Managers are reminded that all leave must be reported by staff and recorded against the relevant category. This is particularly important at this time, so that ESR and Health Roster are accurate and up to date, to allow information regarding absences to be used effectively to help maintain our services as effectively as possible. Access the guidance [20/11/20]
Travel & Self-isolation / Quarantine periods (updated 17/5/2021)
Self-isolation & quarantine requirements are continually changing and are likely to continue to do so over the coming weeks/months. Please remember to refer to the latest government guidance regarding travel to all destinations https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
In the UK, different rules apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A traffic light system will divide destinations into three categories - green, amber and red. Visiting green countries involves the fewest rules and there's no quarantine when travellers return. The ranking of countries depends partly on the number of Covid-19 cases and the success of their vaccine rollout. For further information please see the government website.
There are also new rules including testing requirements. For the latest advice please check:
Options to consider for how the self-isolation quarantine period could be treated can include:
- Annual leave
- Unpaid leave
- Work from home
- Making up some or all of the days with leave over a period of time through working additional hours/shifts over their normal contracted hours.
- Where work from home is undertaken, with effect from 1st October, this will be paid at basic pay only and not include shift enhancements or on-call allowances which can’t be undertaken remotely. Junior Doctors will need to swap on-call/out of hours work that falls during the self-isolation quarantine period.
Social Distancing, Self-Isolation, Household Isolation and Shielding [updated 06/01/2021]
The latest advice regarding self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing is available in the working safely section of these guidance pages: Working Safely pages
Where managers have agreed that individuals are working from home to facilitate social distancing, they are regarded as being at work and no absence should be recorded.
Individuals who cannot attend work due to self-isolation or shielding, but are otherwise fit to work, should be recorded as absent - read the latest guidance on this.
They will receive full pay for the period of isolation. Full pay is interpreted as what the individual would have otherwise earned if they were not in isolation, which would include any pay enhancements.
Individuals are available to work from home during this period and managers will agree with the employee what work can be undertaken. This equally applies to employees who are symptomatic but well enough to work from home. The period of isolation will not be classified as sickness and will not count against any entitlement to Occupational Sick Pay.
If staff are not personally required to isolate but are concerned that work in a healthcare setting could put vulnerable members of their family or household at risk, managers should handle this situation sensitively.
Managers should explore any concerns the member of staff may have about presenting for work and give careful consideration to options that could allow the member of staff to work from home, or in other healthcare settings that would allow them to use their skills/experience. Managers should take advice from HR on a case by case basis.
- If an individual is unfit to work due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19, they should be absent from work and not working. This should be recorded as Sickness Absence on ESR / Health Roster.
- The normal processes for notification and contact during absence should apply.
- Individuals who are off sick due to COVID-19, for the duration of the pandemic they will be paid sick pay as though they are working.
- Sickness absence related to COVID-19 will not count towards sickness absence triggers.
Annual Leave [updated 06/01/2021]
During the current situation, it is important that staff health and wellbeing remains a priority in order to ensure we continue to provide safe and effective care to our patients. If operational demands allow, staff are generally better taking their leave while they can, in terms of their own health and wellbeing, resilience, and ability to provide the most effective service when they return to work.
We recognise that many staff have been flexible regarding their annual leave and not taken leave when the service needed you the most during the pandemic. The Trust is extremely grateful for everyone’s flexibility and commitment.
It is important for staff to take the opportunity to take their annual leave to rest and maintain their own health and wellbeing to continue being able to deliver the best care for our patients. We therefore encourage all staff to plan how they intend to take their leave throughout the year and agree this with their manager. This applies equally to all staff regardless of whether they are shielding, working remotely, or in the workplace.
In accordance with the Trust's Annual Leave guidance, staff and line managers have a responsibility to ensure that annual leave is planned in advance and ideally should be taken at regular intervals throughout the year, as long as service constraints don’t prevent this. Where service constraints prevent leave from being taken, this should be subject to a risk assessment between the manager and employee to consider health, safety and wellbeing. Line managers are responsible for undertaking regular (no less than quarterly) reviews of annual leave requested, approved and taken for each employee to avoid the accumulation of un-taken annual leave.
It is not planned to launch a selling annual leave scheme. We are mindful the pandemic is far from over and this will be reviewed if the need arises. Staff have been reminded that we are now approaching the last quarter of the annual leave year (January-March) and all remaining annual leave should now be planned and booked into the relevant workforce system (ESR/E-Roster).
All staff are able to carry over a week's annual leave (pro rata for part-time staff) but if you haven’t already planned when you will use your remaining annual leave please ensure you do so with your manager to ensure you do not lose your leave.
The carry over regulation changes provided by the government are in relation to statutory leave only, not contractual and we should not have anyone who has been prevented from taking their statutory minimum. All CSU's have been asked to review this to ensure there are no such cases.
- In the current circumstances, there may be more requests from staff for special leave. The Unplanned Leave & Authorised Absence Procedure details the way that special leave is categorised and how it is authorised.
- The usual considerations (e.g. use of annual leave, working different shifts, use of time-in lieu) should all be taken into account before special leave is authorised.
- The government has confirmed that schools will remain open for the children of key workers. Further information is provided in the Childcare section which can be accessed via this link.
Returning to work from Family Leave (Maternity, Adoption, Shared Parental Leave)
- Staff can work up to ten keeping in touch (KIT) days while on maternity or adoption leave, without bringing their maternity/adoption leave to an end. Staff on shared parental leave can work up to 20 shared parental leave in touch (SPLiT) days without ending their shared parental leave.
- Local provisions have been agreed for staff who wish to work additional shifts to support services during the pandemic. The individual will continue to be paid SMP and also receive pay for the work done at the amount which would normally be paid. This will apply for the period of the pandemic only.
- Should employees wish to end their maternity, adoption or shared parental leave early to assist in the pandemic, they will be offered paid leave in lieu at some future point.
Reprioritising Existing Work
- The requirement for staff to demonstrate or show that they meet the requirements for pay progression arrangements is paused.
- Supporting professional activities (SPAs) for consultants and SAS doctors - it will be vital that some SPAs continue, especially where they assist with COVID-19 work. However, there may be scope for some SPA time to be reprioritised - this should be considered at CSU level.
The content on this page maintained by Harjit Tanda