Coronavirus Symptoms Policy
Last Updated 19 Jan 2021
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
Coronavirus Symptoms Policy FAQ's
1. A colleague has started to cough frequently but believes this is just down to a cold and feels fine to attend work?
Regardless of whether a colleague feels fit to work or not, if they are displaying any of the specific symptoms of coronavirus, they must self-isolate immediately. If the symptoms have developed whilst at work the colleague needs to make their manager aware immediately, wear their face covering in all areas and try to remain at least 2 metres away from other colleagues and customers and go home to self-isolate.
If a colleague’s symptoms do not meet the threshold of the coronavirus symptoms they will not be required to self-isolate or arrange for a test.
If a colleague is unsure as to whether they need to self-isolate or not based on their symptoms then they should use the following link - https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/.
2. A colleague is refusing to arrange a test?
All colleagues play a vital part in trying to control the virus and arranging a test is in line with government guidance. If a colleague refuses to arrange a test it will be seen as refusing a reasonable management request and their continued absence from the Society will be treated as unpaid leave.
3. A colleague has tested negative for coronavirus but feels unfit to attend work?
The colleague can self-certify their absence for 7 calendar days and then will require a fit note for the full duration of their absence. Please note that this spell of absence will be included in the Society’s absence trigger points.
4. A colleague has tested negative for coronavirus and has returned to the workplace but is continually coughing, should they still be in work?
As long as the colleague has provided evidence that they have received a negative test result and they feel fit to work then they are fine to be in the workplace. Colleagues will be expected to take additional measures to prevent the spread of whatever illness they have which is causing the symptoms. This includes wearing a face covering in both customer and non-customer facing environments, increased hand washing, using hand sanitizer regularly where available and ensuring social distancing is always maintained.
If for any reason you have operational concerns about having the colleague in a customer facing environment, then you should look for alternative duties which could be carried out away from customers. If you still have concerns, please contact your District or Area Manager to seek advice.
5. A colleague has refused to provide any evidence of arranging a test and/or their test results?
If a colleague chooses not to provide us with any evidence of their test results, then we will insist they remain off for the full 10-day self-isolation period and this will be treated as unpaid absence unless the colleague provides the evidence requested.
6. When does the 10-day self-isolation period end?
The self-isolation period begins on the first day that the colleague started to display symptoms, so it will be a further nine days from the date the symptoms began. The colleague will be able to return to work on the eleventh day.
7. A colleague has tested positive for the coronavirus, has completed their 10-day self-isolation period but continues to display coronavirus symptoms, can they still return to work?
If a colleague still has a high temperature at the end of the 10-day self-isolation period they will need to remain in isolation until the symptom has gone. It is usual for the cough or temporary loss of taste and smell to remain for a short period beyond the 10 days however if the colleague is fit to return then they are able to do so.
8. A colleague is stating that they need to self-isolate but has already done so previously and the test was negative?
If a colleague has been symptom free since their last test and has now developed new symptoms, then they will be required to self-isolate again and undertake a further test.
9. A colleague is asking whether they need to self-isolate because another colleague they have been working with is required to self-isolate due to having symptoms?
There is no need for a colleague to self-isolate in this instance unless a colleague is contacted via the governments Track and Trace service and the colleague is advised to self-isolate or they develop symptoms themselves.
10. How will the self-isolation period be logged in Kronos and will this be paid as sickness?
For the period of time that it takes a colleague to get tested and receive the results the colleague should be logged as sick. If a colleague receives a positive test result, then they will need to remain off work for the period of the self-isolation period and will continue to be logged as sick.
11. Will a colleague’s self-isolation period be included in the Managing Attendance trigger points?
No, the self-isolation period will be excluded from the absence trigger points
12. Will the three-day waiting rule (Retail only) for Company Sick pay apply if I need to self-isolate?
Our experience suggests that colleagues will be able to get tested and receive their test results within 48 hours, if not quicker if arranged through a drive through test site. Therefore, the Society will be prepared to pay the first two days of sickness as Company Sick Pay if applicable. If a colleague receives a positive test result, then the remainder of the self-isolation period will be paid as sick. If the colleague receives a negative test result and remains unfit to attend work, then the third day of absence will be unpaid in line with the three-day waiting rule and SSP or Company Sick Pay taking effect again on the fourth day of absence.
13. A colleague is required to self-isolate and is able to complete work from home?
If the colleague is fit and able to work from home then this will be permitted, however the colleague will still be required to arrange a test immediately. If the colleague receives a negative test result, they will discuss this with their line manager and agree arrangements for returning back to their work location.
Throughout the pandemic the Society has prioritised the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, members and customers and as part of this we have taken numerous measures to ensure our workplaces are Covid-secure. Colleagues also have a responsibility to ensure they work safely and in line with government guidance to ensure that our sites are not unnecessarily exposed to the threat of the coronavirus and that includes complying with guidance around self-isolation.
Colleagues must self-isolate in the following scenarios –
- The colleague starts to exhibit any coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Someone in the colleague's household has started to exhibit coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Someone in the colleague's support bubble has started to exhibit coronavirus symptoms and the colleague has been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or 48 hours before the symptoms started.
- Someone in the colleague's support bubble has tested positive for the coronavirus and the colleagues has been in close contact with them since they had the test or in the 48 hours before their test.
- A colleague has been instructed to self-isolate by Track and Trace.
- A colleague has been instructed to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app.
- A colleague arrives in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk.
It is vital that colleagues self-isolate as soon as they know there is requirement to do so based on the above information in order to help control the spread of the virus and ensure we continue to keep everyone safe. If a colleague is in any doubt of whether they should self-isolate they should not attend work and contact NHS 111 to seek clarity or they may also want to discuss their scenario with either their line manager or the HR Advice Line.
If a colleague knowingly fails to comply with self-isolation guidelines this will be treated as a disciplinary offence and may be seen as an act of gross misconduct which may result in a colleagues dismissal from the Society.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
a high temperature
a new, continuous cough
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
If any colleague has one or more of these symptoms, they must self-isolate immediately for 10 days and notify their manager of their absence in line with normal absence reporting procedures.
If a colleague is unsure about whether their symptoms require them to self-isolate then they should use the following link to identify if they should - https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/.
The colleague will also need to obtain and submit a self-isolation note which a colleague will be able to request from the following link – https://111.nhs.uk/-note/.
Arranging a Test
If a colleague is displaying any symptoms outlined above, they will need to arrange to be tested for coronavirus on the same day that their symptoms started and subsequently self-isolated.
A test can be arranged through the following link - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/.
A colleague can arrange to be tested in one of two ways:
Attend a drive through test site (the colleague will need a car or small van for this), or
Home testing kit which will be delivered to the colleague’s home address
The Society’s preference is that colleagues should attend a drive through test site, however if they do not have access to a vehicle or live within a reasonable travelling distance of a test site, they should arrange for a home testing kit.
In line with the Managing Attendance Policy and absence reporting procedures colleagues must remain in constant contact with their line manager and provide regular updates for example when a test has been ordered/arranged, when the test has been taken and when the results are received.
The line manager may request evidence to show that a test has been ordered or that a colleague has booked an appointment for a drive through test site. This evidence may be in the form of an email or text message confirmation.
Track and Trace
A colleague may be contacted by the government’s Track and Trace team if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus. In this scenario the colleague will be notified they need to immediately self-isolate for 10 days.
The Track and Trace team will make contact by either email, text or phone and therefore colleagues should provide evidence to their line manager where possible of the need for them to self-isolate.
If during the self-isolation period, the colleague starts to display symptoms of the coronavirus they must arrange for a test to be completed immediately and keep their manager informed of the situation.
When a colleague receives their test results, they will either test positive or negative for coronavirus. In very few cases the test may come back as ‘inconclusive’ and therefore if a colleague received this result they will need to arrange for a further test.
Once the test results have been received the colleague must immediately inform their line manager and the colleague will be requested to provide evidence of their test result which may be in the form of a text message, email or letter.
Positive Test Result - If a colleague tests positive for coronavirus then they must continue to self-isolate for the full 10 days, starting from the date their symptoms began. The colleague must notify their line manager immediately and contact the HR Advice Line on 01926 516 469.
Negative Test Result - If a colleague tests negative for coronavirus then they can return to work with immediate effect as long as they are fit to do so. On returning to the Society, whilst symptomatic, colleagues are required to take additional measures to ensure that whatever is causing their symptoms is prevented from spreading as much as possible. This includes wearing a face covering in both customer facing and non-customer facing environments, increased hand washing, using hand sanitizer regularly where available and ensuring social distancing is always maintained.
Negative Test Result (Track and Trace) – If a colleague has been contacted through Track and Trace and subsequently developed coronavirus symptoms whilst self-isolating and receives a negative test result the colleague will not be able to return back to work until they have finished their 10 day self-isolation period.
Data Protection and Storing Evidence
Any evidence collated in relation to this guidance should be stored appropriately either in a secure, locked cabinet along with other sensitive information for example; return to work interviews and colleague reviews, or in a password protected folder on the Society's computer system to ensure to ensure compliance with the Society's Data Protection Policy.
If you require additional support, you should speak to your line manager. Alternatively, you can contact the HR Advisor for your business group, or contact the HR advice line on 01926 516469.
Coronavirus Symptoms Policy
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