COVID-19 Employee FAQ

This page last updated: 25/03/2020

We are ensuring we put everything in place to help keep the people we support and our staff safe during these difficult times. This may mean we have to change the way we support people and how we co-ordinate our services. Please follow our our guidance here and we will keep this up to date with the most recent information we have.

Please note that as our services span supported living, residential, respite and day services we would appreciate if you could refrain from visiting any of our services unless it is absolutely necessary and especially if you have either a new and persistent dry cough and/or a high temperature (over 37.8 degrees)

There is a range of assistance available explaining what to do and how to protect yourself, your family and friends.

When should I self-isolate?
• If you have a new and persistent dry cough and/or a high temperature (over 37.8 degrees)
• If anyone in your household has the above symptoms
• If you belong to a vulnerable group, you should be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures

Click here to get an Isolation Note if you or anyone in your household have the above symptoms, or you have been told by a healthcare professional that you have symptoms of Coronavirus 

Click here for guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

What if I want to work but I am in the ‘vulnerable’ category?
• Under the current guidelines, the advice is to practise social distancing. However, we would first carry out a risk assessment to assess the specific risks to you. If you decide that you wish to continue working and you or any member of your household have not displayed any of the above symptoms, we can agree for you to sign the risk assessment confirming you are happy to continue to work. Each case will be considered in light of the individual needs.

Click here to register if you have a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. For example, you’ll be able to ask for help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food. If you’re not sure whether your medical condition makes you extremely vulnerable, register anyway. You can register yourself, or on behalf of someone else. It’s useful to have your NHS number to hand if you know it. You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you or on a prescription.

How long should I self-isolate for?
• If you live alone and have any of the above symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
• If you live with others and you or anyone in your household displays any of the above symptoms, the person with symptoms should stay at home for 7 days. Everyone else in the household should all stay at home for 14 days. If anyone else in the household shows symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from when they first started displaying the symptoms.

Click here for more detailed information about this

Will I get paid?
• If you or any members of your household are displaying any of the above symptoms and you would normally receive SSP, we will pay you up to one week at your normal contracted hourly rate, after which, you will receive normal SSP.
• If your absence would cause you financial hardship, you can request to use part of your Annual Leave entitlement or TOIL balance. If you still experience financial hardship, please contact us to discuss your individual circumstances.

Click here for more detailed information about claiming benefits

If you are unsure, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What if the schools close?

• The government has stated that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
• Employees of Heart of England Mencap are considered essential workers and, as such, your children will be prioritised for education provision. You should contact the school or nursery to inform them that your child will continue to attend.
• You should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
• If you decide to take time off from work to look after your children, this will be unpaid.
• If your absence would cause you financial hardship, you can request to use part of your Annual Leave entitlement or TOIL balance. If you still experience financial hardship, please contact us to discuss your individual circumstances.

Click here for school contact numbers

If you are unsure, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I have an elderly family member that I need to look after and I don't want to come to work. Can I bring forward my annual leave to support them?
• If you are needed to support a family member, we will apply our Dependants' Leave policy, meaning you can take a period of unpaid leave to support them. The period of time allowed for this will first need to be assessed and agreed as to what is reasonable. We are unable to allow you to bring forward holiday entitlement for leave of this nature.

Is a Coronavirus-related period of sick leave considered as additional over and above any contractual sick leave entitlement?
• Any period of sickness linked to Coronavirus will be considered part of your sick leave entitlement and would not be in addition to current entitlement. However, this period would not be counted towards the triggers we currently apply for absence management procedures.

What if a customer I am supporting develops symptoms?
• Stay with the person but maintain social distancing (minimum of 6 feet away). Contact your Team Leader/Manager for advice.
• Advise anyone else living in the house to maintain their distance and try to isolate the person as best you can and in a dignified manner. Consider how you would wish to be treated.
• If the customer’s symptoms are severe, call 111 for advice or 999 for an immediate medical emergency.
• Your Manager/Team Leader will advise you what to do and whether you need to self-isolate.

Useful Numbers

Employee Assistance Program: 0800 316 9337
National Debtline: 0808 808 4000 (Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9:30am-1pm)
DWP: 0800 169 0310 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm)

Mental Health First Aiders - call or email in confidence for support

Carol Carol

Tel: 07929 343290
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Lorna Lorna

Tel: 07929 032524
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Rebekah Rebekah

Tel: 07791 378193
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.