Coronavirus Update for Inverclyde Council Members

Dear Colleague

Please find below updated guidance. I have also included the council guidance affecting members with underlying health problems, or where someone in your household has underlying health problems.

Schools/Nurseries

Hubs will be opening tomorrow in some schools and early years establishments. This is to provide a service to children whose parents are key workers as well as children with additional support needs or who may be vulnerable in other ways. Early years staff are being asked to staff the early years hubs on a rota basis. Members who have children and who do not wish to send their children to a hub are being encouraged to try and include themselves on the rota as and when they can. This is to ensure that the pool of employees staffing the hubs is as wide as possible. If you are unable to participate on the rota due to having no other child care support then you should speak to your line manager and request continued home working. School hubs are being staffed by volunteers. Again if members in schools are unable to volunteer to staff a hub or participate in rotas due to having no other child care support, they should speak to their line manager and request continued home working.

Social Distancing

It is obviously very difficult for some essential workers to strictly comply with social distancing guidance. Members who are working with young children or vulnerable adults and elderly people should do what they can to remain safe. We have been assured that personal protective equipment such as hand sanitisers, gloves, aprons and anti-bacterial wipes will be available when working with people who have no COVID-19 symptoms. Where services users such as in homecare have symptoms then additional PPE such as masks will be issued.

Volunteers

The council will be writing to employees to ask for volunteers to assist within the HSCP. It is important to reiterate advice we have previously given. Undertaking different tasks from your normal role is voluntary, however you may be asked to undertake your normal duties in a different location.

Robin Taggart
Branch Secretary
Unison (Inverclyde Branch)
Old Library
30 Bawhirley Road,
Greenock
PA15 2BH

Vulnerable employees

We are asking everyone who is over 70, who has a specific underlying health condition or is pregnant to self-isolate. The list of underlying health conditions include:
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
diabetes
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 BMI of 40 or above)

Higher risk of severe illness

There are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

People falling into this higher risk 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 leukaemia 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)

Any members of staff that fall within the above categories should discuss immediately making provision for home working with their line manager.

Where the employee’s role is such that they are unable to work from home, the manager should discuss with the employee possible tasks or activities that are paper based and can be done at home, e.g. undertake training, reviewing coursework, policy and procedures review etc. as an alternative. The employee will receive their normal pay.

Where it is not possible for an employee to undertake any work activity, tasks or training from home, a period of paid special leave can be granted. However, communication between manager and employee should be maintained as they may be required to undertake other specific tasks to support the Council deliver essential services.

Other concerns

Where an employee has other concerns about their specific circumstances, such as living with someone with a specific underlying health condition, they should have a discussion with their manager at the earliest opportunity to ensure that the appropriate safeguards can be put in place to reduce the risk of potential exposure.

Solutions may include adjusting duties, working from a different location that minimises risks or working from home. This list is not exhaustive and solutions should consider the needs of the employee and the service in which they work.

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