Covid-19 information for employment policies

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are temporary changes to some employment policies and toolkits. Please refer to these alongside the original policies. You can find out more on our intranet.

Sickness absence policy

  • Arranging meetings remotely (see further guidance, including wording for template letters)
  • Recording sickness absence due to coronavirus
  • Suspending the use of sickness absence triggers during this period for coronavirus-related sickness
  • Further mental health guidance coronavirus
  • Occupational Health conducting appointments via telephone only

Appeals, capability, grievance and disciplinary policies

  • Arranging meetings remotely (see further guidance, including wording for template letters)

Working flexibly and leave and time off policies

Non-priority workers and those who have childcare responsibilities should arrange alternative childcare without impacting on their job, where possible.

Your caring responsibilities may affect your ability to do your role outside of the home. Speak to your manager about taking a period of carers or annual leave.

Looking after your wellbeing is paramount so ensure that you do not exceed the usual flexitime rules. It is essential for you to stay well and achieve a work-life balance. Ensure that you are taking reasonable breaks and not exceeding your working hours as far as possible.

Probation policy

If you are new to the council, you may not have been able to do all of the tasks you would ordinarily do within your role. Your manager will discuss this with you. They can set new targets linked to the work you are doing to complete your probation period.

If you are absent from or unable to work due to Covid-19, you may receive an extension to your probation period.

We will backdate any pay increment due to the end of the initial six months. Probation periods will not exceed 12 months. In this situation, we will any pay any increase at the point of completion. We will not backdate it.

Leave and time off policy

Annual leave

For staff who are working from home, we will honour any annual leave already approved.

We will consider new requests for leave but may decline them where it is operationally necessary. We will agree to alternative dates when circumstances allow. We want to balance the need for staff to take regular leave to support their wellbeing.

In extreme circumstance, if we need you to cancel your annual leave, we will provide the maximum possible notice. We will only cancel leave with your agreement.

If services can support normal annual leave levels, colleagues are encouraged to use it over the remaining year. If this is not possible, we have amended our current policy on carrying over annual leave. 

For the current leave year ending in March 2021, you can carry forward a maximum of 10 days annual leave. It is for all employees where it has not been possible to take all leave within the year. There is a maximum of 15 days carry-over at a manager's discretion. 

Employees on Fire and Rescue grey book terms and conditions are omitted. Separate internal communications have confirmed that the general provisions still apply.

For quarantine, when returning from leave, read the managers guidance on quarantine and annual leave requirements.

Travel and expenses policy

Homeworking and telephone allowances

Expenses of up to £100 are available for general office equipment that you cannot collect from the office. It can go towards paying for equipment or furnishings up to the value of £100 to enable you to work from home effectively. In addition to chairs and desks, this can include, desktop lamps, desktop fans, multi-gang sockets and window blinds to shield you from the sun. Speak to your manager about this.

A 'home equipment expenses' code is available in Business World for reimbursement claims for homeworking equipment. If you need help to submit a claim, you can find the variable payment quick card on our intranet.

Do not claim until you have received and checked the item. To approve a claim, you should send your manager a copy of the receipt by email. You can photograph it.

There is a home office allowance mentioned in the telephone and office allowance policy. It is for staff who are permanently contracted to work from home and have an office space set up for this.

Employees working from home temporarily during lockdown can retrospectively apply for tax relief from HMRC for a home working allowance. It contributes to any increased costs incurred, such as electricity and heating. Based on current rates, it means tax relief for up to £27 of earnings per month. It is reimbursed via changes to personal tax codes.

Reimbursement for any extra mileage

For short-term changes (up to six months) we will pay additional mileage in line with the business travel policy.

Employees can calculate business mileage from and to their home address in line with the travel policy's lesser rule.

We will reimburse employees for:

  • total mileage incurred in the day above their home to contractual work base return journey
  • all mileage for a trip between their normal workplace and a temporary workplace
  • all mileage for a journey between one temporary workplace and another temporary workplace
  • mileage calculated using the lesser rule for a journey between their home base and a temporary workplace. It must be less than claiming from the normal work base

We will only pay commuter mileage if the miles travelled from home to a location are less than from the contractual work base.

Agency, relief and off-payroll workers

If a relief worker needs to isolate, pay should still apply for the workdays booked. They must claim via the usual manager approval. It will then go through the payroll system for payment a month in arrears.

Employees should provide their line manager with the details of the hours they have worked or were due to work. The manager will complete a claim form on their behalf and submit for payment following standard payroll deadlines.

Local scheme of conditions of service

Working at a higher level

An employee may cover another clearly-defined role in full. We will pay them at the grade for that role. 

An employee may carry out extra duties in addition to their current role. We will pay them the equivalent to one or two pay points above their current salary as a monthly honorarium. The line manager and the flexible resourcing ream will organise this.