Key Messages

> Stay at home

Only designated key skeleton staff should attend work. If you are not contacted to attend work you should stay at home.

> Work from home

If you are not required to attend work you should continue to work at home wherever possible. If you are not able to work from home and are not required to attend work then you should stay at home and await further instruction.

> Follow Government advice

Keep up to date with the advice and guidance from Public Health Wales and UK Government

Frequently Asked Questions

Please familiarise yourself with this information and advice. We will continue to notify you of updates or changes to this information as the situation develops.

Contents

Health & Safety

Protocol for the provision of reusable face coverings (masks)

What are our roles and responsibilities?

Ceredigion County Council has ensured that it has complied over and above with requirements set out in Government legislation and Public Health Wales guidance. The council is grateful to its employees for doing their best to abide with infection prevention and control procedures, reporting sickness absence, adhering to test, track and trace procedures and wearing PPE. However, now is not the time to become complacent, we need to ensure we continue to do the ‘right things’ which includes continuing to protect ourselves, our colleagues and members of the public we may come in contact with.

As employees for Local Government; we have a responsibility to lead by example and demonstrate our commitment to public and employee safety by complying with rules and regulations that have been put in place to protect everyone and that as an authority we are expected to enforce.

Who should wear a face covering and when?

All employees working in shared offices, in public facing roles, sharing transport or any other working environment where they are likely to come into contact with others must wear a face covering.

All employees who must wear a face covering at work will be provided with suitable reusable face coverings and must wear them.

Social care staff and those working closely with vulnerable children and adults must wear different respiratory protection due to the higher risk of infection and working in close proximity to others. This is classed as Respiratory Personal Protective Equipment and is different to the ‘face covering’ requirements for other council employees.

What is a ‘face covering’?

In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. Members of the public may use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.

Council employees, however, will be issued with appropriate face coverings which meet a minimum standard.

The Council is following the World Health Organisations recommendations for face coverings which include:

  • A minimum of 3 layers
  • A certain combination of materials to include:
  • Innermost layer made of absorbent material
  • Middle layer made of material with filtration properties
  • External layer made of material with water repellent properties
  • Made of washable fabrics that can be washed in warm water, 60°C, with soap or laundry detergent; face coverings must be washed frequently and handled carefully, so as not to contaminate other items.

I need a face covering, how do I obtain one?

You need to contact your service manager requesting a face covering. If this is the first request, you will need to give reasoning why, and may be provided two (one to wash, one to wear). The face coverings have a limited life cycle dependant on washing regimes, drying, use of chemicals, perfumes, make-up, frequency of donning and doffing etc., so once your masks start to wear or lose its secure fit, you will need to request replacements by contacting your manager.

Managers will need to identify who in your teams require the provision of reusable face coverings and contact StockRequest@ceredigion.gov.uk to place an order.

How should I wear my face covering?

A face covering should:

  • cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
  • fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
  • be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable
  • it should be able to be washed with at 60⁰C and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged

When wearing a face covering you should:

  • check the condition of the face covering before use, ensuring the elastic straps are in good condition, with no holes or wear to the face covering material and seams
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
  • avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
  • avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
  • change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • avoid taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession

When removing a face covering:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
  • only handle the straps, ties or clips and store in a clean bag or container
  • do not give it to someone else to use
  • wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed

How to dispose of a disposable face covering:

  • Disposable face coverings should be double-bagged and presented as non-recyclable waste
  • Bag it – either put the used face mask in a bag or in a bin, lined with a bag
  • Tie it – tie the bag
  • Bag it and tie it again – put the tied bag into your non-recyclable “black” bag and tie that bag before putting it out for collection
  • If you’re out and about, please use a litter bin

Personal Protective Equipment for Frontline Workers

I am a health/social care worker, what personal protective equipment (PPE) do I need if I am providing care and support for a vulnerable adult/individual?

Public Health Wales (PHW) recommends the following PPE ensemble for health/ social care workers:

  • Fluid repellent facemask
  • Apron
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection if there is a risk of splashing

How do I put on and remove (donning and doffing) disposable gloves and aprons?

All residential and domiciliary care staff have access to disposable gloves and aprons to use when providing personal care.

This equipment should be used alongside strict hand washing routines.

Please click on images below for appropriate donning and doffing.

Who should be given disposable fluid resistant surgical masks and eye protection?

This equipment is provided for health, social care and education employees identified as high risk from providing direct care or ‘hands on’ support to vulnerable individuals .

I have been provided with disposable facemasks, how do I use, remove and dispose of these?

Disposable Fluid Resistant Face masks (FRFM) are provided to staff social care staff and other employees identified as high risk from providing direct care or ‘hands on’ support to people/ children displaying the symptoms of high fever and new persistent cough and suspected or confirmed as having Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The facemasks should be secured above the ears and at the nape of the neck.

These can be worn for up to 8 hours, but need to be disposed of after each use, between each service user for which they are required to be worn.

Removal is by undoing or pulling apart the ties at the back being careful not to touch the front of the mask with clean, dry hands.

Dispose of the used mask in a sealed bag or pedal bin depending on whether you a residential home or out in the community.

I have been provided with eye protection (goggles or visor), how do I keep it clean so that it can be re-used?

Eye protection is generally reusable unless you’re told otherwise, where this is the case you will receive your own set.

Whether you are using a visor type device or goggles with arms over the ears or an elastic head strap, on leaving the room where you’ve been using them, remove your gloves then remove your goggles/ visor holding onto the ear strap. Wipe the eye areas over with a fresh biocidal wipe.

Dispose of wipe in a sealed bag/ pedal bin depending on whether you are in a residential home or out in the community.

Buildings

How do I access a Council building?

Only identified individuals from specific services are permitted to work from the main offices at present.

If you are planning to collect a chair or workstation equipment following completion of the at home self-assessment, you must agree this with your manager and organise a time and date to collect with facilities management

Any individual needing to access Penmorfa, Canolfan Rheidol or Morgan Street offices for any other reason must seek approval from their CLO and organise an acceptable time/ date with facilities management on which to be allowed entry.

If you are required to attend these buildings please ensure that you follow social distancing measures and enhanced hygiene routines.

Other operational locations such as Penrhos Depot, Glanyrafon Depots and CILC Felinfach will remain open.

Absence

COVID-19 Testing

What happens if I have had a positive Covid-19 test result?

If you have had a positive Covid-19 test result, you can return to work on day 11 following the onset of illness if you have not had a high temperature for 48 hours and feel well.  You should not return to work if you still have a high temperature or feel unwell and you should continue to self-isolate.

The Authority’s Contact Tracing Team will contact you so that the Authority can gain information relating to individuals who have, or may have, contracted the coronavirus so that we can trace other contacts in order to stop the spread of the disease. You will be asked a few questions relating to yourself, but also who you have been in recent contact with.

This information will be shared with Public Health Wales.

What happens if a member of my household tests positive for Covid-19?

If a member of your household has tested positive for Covid-19 or you have been identified as a contact of a confirmed case outside the household, you will still be required to self-isolate until day 15 irrespective of any negative results you may receive during that period.

The Authority’s Contact Tracing Team will contact your household member so that the Authority can gain information relating to individuals who have, or may have, contracted the coronavirus so that we can trace other contacts in order to stop the spread of the disease. They will be asked a few questions relating to themselves, but also who they have been in recent contact with.

This information will be shared with Public Health Wales.

How do I know if I require a Covid-19 test?

Liaise with your Line Manager who will complete a pro forma and forward to the Hywel Dda Health Board Testing Team (via CLOadmin@ceredigion.gov.uk). You MUST self-isolate (stay at home) for 10 days if you have symptoms.  If a Household Member has symptoms but you are well, you should self-isolate for 14 days.

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 10 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 10 days from when their symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

The Testing Team will phone you and triage you against the criteria. Please note, this will be from an unknown number.

For further information relating to self-isolating, please visit:  

https://gov.wales/self-isolation-stay-home-guidance-households-possible-coronavirus

You or your household member may also be contacted by the Authority’s Contact Tracing Team who will telephone you so that the Authority can provide advice.  You will be asked a few questions relating to yourself, but also who you have been in recent contact with.  Whilst recognising that many employees will now be part of extended households, the Authority cannot process personal data of individuals in extended households for contact tracing purposes.  If you suspect a member of your extended household may have been exposed to Covid-19 (due to recent contact with the person displaying symptoms) the Authority’s Contact Tracing Team will advise you to contact the individual separately to make them aware and to direct them to the Public Health Wales website.

This information may be shared with Public Health Wales depending on your circumstances.

How long does it take for the test result to be available?

It usually takes between three to four days for a test result to be processed. Please do not contact anyone for your results within the first four days after testing, Hywel Dda Health Board will contact you once they have your results.

How will I be tested?

One throat swab will be taken.  Once tested, you MUST self-isolate until the test results are known.

How will I know my test result?

A member of the Hywel Dda Health Board Covid-19 Team will contact you by telephone (this will be from an unknown number, so please expect this call), text or email with your test result.  Individuals are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to inform their Line Managers of the test result who will thereafter share the result (anonymously) with Chief Officers of the Authority and will record appropriately on the Ceri system.

What should I do if I haven’t heard about my test result?

Contact CLOadmin@ceredigion.gov.uk or telephone 01545 572004 if you have not been contacted after five days from the day your swab was taken.

When can I return to work?

You can return to work:

  • if you have had a negative Covid-19 test result and you do not have a high temperature and are feeling better for 48 hours; OR
  • on day 11 following the onset of illness if you do not have a high temperature and are feeling better for 48 hours; OR
  • on day 15 following onset of symptoms of a Household Member and they do not have a high temperature and are feeling better for 48 hours.

If at any point you develop further symptoms, notify your Line Manager immediately who will arrange another referral for testing.

Your Line Manager will have contacted you prior to your return to work to ensure that you are well enough to do so.

Where will I be tested?

You will be booked in and directed to your nearest test centre.

Will the rest of my household need to be tested?

Members of your household will only need testing if they have symptoms. If members of your household have symptoms and you are having to self-isolate we will test your household members.

What happens if I have had a negative Covid-19 Test result?

If you have had a negative Covid-19 Test result, you can return to work, IF you have not had a high temperature for 48 hours and feel well. Please note, your negative test result does not conclusively rule out infection due to Covid-19, but means that it is more likely that your symptoms were due to a different infection, such as influenza or other bugs that cause coughs and colds. It is important that you do not pass on these infections either, and should continue to self-isolate until you are better. You should not return to work if you still have a high temperature or feel unwell. Please do not return to work without discussing it with your Line Manager.

If at any point you develop further symptoms, notify your Line Manager who will arrange another referral for testing.

For what purposes will you use my personal data?

Ceredigion County Council, as a responsible employer, has an overarching duty to protect the health and wellbeing of its employees. We hold a duty of care to each and every employee of the Council, as well as a responsibility to individuals who may come into contact with us as a result of our work, including members of the public with whom our employees may have had contact.

In light of the current outbreak of Covid-19 local government employees have been classed by the government as ‘Key Workers’, and as such testing pathways are available to any employee who has been diagnosed with Covid-19.

Where a positive diagnosis is received we will provide relevant public health advice to you, as well as undertake basic contact tracing to attempt to ascertain if other individuals may have been exposed to the virus so that we can also provide relevant public health advice to them.

The information we collect about you will be used for the purpose(s) of:

  • Ensuring your, or a member of your household’s eligibility for a test to diagnose Covid-19
  • To enable the Authority to trace individuals with whom you may have had contact
  • To better understand the prevalence of Covid-19 within our workforce

The lawful basis for the processing of your information is:  (…)

  • To comply with a legal obligation
  • To perform a task in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority

The lawful basis for the processing of special category data is

  • GDPR Article 9 2 (b) Employment
  • Article 9 2 (g) Reasons of substantial public interest
  • Article 9 2 (h) Health
  • Article 9 2 (i) Public health

The relevant substantial public interest condition is DPA 2018 Schedule 1 paragraph 6; statutory and government purposes (legislation set out below)

The applicable legislation is:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Health Protection Local Authority Powers Regulations (Wales) 2010
  • Health Protection (Notification) Regulations Wales 2010
  • Control of Patient Information Regulation 3

 

What if you do not provide personal data?

If you do not give us the information we need when we ask for it, this may result in

  • Our being unable to arrange for you or a member of your household to receive a test
  • Our being unable to meet our duty of care to our employees and individuals who have come into contact with us as an Authority in the course of our work as an organisation.

 

What type of information do we use?

We collect the following types of personal data about you to deliver this service…

We may collect the following types of personal data about you to deliver this service, depending on your circumstances:

  • Name;
  • Telephone number;
  • Employment details
  • Medical information (symptoms and test result)

 

Do we use information received from other sources?

 To provide this service, we collect information directly from you but also receive information from the following sources:

  • Ceredigion County Council Ceri absence monitoring system
  • Ceredigion County Council/Public Health Wales Tarian database

The following types of personal data are obtained:

  • Name;
  • Telephone number;
  • Employment details
  • Medical information

 

Transferring your information abroad

Your information will not be transferred outside the United Kingdom.

 

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)?

We may share your information with the following recipients depending on your circumstances:

Internally:

Ceredigion County Council Public Protection team [for contact tracing purposes]

Externally:

Hywel Dda University Health Board [administration of testing]

There are also other specific situations where we may be required to disclose information about you, such as:

  • Where the Council is required to provide the information by law:
  • Where disclosing the information is required to prevent or detect a crime
  • Where disclosure is in the vital interests of the person concerned

 

Quarantine

How will the new quarantine arrangements effect any travel abroad and leave arrangements I wish to make?

On Monday 8th June new rules were introduced requiring individuals returning to the UK to quarantine/self-isolate for 14 days unless they arrive from within the common travel area or areas covered by the travel corridor exemption.

Please ensure that you are up to date on the areas that fall within the travel corridors as they remain under constant review and may be changed by the Government at short notice. If you travel abroad during this period you will need to ensure that you request annual leave for the time you are abroad and inform your Line Manager the country you will be travelling to.

You will also need to consider the following:

  • Should you travel outside one of the common travel areas or areas covered by travel corridor exemption you will need to request annual leave or unpaid leave for the 14 day period that you are required to quarantine/self-isolate.
  • Should you travel to one of the common travel areas or areas covered by travel corridor exemption and the advice changes at short notice you will need to cover your self-isolation period using annual leave or unpaid leave.

All employees booking holidays or travelling abroad will now be doing so fully aware of the quarantine arrangements on re-entering the UK and the points for consideration indicated above.

> Click here to access Welsh Government guidance on Travel Exemption

Sickness and Other Absence

I received a letter to shield during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Will I need to return to the workplace following the recent Welsh Government announcement on pausing Shielding from 16th August, 2020?

Welsh Government announced on 16th July that it will pause shielding from 16th August if infection rates remain low within the local communities. It also stated that employees can return to their COVID-19 secure workplaces after this date.

You will be asked to complete a risk assessment in consultation with your line manager. On the basis that you have previously received a shielding letter you will automatically score 7 on the Return to Work risk assessment which means that we will require a further assessment to ensure a safe return to the workplace or continue working from home where this is possible. Assessments may include a Covid-Age assessment and/or referral to Occupational Health. This robust process will determine if you are able to safely return to the workplace. It will also indicate if any further measures are needed to ensure that you return to work as safely as possible, and these may include PPE or a temporary change of duties.

I fall within the Welsh Government’s definition of vulnerable group, will I be required to return to the workplace from now on?

You will be asked to complete a risk assessment in consultation with your line manager which will determine if you can return to the workplace and what, if any, measures your line manager will need to arrange before you return.

In the meantime, where possible, you should continue to work from home and ensure that you keep up to date with Public Health Wales’ guidance.

I live in a household where a member is shielding or comes under the vulnerable group, will I be required to attend the workplace from now on?

Following the Chief Medical Officer decision to pause shielding you will now be expected to return to the workplace where this is open.

We appreciate that you may be anxious about returning to your normal place of work and how this may impact those that you live with. Advice on how to reduce risk within your household is available here:

https://gov.wales/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-people-defined-on-medical-grounds-as-extremely-vulnerable-from-coronavirus-covid-19-html

What happens should I become ill with Coronavirus?

You should continue to follow normal sickness procedures and inform your line manager immediately if you experience symptoms or are diagnosed with the Coronavirus.

You will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

Your time off work will be treated in the same way as any other sickness absence and you must follow normal sickness procedures.

If I am sick how will my absence be recorded?

Sickness absences will continue to be recorded on the Ceri system with a sickness reason of either ‘COVID19 Confirmed’ or ‘COVID19 Symptoms’, depending on whether you have been tested or not. This will be treated as normal sickness absence and normal sickness absence scheme payments will apply.

If I am sick with the Coronavirus will this be counted as a trigger under the sickness absence policy?

No, this will not be counted as a trigger within the policy.

If I am self-isolating, shielding or in the high risk category, how will my absence be recorded?

You should inform your line manager if you, or someone in your household, are advised to self-isolate, are shielding or are in the high risk category. Your manager will record this on the Ceri system as ‘Other Leave’ with the relevant leave reason of. During other leave you will be entitled to receive your normal pay.

What happens if I am unable to work from home?

If you are unable to work from home and are not attending the workplace then your line manager will record this on the Ceri system as ‘Other Leave’ with the reason of ‘Unable to work from home’. During other leave you will be entitled to receive your normal pay.

As part of the Authority’s Business Continuity Planning we may ask you to work from an alternative location or take on a temporary redeployment into a critical frontline service.

Annual Leave

What happens if I need time off work for childcare or caring responsibilities?

We appreciate that some of you will need to be flexible in how you work due to childcare and other caring responsibilities. You should discuss childcare and caring responsibilities with your line manager and they will work with you to determine how best you can meet your contractual hours.

If you do require additional leave for childcare or caring responsibilities please discuss this with your line manager.

Flexi

How do I record flexi if I am working from home?

You should continue to record your hours on your flexi sheet throughout this period, the normal flexi scheme bandwidth of 7.30am to 7.00pm will be suspended.

Effective from Monday, 7 September 2020 the following flexi scheme arrangements will be introduced:

  • Flexi hours may be worked between a new bandwidth of 6:00am and 9:00pm, Monday to Friday.
  • A minimum of 4 core hours of work must be completed, between 9am and 4pm, on every working day.
  • These 4 core hours of work can be worked within any combination but must be with agreement of your line manager.
  • No more than 6 hours must be worked without a break of at least half an hour.

It is hoped that the introduction of the revised core working hours as well as the extended bandwidth will not only assist our teams and services in working together for the benefit of our service users but will also help staff maintain a healthy work life balance.

These arrangements are in place until further notice and will be kept in constant review.

Pay

If I am sick will I get paid?

You should continue to follow normal sickness procedures and inform your line manager if you experience symptoms or are diagnosed with the Coronavirus. Sickness absences will continue to be recorded on the Ceri system with a sickness reason of either ‘COVID19 Confirmed’ or ‘COVID19 Symptoms’, depending on whether you have been tested or not. This will be treated as normal sickness absence and normal sickness absence scheme payments will apply.

If I am self-isolating, shielding or in the high risk category how will I get paid?

You should inform your line manager if you, or someone in your household, are advised to self-isolate, are shielding or are in the high risk category. Your manager will record this on the Ceri system as ‘Other Leave’ with the relevant leave reason of. During other leave you will be entitled to receive your normal pay.

What happens if I am unable to work from home?

If you are unable to work from home and are not attending the workplace then your line manager will record this on the Ceri system as ‘Other Leave’ with the reason of ‘Unable to work from home’. During other leave you will be entitled to receive your normal pay.

As part of the Authority’s Business Continuity Planning we may ask you to work from an alternative location or take on a temporary redeployment into a critical frontline service.

Redeployment

Can I reclaim redeployment travelling expenses?

If you have been temporarily redeployed to a location which means that you need to travel further than your normal home to work commute you may be entitled to relocation travelling expenses.  If your commute distance is greater than 6 miles difference, one way, between your normal  work location and new work location then you can claim mileage for every mile in excess of 6 miles. For example, if your normal commute to work is a 10 mile one-way commute and your temporary new work location is a 25 mile one way commute then you can claim relocation expenses on 9 miles each way (25 miles minus 10 miles is 15 miles, minus the first 6 miles equals 9 miles). All relocation expenses must be claimed through Ceri Self Service using the Relocation Expenses Claim option. Your claim should be on your usual post and please include “COVID-19” alongside the details of your journey.

Contracts

I am currently on probation. How will the COVID-19 lockdown affect this?

This will depend on your individual circumstances, including the date you started your new job and what work you have been doing since the lockdown.

If there is a need to make any change to your probation period your line manager will have a discussion with you.

It may be that due to a change in your (or your line manager’s) working practices, your probation will be extended by either three or six months. Your line manager will discuss this with you and explain the reasons why this is happening.