your manager will have this) to the HR helpdesk via MyGateway no later than 5th February.
The government guidance on this is available here.
As outlined above, any carry over holiday year requests will be checked against your holiday remaining as of 18th December 2020 and processed as per the information within the system. Please note that a further reconciliation check will be made once systems are back online and any amendments have been processed within the system.
Your holiday remaining can be seen in the Miscellaneous box, as with the December payslips. This is correct up to 18th December; holiday changes since then will need to be noted locally and keyed into MSS once SAP is restored.
You can find more information following this link - https://covid19.nhs.uk/information-and-resources.html
If you receive a notification you will know that someone who was recently in close proximity to you has since tested positive for COVID-19, but you will not know who the person was.
You should self-isolate for 10 days and get tested for COVID-19 before returning to work. You must report this to your manager, as usual.
When a person tests positive, they should input that into the app. The app then contacts all other users who have been in close contact with them, which is now associated with a positive test result.
No, once you confirm a positive case of COVID-19, the app will securely share this with the network of people you have been in contact with over the last 14-days. Personal details are never stored in the app and never shared with anyone.
Every Amey office location in England and Wales will have printed QR codes displayed at the entrance or in reception.
You must scan the QR code daily, on arrival only.
Once a QR code is scanned, the QR information will remain on a user’s phone for 21 days. The QR codes help to provide an easier way to check in so that users can be informed if a coronavirus breakout has happened there.
If an outbreak (more than two confirmed cases) is identified, the venue ID will be sent to all devices that have the app downloaded. It will then check if users have visited that venue and, if they have, provide an alert with advice on what to do.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days. You should also log in to the NHS COVID-19 Test and Trace app and declare that you have COVID-19.
Test and Trace apps use Bluetooth tokens which are anonymous, no information about you or your device is ever shared. The app uses tried and tested technology developed by Apple and Google that is designed to protect your privacy and data and is already working successfully in a number of countries across Europe.
At present, the app does not link to the contact tracing service directly. Once someone has a positive test, manual contact tracing will be initiated. It will operate in parallel, encouraging ‘high risk’ contacts that might have been missed otherwise, to get tested. This means that we will continue to manually log site and office attendance to support the government in their manual Test and Trace efforts.
All tokens are deleted from your device once they are more than 10 days old. Likewise, your token is only stored on other devices for 10 days once you come into contact with that person.
The app works in the background, using minimal data to protect you, your friends, family and colleagues. As you come into contact with other app users, your phones will automatically exchange encrypted Bluetooth tokens. These tokens are completely random and only say how long you have been in contact with another app user and how far apart you were. The tokens do not record your identity and are deleted after 10 days.
Should you test positive for COVID-19, you must log in to the app and declare this. It will then quickly and anonymously notify those you have had close contact with – anyone that you’ve been closer than 2 metres to for at least 15 minutes – and provide them with clear advice on what to do next.
The app also allows users to book a free test and has an isolation countdown timer to remind people how long to self-isolate for.
Some employees may be told to self-isolate multiple times under test and trace. Three consecutive requests is likely to be relatively unusual, however, precautionary self-isolation may happen more than once.
Managers should take reasonable steps to verify the absence for example, screenshots from the tracing app notification. If an employee has been advised to self-isolate by the NHS test and trace service, the service will provide them with a notification that they can present as evidence. If the manager has reason to mistrust the employee, they must contact Croner Advice service to seek further advice and support.
Launched on Thursday 28th May the Test & Trace service is a central part of the government’s coronavirus recovery strategy
- Anyone with symptoms will be tested and their close contacts will be traced
- People who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 10 days, even if they have no symptoms, to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus
- This infographic shows what you have to do
All absences related to Coronavirus must be created for each employee in MSS to ensure the employee receives the correct pay. As SAP is currently offline, please make a local record of this and key the records when the system is back up.
The following reasons should be used to categorise the absence correctly
CV01 CV19 confirmed case
CV02 CV19 slf-isol 10 day
- CV04 CV19 Shielding
CV05 CV19 Test & Trace
CV06 CV19 NHS App
Please only call Croner Advice Service if you need advice on Coronavirus related absences. If absence details are entered into MSS, there is not a requirement for you to open a case in Croner Professional.
You must self-isolate for at least 10 days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 10 days from when you started having symptoms. Further information is available here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works
If your child has symptoms you will need to self-isolate for 10 days or until he/she receives a negative test result. If your child’s bubble is affected, then he/she needs to self-isolate for 10 days. No other members of the household have to isolate unless your child then gets symptoms themselves.
Information for how you can access testing for Coronavirus has now been updated. If you or a team member develop a new continuous cough or fever or anosmia (change in sense of taste or smell), you are strongly advised to arrange a test via the relevant link below.
Arrangements for testing
- How to access the tests - click on this link
Sharing your test results
If you have a test and are comfortable to do so, please share the result with your manager. Due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you do not have to share your results with your manager if you do not want to.
Close contact means any of the following
- people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
- sexual partners
- a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), including: being coughed on, having a face-to-face conversation, within one metre, or having skin-to-skin physical contact, or any contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
- a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) for more than 15 minutes
- a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
More Government guidance on this is here.
Yes if you have symptoms you will be paid and in line with the guidance you must also take a test. If your test is positive you continue to isolate and if any of your household members get symptoms, they need to self-isolate. If it is negative, you continue to self-isolate until the end of the 10 days when you can then return to work.
- It is imperative that we take time to refresh and recuperate from the impact of coming to work every day. Holiday time was introduced to ensure that individuals could take a break and switch off in order to maintain their good health and wellbeing. As a responsible employer we want you to continue to take your time off and enjoy time at home with loved ones.
- We will be encouraging managers to ensure that you are taking time off to switch off re-boot your energy levels as whilst we know you can't go to your favourite beach, canal or historical site, the most important bit about the holiday is you and your wellbeing.
- Holiday time is agreed between the people manager and the employee and with the right amount of notice the employer will give dates when employees must be off work. Conversely if there are too many people requesting the same time off the manager will give alternative dates to the employee to ensure the smooth running of the business.
- What is important is that all employees who have booked holidays don’t incur unnecessary cancellation costs, therefore please ensure you follow the Government guidance at all times and your Tour operator advice. If you are unsure contact the EAP service or Citizens advice who will be able to help you.
- For suspected cases, there is no need to close or partially close a site.
- Remind everyone of the good hygiene principles and our guidance for self or household isolation, which can be found here: https://www.amey.co.uk/hub/advice-about-coronavirus/
Forced closure of a site due to confirmed COVID-19 by government health officials:
- Contact your Head of HR or HR Director for payment guidance.
- This work location will not need to be closed.
- The work location/vehicle should be cleaned in line with Amey Guidance which is based on PHE guidance.
- Do not disclose the name of the employee confirmed with COVID-19, for data protection reasons.
- If you choose not to follow the PHE guidance (for example, when reacting to client requests) and need to arrange a deep clean, please call your Procurement Lead who can advise further.
- Ensure all other employees on site are aware and run tool box talks using the guidance documents on self and household isolation and good hygiene practice found here: https://www.amey.co.uk/hub/advice-about-coronavirus/
To best apply the current Government guidance, we would encourage you to put into operation the following within your respective areas:
- Positively encourage all teams to follow the personal hygiene guidance at all times
- Positively encourage all teams to keep work wear well laundered in line with garment labels
- Positively encourage all teams to wear the specified PPE.
- Positively encourage all teams to wipe down touched surfaces regularly (vehicles/plant/tools)
- Plan to prevent gatherings in workplaces, changing rooms, mess rooms, smoking areas, and briefing rooms by staggering activities and start, finish, loading, unloading and break times, and handing over work instructions and records remotely.
- Where possible allow teams to take PPE home – to avoid gathering in changing rooms
- Plan to keep the numbers of people in working/travelling teams as low as possible with at least 2 metres separation and, if in vehicles, keep people as far apart as possible and the vehicles well ventilated (it won’t always be possible to have solo vehicle use)
- Positively encourage everybody to keep a minimum of 2 metres separation were possible, especially from third parties and those not in their direct team. Put in place controls to achieve this.
- Keep team patterns constant (don’t mix them up) where possible
- Keep same teams with same vehicles where possible
- As work force availability reduces – where possible rotate vehicles (build in a vehicle ‘72 hour’ down time rota).
In addition to briefing this guidance please use the available poster to help our teams get these key messages:
PAT testing of portable appliances at Amey locations will continue to be scheduled every 12 months. For portable appliances used by workers at home we are following HSE guidance of 24-month +, thus reducing the need to travel into an office with equipment during the current difficult times. Throughout this year our teams will be doing drop in PAT testing across our hub offices – you will be notified when they will be in your closest office to enable you to book in and get your equipment tested. See the updated HSEQ Homeworking doc for further information – link here. (See section 18 for Amey’s interpretation of table 1 of indg236 published by the HSE).
Jobs that qualify for travel exemptions are listed on the Government website:
We do not believe that any of the job roles within Amey will qualify for exemptions.
Information about employees' health - including whether or not they have tested positive for COVID-19 - is a special category data under GDPR and information must be stored securely in accordance with GDPR principles. Managers can request evidence of test results from employees but they cannot be forced to provide it. In the vast majority of cases managers can accept employees' confirmation of having been advised to self-isolate. If the manager has reason to mistrust the employee they should contact Croner Advice Service to seek further advice and support.
If you and your household are isolating because you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, you and your household are able to end self-isolation early if you receive a negative test.
However, if you are isolating because you live with someone who has symptoms, you must continue to isolate for 10 days even if you receive a negative test. You may only end isolation early if the person with symptoms in your household receives a negative test.
If you are isolating because you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace or because you are required to under public health measures at the border, you must continue to isolate for 10 days even if you receive a negative test.
If you are experiencing Covid symptoms you should arrange a test as soon as possible - NHS Page - Covid19 Test
Self-isolation – 10 days:
- If you are in self-isolation and working from home, you will be paid for your normal hours as you are not absent from work
- If your role doesn't permit home working, you will receive normal pay.
Where confirmed case absences exceed 10 days normal sick pay rules will apply.
Payment for this type of absence will be classed as falling within your normal sick pay entitlement as it is an elected and routine procedure. Payment will depend on your scheme rules and your entitlement
You need to self-isolate only if you:
- have symptoms which are any of the following : raised temperature; new continuous cough/loss of sense of taste
- live with someone who has any of these symptoms
- Have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, (See FAQ on 'Close Contact')