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Coronavirus Information Centre

 

We're continuing to review the situation in relation to the coronavirus pandemic and how this develops over the coming days and weeks. This page is your source of up-to-date information for the coronavirus.

 

Some information on these pages is private. If you are part of the leadership team please sign in to view this information.

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Frequently Asked Questions

 To read the latest colleague FAQs on COVID-19, please click here.

Helpful Information

Wellbeing Wednesday - Coronavirus Toolkit

In these challenging times that we face, we felt it beneficial for our colleagues to have access to tools and tips to guide you through this unusual situation. Whether you are working in a site, self-isolating, working from home, furloughing or managing others - within the following toolkits you will find ideas and resources that have been designed to support and reassure you.

Click here to access your Coronavirus Toolkit - Week 1

Click here to access your Coronavirus Toolkit - Week 2

Click here to access your Coronavirus Toolkit - Week 3

Click here to access your Coronavirus Toolkit - Week 4

Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak

Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (Covid 19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times. 

Here are some tips we hope will help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health at a time when there is much discussion of potential threats to our physical health.

Try to avoid speculation and look up reputable sources on the outbreak

Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control. 

You can get up-to-date information and advice on the virus here: 

Follow hygiene advice such as washing your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds with soap and hot water (sing ‘happy birthday’ to yourself twice to make sure you do this for 20 seconds). You should do this whenever you get home or into work, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food. If you can’t wash your hands straight away, use hand sanitiser and then wash them at the next opportunity. 

You should also use tissues if you sneeze and make sure you dispose of them quickly if you don’t have a tissue sneeze into your sleeve and stay at home if you are feeling unwell. 

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

Try to stay connected

At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family or contact a helpline for emotional support.  

Also, don’t forget the support colleagues can get from GroceryAid click here for more information.

It is a good idea to stick to your daily routine. You may also like to focus on the things you can do if you feel able to: 

Stay in touch with friends on social media but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too.

Talk to your children

Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need to be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm. 

We need to minimise the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them. Discuss the news with them but try and avoid over-exposure to coverage of the virus. Be as truthful as possible. 

Let’s not avoid the ‘scary topic’ but engage in a way that is appropriate for them. We have more advice on talking with your children about world news

Try to anticipate distress

It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past, or if you have a long-term physical health condition that makes you more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus.

It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health. We should also be aware of and avoid increasing habits that may not be helpful in the long term, like smoking and drinking.  

Try and reassure people you know who may be worried and check in with people who you know are living alone. 

Try not to make assumptions

Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex. 

Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media

There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance.

It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.

How should people deal with being in self-isolation or in quarantine?

If there's a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate). 

For people that are in self-isolation or are in quarantine, this may seem like a daunting prospect. It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it. 

It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.  

Create a daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits.    

Make sure your wider health needs are being looked after such as having enough prescription medicines available to you.

Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (Covid 19), can be scary and can affect our mental health. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing and mental health during such times.

 

Follow our top tips to look after yourself:

  • If you find that the news is causing you stress, try to limit the amount of coverage that you are reading or listening to. It's best that you don't avoid news completely and that you keep informed of the developments but try to limit this to once a day.
  • Be in touch with friends and family regularly to stay connected with them via social media, email or phone, it may change your normal routine but it's important to feel close to them when feeling worried or anxious.
  • If you are unable to work, it's important that you create a new routine through exercise, mindfulness, and hobbies to keep busy and active.
  • Eating well and keeping hydrated is important for physical and mental health, and good for keeping on top of low mood and blood sugar levels.
  • Help the vulnerable. If you can get out, think of those that it's more difficult for. Why not help the elderly or sick with their shopping or weekly errands to ensure they are kept safe.

Your GroceryAid Wellbeing Tips: 

How can GroceryAid Help? Click here for more information.

- Self-Help Guides

We have various Self-Help Guides available through our partner Rightsteps from day one of working in the grocery industry. 5 Ways to Wellbeing, Anxiety, Healthy Eating, Low Mood, Physical Activity are just some of the topics available to work through for help.

- Wellbeing Sessions

Ideal for those looking to make lasting changes in their lives you have access to a more structured self-guided support. There are 6-8 sessions lasting approx. 45 minutes each. Sessions include topics such as General Anxiety, Learning to Change, Low Mood, Social Anxiety.

- 24/7 Helpline - 08088 021 122

GroceryAid provides a confidential 24/7 Helpline, 365 days a year for anyone who is working or has worked within the grocery trade, regardless of the length of service. This free service provides emotional and practical support to help through a difficult time.

Find out more:

We are following all advice provided by WHO, PHE and the NHS:

World Health Organisation

Public Health England

Health Protection Scotland

National Health Service

From the 4th October 2021 the government's traffic light system for travelling abroad will be scrapped and replaced with one ‘red’ list only. The rules for travel from countries not on the red list will depend on your vaccination status.

 

Travelling to a ‘red’ country

If you are travelling to a country on the government's red list then you will be required to quarantine on arrival into the UK for 10 days in a managed hotel. You will need to ensure that if you are travelling abroad and you fall into this category you make your manager aware and seek the necessary approval to have the 10 day quarantine period away from work. This time can be taken as either annual leave or unpaid leave.

A list of the countries on the red list can be found by clicking here.

 

Travelling to a non-red country

Fully vaccinated colleagues

If you have received two doses of your vaccination or under the age of 18 then you are not required to self-isolate or quarantine on your arrival to the UK and therefore can return to work as normal

 

Non-vaccinated colleagues

If you are yet to receive two doses of your vaccination and are over the age of 18 you will be required to quarantine at home for a period of 10 days and take a Covid-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8. You will need to ensure that if you are travelling abroad and you fall into this category you make your manager aware and seek the necessary approval to have the 10 day quarantine period away from work. This time can be taken as either annual leave or unpaid leave.

Please note: our Insurers have advised that travelling against Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice may jeopardise your Death in Service insurance cover.

If you are planning to travel, please can you ensure you check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office for advice beforehand.   

If you decide to travel despite restrictions and/or warnings in place, please can you complete and submit the below form before you travel.

Travelling Abroad

Your Co-op Travel is working together with Your Co-op Pharmacy to help you with Covid-19 testing for your travel needs when you need it.

As a values-driven Co-operative business, we don’t feel it’s right to profit from the sales of Covid-19 testing kits and so that’s why we’re offering testing kits at cost price to Your Co-op Travel customers via an exclusive voucher code that you’ll get when you book with us or if you already have an existing booking. Please get in touch for further information.

Some countries require a negative Covid-19 test certificate to gain entry, so entry requirements can change at any time. We strongly advise you to check the FCDO website for the very latest guidance. For the latest information, you can visit the Covid Travel Service.

Click here for more information and purchase Covid-19 testing kits for travelling.

General Guidance

The Society is continually reviewing the situation in relation to the Coronavirus, however, with the situation ever evolving it is important that you also keep yourself up to date with any developments. Below are some useful links which can provide you the most up to date information regarding the Coronavirus.

 

If you are entering into self-isolation or have received a positive test result for the Coronavirus please inform your line manager. If you have received a positive test result either yourself or your manager should also make the HR Advice Line aware by either calling 01926 516 469 or email hr.advice@midcounties.coop 

Colleagues can also take their own preventative measures to avoid the spread of the infection through basic hygiene practices for example:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often
  • Using hand sanitizers regularly where available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

 

The Society will continue to review the situation and how this evolves, and within Colleague Connect you will find a copy of some Coronavirus FAQ’s, Temporary Changes to Society Policies and Procedures Policy and a Coronavirus Symptoms Policy to help assist you.  

Media/Press enquiries: As a Colleague, should you be approached by any member of the press/media please direct them to Citypress - 0121 314 4197 - midcounties@citypress.co.uk

Protecting Clinically Extremely Vulnerable and Vulnerable Colleagues

The safety of our Colleagues is a key priority and all Colleagues must follow the latest Government Guidance in respect to self-isolation.

 

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Colleagues

In line with the latest Government Guidance, those colleagues who are classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) must work from home wherever possible and not attend their usual workplace.

Where working from home is not an option, you must discuss this with your line manager and HR

Details of who would be considered as CEV can be found at : Government Guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable

 

Clinically Vulnerable Colleagues

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You:

  • should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others
  • should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace

Discuss the arrangements that are in place for your usual workplace and refer to the completed risk assessment.

Details of who would be considered as Clinically Vulnerable can be found at : Government Guidance for clinically vulnerable

 

All returning Colleagues

Upon your first day back your site manager will talk to you about the latest measures and practices that have been put in place to control the COVID-19 pandemic.  These will include changes to both the way you work and your working environment. It is important that you understand and implement the changes to keep you and your fellow colleagues safe.

 

Returning Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Colleagues

As a colleague that was identified as CEV, before you return to work an assessment will be required on your workplace.  Your site manager will complete this assessment and will talk to you about any extra measures that need to put in place so that you can both agree with them. It is important that any agreed measures are maintained once you are on site.

Click here to download the process policy to follow.

Click here to download the Return to Work Assessment.

Job Retention Scheme - Furlough Leave

The Government recently announced a range of measures to support businesses and individuals affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. One of those measures is the introduction of the Job Retention Scheme.  The scheme is open to all employers regardless of their size. It is intended to avoid the need for redundancies as a result of the financial impact Coronavirus is having on our economy.

As you know from our previous updates, like many businesses, the Society is significantly impacted by Coronavirus. We are seeing substantial downturns in our travel and childcare businesses, which are likely to continue for some time. Although these are offset by increased demand in areas such as food, pharmacy and funeral care, we need to act to protect the long-term future of our business. Our colleagues being as flexible as possible by supporting in other areas has been a fantastic help. However, we also need to use the Job Retention Scheme to protect jobs in the long-term.

The scheme enables employers to place colleagues on “furlough leave”, where there is no work for them to do. Whilst on furlough leave, the Government will meet up to 80% of the colleague’s wages per month (up to £2,500 each month).  The great thing about the scheme is that once things improve, furlough leave will end, and the affected colleagues will return to their normal role.

Not all our colleagues will be affected by this scheme and we will be contacting you if you are. We are sure you will have lots of questions about how it may work and have prepared an FAQ to help answer some of those, which can be found here

The answers in the FAQ are based on what we know so far. This is an entirely new scheme and we are waiting for the Government to publish full details. We will share that information and update the FAQ as soon as we know more

This summary provides you with a clear description of what Test & Trace is and how it works.

What is the test and trace service?

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to talk through their recent interactions and who they have been in ‘close contact’ with. This could include places that they’ve visited or people they’ve been in direct contact within the few days just before and after they first got symptoms. 

These people identified will then be contacted by the service and will be required to self-isolate for 10 days unless you meet the following criteria as outlined in Question 5 of the Covid-19 FAQ’s

How does it work?

The NHS Test and Trace service works by alerting people who may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 and asking them to self-isolate for 10 days unless they meet the criteria outlined in Question 5 of the Covid-19 FAQ’s. They can also be tested quickly if they develop symptoms. If the test is positive, then they, in turn, will be contacted to ask about any interactions they may have had before they self-isolated.  

This will help stop the spread of the virus and track new infections.

What counts as a ‘close contact’?

It is very important to understand the definition of ‘close contact’. Close contact includes:

  • having face to face contact (at around 1 metre or less)
  • spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • travelling with someone in a car or small vehicle. 

You will also be asked about where you work or places you may have visited where you came into contact with other people, such as GP surgeries or schools. 

How will you be contacted?

The service will contact you by text message or email but will follow up by phone if they don’t get a response. You will then be directed to the NHS test and trace website. Here, you'll find more information on the system.

How will you know if a phone call from test and trace is legitimate?

Not knowing how to discern a dishonest contact tracing message is a common concern. The NHS test and trace team will only ever call you from 0300 013 5000 and send you text messages from ‘NHS’. They will never ask you to dial a premium rate number (for example, those starting with 09 or 087).

Who do you notify if you are contacted by Test & Trace?

Please refer to the flowchart below.

What action do Site or Duty Manager’s take if visited or called by a Test & Trace Assessor?

Clearly describe the protection measures that are in place in your site; the social distancing protocol and the personal protection equipment. Where close contact cannot be avoided in the workplace, wearing personal protection equipment helps to mitigate the risk significantly and may negate the self-isolation requirement.

Do not agree to take any action until you have spoken to your District/Area Manager. Always seek their advice and report any Test & Trace contact. Write down the conversation and the questions that you were asked so that a clear record is retained. Take a record of the name and contact details of the person calling or contacting the store in case follow up or clarity is required. 

To find out how to get access to Co-op House or The Waterfront offices, please click here.

Before returning to Head Office, please take the time to read the following document by clicking here.

To find out more about your furlough pay & how it's calculated, please click here.

Changes to Policies & Procedures:

Click here to view the 'Coronavirus Symptoms Policy'

As we come into the autumn/winter months colleagues will start to naturally display cold and flu like symptoms which have very similar symptoms to that of the coronavirus, for example a high temperature or a new, continuous cough. Therefore, it is important that any colleague who displays any symptoms of the coronavirus needs to self-isolate and arrange for a test to be completed immediately, so that we are able to limit the potential spread of the infection to our colleagues, members and customers as well as minimise any absence from the Society.

Key points covered

  • Coronavirus symptoms
  • Arranging a test
  • Track and Trace
  • Test results
  • FAQ's

Kronos- Queries

Please raise a ServiceNow Incident in the first instance, for any Kronos query.

If a colleagues pay is incorrect, please review the colleagues timecard for the relevant adjustment weeks, and raise a historical correction for payroll to process.

 

Kronos-Sign Off

Sign off must be completed by 10am every Monday (12pm if within Childcare group)

If managers are out of the business and unable to submit the timecards, please use the Delegation action for another manager to process for you, click here for the user guide. Please ensure you speak to the manager you are delegating too, to make them aware.

 

Colleagues returning off Furlough

For colleagues returning off Furlough, managers are required to end date the colleagues schedule of a forward Saturday date and set up a new schedule with a start and anchor date of a forward Sunday date.

Colleagues moving to Furlough/Flexi Furlough

Managers will continue to see their colleagues on Kronos whilst they are on furlough.

Managers are required to create a schedule pattern and apply the furlough paycode to the relevant days the colleague will be furloughed for.

Timecard Entries

Please ensure that colleagues' exceptions are managed accurately and promptly to ensure that colleagues are paid correctly.

For colleagues that are off sick due to self-isolation/Covid-19, you must add a comment within the comments field to the colleague’s timecard. Please refer to the user guide or video below for more information.

Sickness Information

  • Refer to the HR comms re recording and payment of sickness related to Covid-19

  • Refer to Colleague Handbook for Sick entitlement, within the Policies and Procedures page.

  • Don't forget to add a comment when logging sickness on the colleagues timecard. Click here to access the userguide

  • Please be aware that the Workforce Management team are unable to give out colleague sickness information

Annual Leave Carryover

  • For colleagues that need to carry over annual leave into next year's entitlement, please follow the guide by clicking here.

  • Annual Leave carryover MUST be approved by Area/District Manager and will then be approved by the Head of HR Specialist Services, before it reaches the WFM team to process.

Logging Hours Through a Paycode

  • There have been several queries come through for sickness hours being removed from the amount field within the timecard when adding a comment. Please ensure that there is a schedule time within the schedule field of the timecard to ensure the hours populate- when you select Full Schedule day

  • If the schedule field is blank, within the timecard, please enter in the number of hours the colleague was off for, in the amount field, click save and add a comment if required.

Please ensure hours are populated in the amount field before submitting/signing off timecards, please follow the user guide by clicking here.

Please continue to look at Colleagues Connect for updates.

 

Click here to view the 'Temporary Changes to Society Policies and Procedures Policy'

This policy sets out the temporary changes to Society policy and procedures for colleagues during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Key policies covered:

  • Managing Attendance Policy

  • Annual Leave Policy

  • Flexible Working Policy

It is vitally important that all colleagues understand and adhere to the policies and procedures relating to personal protection and social distancing including, what personal protection equipment should be worn, what cleaning regimes should be in place, what social distancing protocols should be observed in both customer-facing and back-of-house areas and to help protect both colleagues &  customers.

Guidance and instruction to help all colleagues understand what procedures and measures have been put in place by each group can be read below.

To help ensure the specific measures for each group are being implemented effectivity and consistently site managers have been asked to carry out an audit of compliance.

The latest Government Guidance has been updated on the use of face visors, see below. This will impact those colleagues who currently are using these as an exception to wearing a face covering.

Click here to find out more about the latest guidance and what this means for you.

 

Exemption cards

If you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering:

  • you do not routinely need to show any written evidence of this
  • you do not need to show an exemption card

This means that you do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering.

However, some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign.

Click here to view the 'Coronavirus Vaccine Policy'

This policy sets out our approach to COVID-19 vaccinations and Lateral Flow Testing and is part of our overall COVID secure steps to ensure a safe working environment but is not a substitute for other health and safety measures.