Firstly, thank you to those colleagues who have been so amazing by supporting each other and pulling together as a family to keep our company open and running. With many of you volunteering to do whatever you can outside of your normal role to help and complete tasks or jobs to ease the pressure that so many of us are feeling right now.
From the companies point of view the current situation in relation to the Coronavirus is ever changing and with this change some of the answers we have given below will be subject to change. However as of 23rd March, these are our responses.
What will happen in regards to admin colleagues?
Currently we require all admin to carry out their usual duties and contracted hours, we don’t envisage any changes to this over the forthcoming weeks.
I’m an office manager, the setting’s manager and deputy will be taking laptops home with them. Will my role be moved to home-based working or will there be other changes that are needed?
At the moment its very much business as usual, it may be in the future that we will require you to homework.
I’m concerned that when the nursery shuts what will happen for me and my family.
We do not expect to shut because the hospitals and key workers need us.
I have a daughter who now won’t be at school where she has support for a heart condition along with other illnesses. This is now an issue that I need to be close to home in the event of her being taken poorly or hospitalised.
The government have confirm the definition of a key worker, therefore your daughter should be able to attend school as usual.
I am off on maternity leave, due to return in April, what is my position and for my older child?
While you are off on maternity you are not a key worker and your children may not attend (unless they are also very vulnerable). You would have your return to work meeting by phone to discuss what your options are then. If/when you come back to work your children can come too, your older child may be able to go to school.
If we are classed a key worker, can our children still attend school?
All early years colleagues children can continue to attend school.
Will I be asked to work at another setting?
In the event you are asked to support another setting or part of the business, as your base site is unable to offer you work a discussion will be had with yourself as to if you can support the business elsewhere. If you are unable to support due to your own personal situation, you will be offered the opportunity to take annual or unpaid leave.
When my holiday comes to an end and I am still required to be in self-isolation am I entitled to full pay?
Once your annual leave finishes, and you are still self-isolating with no personal symptoms linked with coronavirus this time off would be unpaid. If you or a member of your family are showing signs of symptoms of the Coronavirus you would be entitled to SSP and self isolating.
As a staff member with a small child that also goes to Tops will colleague’s children be included to be able to still come in to the setting?
As a keyworker your child will be able to attend nursery as usual.
How does wages work now for Term Time Only? Will we be paid?
In terms of your pay its very much business as usual, so you will be paid in the normal way.
How does SSP work for Term Time Only colleagues, can I still claim SSP?
In regards to SSP, this will only apply to you if you are off from work unwell. SSP will apply from day 1 in relation to Coronavirus symptoms (dry persistent cough and fever), SSP will apply from 4 for any other symptoms not related to the coronavirus. Please see here for more information about edibility for SSP from the government. https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay/eligibility
I am a casual/bank worker, how will this virus affect my hours and pay?
Your contract remains the same, you will be paid your normal rate when you work. At this point we expect the hospital nurseries to be busy, and others probably not so, we are unable to confirm how many hours will be available for casual/bank staff at this point, could be loads or none, sorry!
If the government officially closes all schools and nurseries are we entitled to full pay?
In the event that the company is instructed to close by the government, and no alternative work is available to colleagues. All colleagues aside from those on a casual or agency contract with zero hours, will be paid full pay, in line with their contracted hours.
If this virus goes on for months on end, what will happen in the long run? (Regarding pay, as I know it’s not possible to pay everyone full pay forever).
Currently the company is open as usual and we are expecting to be busy with additional children from key worker parents, requiring childcare. It is very difficult for us to predict what the company will do long term if the coronavirus continues for months on end. We can only take reassurance that China is starting to gradually get back to normality, and hope that this will be the same for the UK in due course.
If my 5 year old cannot attend school as I am not classed as a key worker, will he be able to come to nursery with me? I won’t be able to do school hours because I am an apprentice and can’t afford for him to stay at work outside school hours. He usually attends a before and after school club but the price is cheaper compared to nursery rates. Is there anything for apprentices that you could please do to help? I want to keep working for as long as possible and I am pregnant as well so aware there is a possible risk.
If your school age child is refused admission at school then you can bring them to nursery, for free, during normal school opening hours, provided your nursery has an Ofsted registration to include your child’s age. You would need to complete a normal High 5s registration form, and sort out hours with the nursery manager, who will produce an invoice, but we will forward them to the Local Authority to pay. Don’t worry if they don’t pay as we won’t pursue you for the money – in fact we will make out the invoice payer as your Local Authority. Please help with arranging suitable activities for your child that he/she likes to do, either bringing them in or helping to source resources with the room manager. Your child might be in with pre-school – depends on numbers and configuration of the nursery. If your nursery does not have the environment for school age children you can possibly use another Tops that is close by and has a High 5 club. Please push your school/local authority to take your child because you are a key worker – but the problem is that nursery staff are not currently on the key worker list from the government. We are also trying to get this changed.
In terms of pregnant ladies, the NHS website refers them to The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
On their website it states:
More detailed advice for pregnant women, including those who cannot work from home was published on 21 March 2020. It recommends that if you are in your first or second trimester (less than 28 weeks pregnant), with no underlying health conditions, you should practice social distancing but can continue to work in a public-facing role, provided the necessary precautions are taken.
If you are in your third trimester (more than 28 weeks pregnant), or have an underlying health condition – such as heart or lung disease – you should work from home where possible, avoid contact with anyone with symptoms of coronavirus, and significantly reduce unnecessary social contact.
Therefore, those in their 1st and 2nd trimester should be working as normal if they have no underlying health condition which means if they do chose to self-isolate purely out of pre caution then I would say they are not entitled to SSP as there is no medical reason for it.
Clarification of SSP and Self Isolating
|Self-Isolate with no symptoms or family member is vulnerable/high risk
|No pay or SSP, holiday or unpaid leave should be taken.
|If you have symptoms – Cough or Fever
|SSP from day 1|
|Unwell due to anything else
|SSP from day 4|
|When should I self-isolate for 7 days
|When you have a coronavirus symptom cough or fever
|When should I self-isolate for 14 days||When a person that is living in the same household as yourself has a coronavirus symptoms cough or fever. During these 14 days, if you yourself start to develop symptoms as cough or fever, you need to begin the 7 days isolating from the first day of having a symptom.|
|What should I do I am pregnant and feel at risk||If you feel you are unable to work due to your current circumstances, as you feel there is a risk to your unborn child, you can self-isolate then unpaid leave or annual leave can be taken.|
|What should I do I am pregnant and don’t feel at risk||We are more than happy for you to continue working as usual.|
As a business, under the Financial Conduct Authority, we are not able to give you financial advice and you must use your own financial advisors. However, we have contacted Natwest Bank and Lewis Partnership to provide some guidance to pass onto you.
- Contact your main bank for advice.
For NatWest customers these include:
- The advice can be found here: https://personal.natwest.com/personal/support-centre/coronavirus.html
- 01 – Payment breaks for up to 3 months to support with the impact of coronavirus on:
- NatWest Mortgages, you can find more information on applying for a payment holiday on our managing your mortgage page
- NatWest Loans, you can apply for a loan payment deferral
- 02 – You can apply to increase your credit card limit
- 03 – Refunds on request for NatWest credit card cash advance fees, where you’ve needed to access cash in an emergency
- 04 – Early closure of NatWest fixed savings accounts to access cash with no early closure charge. To close your fixed term savings account, you can call us on 03457 888 444
- 05 – You can request an increase in your NatWest Debit Card cash withdrawal limit of up to £500 to help you access your money. To do this, you can call us on 03457 888 444
- If different from the above their alternative mortgage, loan, credit card provider.
- GOV advice – This includes employment and financial support: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Citizens Advice – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/
- Lewis Partnership pension information for employees should be read here https://lewismastertrust.co.uk/the-lewis-workplace-pension-trust/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/