Renfrewshire Council

Last reviewed: 16.19, 30 July 2020

Staff advice on Coronavirus

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How to stay informed

Please see the latest information below and continue to follow NHS Inform - Coronavirus and Scottish Government advice. You can also sign up and follow the council Twitter channel @RenCouncil for daily updates. 

Staff weekly news

Take 5, our new weekly staff update, designed to bring you our top five news items in a five minute read. To view the PDF click Staff weekly news - 9 July [5MB]

If you have symptoms of Coronavirus

The most common symptoms of Coronavirus include:

  • high temperature or fever (37.8C or greater)
  • a persistent cough
  • shortness of breath. 
  • loss of taste or smell

Find out more at NHS Inform - Coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you develop any of these symptoms, you should contact the NHS immediately to arrange to be tested.

You can do this online at NHS Inform, or call 0800 028 2816. 

You should also self-isolate at home straight away along with other members of your household.

As part of the Test and Protect programme, you will be asked to self-isolate at home for 10 days if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you have tested positive for it. If you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Reporting an Absence

If you are sick and off work, you must contact your line manager to let them know in line with your normal reporting absence procedure. They will make sure you are supported and notify the relevant people of your absence.

Once you've recovered, contact your line manager to discuss your availability and return to work arrangements.

In exceptional circumstances, which the coronavirus is, you should adhere to the following process if one of your team calls in sick and/or is required to self-isolate in line with national guidance.

Managers should adhere to the following guidance and report all cases to HR via 0141 618 7323, 0141 618 4031 or 0141 618 6676 and record on Business World using the codes below. We are receiving high volumes of calls at the moment. If you are having any problems reaching us by phone please email HR_systems.

Please note if an absence would lead to a further trigger point, please contact HR for advice before proceeding.

1. A staff member is in self isolation and has symptoms: record as sickness absence for the period. self-certification and a medical certificate (fit note) is required, (unless the employee's GP provides a fit note covering the entire period). 

2. A staff member is in self isolation, does not have any symptoms, and they cannot work from home: Record as authorised absence for the period. Should they develop symptoms, they should report this to you and you should record this as sickness absence.

3. A staff member is in self isolation, does not have any symptoms, and they can work from home: Do not record as sickness absence for the period. Should they develop symptoms, they should report this to you and you should record this as sickness absence.

4. A staff member's child or any other cohabitant is in self isolation, but they are not presenting themselves with symptoms: Follow number 2 or 3 above whichever is appropriate.

The following temporary codes have been set up on Business World for:

  • Covid (self) - self certified absence due to Covid-19 related symptoms of up to 7 calendar days
  • Covid (med) - medically certified absence due to Covid-19 related symptoms - normally for absence of more than 7 calendar days but can be less than 7 calendar days dependent on when fit note issued etc
  • Special leave (Covid) - for authorised absence linked to Covid-19 - childcare issues / cannot work from home etc
  • For sickness absence managers will find the Covid codes (self) or (med) listed with all the other reasons for absence on Business World when logging it.

Testing for key workers

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, you should contact the NHS immediately to arrange to be tested.

You can do this online at NHS Inform, or call 0800 028 2816. 

You should also self-isolate at home straight away along with other members of your household.

To ensure essential services are kept running, priority to Covid-19 testing will continue to be given to those who are key workers, and those in their household, so please read our Expansion of testing for key workers page for a list of key workers who qualify for priority testing and how to book your test. This will allow any employee showing symptoms and those in their household to know whether or not they have the virus.

Latest Government advice

Read the latest Government guidance

Exercise and meeting others

You can meet others outside while maintaining physical distancing at all times. See Physical health and wellbeing

Parks and outdoor spaces

Restrictions still in place to keep everyone safe. Read more about arrangements in parks and outdoor spaces


On Thursday, 23 July the First Minister confirmed that people who have been advised to shield because of COVID-19, will no longer have to do so from 1 August.

Those affected will receive a letter from the Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith outlining updated guidance as well as the pause in shielding, which is possible due to the continuing low levels of COVID-19 infection in Scotland.

A series of measures will be established to support people moving from shielding status - advice for those with specific conditions has been made available, guidance will be issued to support people returning to work and to schools, and information will be published on how to do various day-to-day activities safely.

From 1 August, those who have been shielding will be asked to follow general safety guidance, as well as follow stringent physical distancing and hygiene measures.

From 24 July, those who have been shielding can meet indoors with up to 8 people from 2 households, as long as physical distancing is observed.

They can also visit indoor shops, markets and pharmacies, museums, galleries, libraries and cinemas, and attend hairdressers and barbers.

They can also meet outdoors in groups of up to 15 people from a maximum of 4 households per day - an increase from up to 8 people from 2 households. They can also choose to go to pubs and restaurants with outdoor spaces, though it is advised that busy places are avoided.

Those shielding can now also use public transport, as well as taxis, as long as a face covering is worn, and children who live with someone shielding can now also attend formal childcare providers.

You can find more information on what Shielding means and how to contact us if you need our help here - Shielding and protecting the vulnerable

What if this applies to you?

You should already be working at home, if possible, if you are in one of the at-risk categories.

Please continue to keep in regular contact with your line manager who will provide you with the support you need.

It has been confirmed that children who have been shielding can return to school in August and adults can begin returning to work (although home working should continue where possible).

Where can I find more information?

You should continue to follow the appropriate advice and guidance on shielding online here:

Questions about shielding support can be answered on the free national helpline number on 0800 111 4000. 

A SMS Shielding Service has been set up for the latest updates about shielding. People can join the SMS Shielding Service by sending a text from their mobile phones to 0786 006 4525.

How are council staff affected?

Our priority will be to protect our vital services and ensure the wellbeing of you as a staff member.

We are facilitating home working wherever possible as we try to mitigate the impact on our essential day to day council services. If you have an issue while working from home, please email ICT.

Please see our Changes to Council services section for a full breakdown of information in relation to how each service has been affected at this time.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Work

With more of us working from home, delivering essential services and adjusting to life following the current government guidelines, it's so important that we look after ourselves and each other and continue to provide vital services to the most vulnerable.

Our priority is keeping staff safe and well and making sure that everyone who is still at work is following Government guidelines on social distancing and good hand hygiene in the workplace. We are continually reviewing the latest guidance to ensure we have the right practice in place and will update our new Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Work section accordingly.

What can you do to avoid the spread of illness?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water; or use an alcohol based hand rub;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Wherever possible, avoid direct contact with people that have a respiratory illness and avoid using their personal items;
  • Cover any coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues and dispose of these in the nearest bin immediately after. You should then wash your hands or use an Alcohol Based Hand Rub (ABHR).

Schools and nurseries

Schools and nurseries are now closed for the summer break.

A full list of information is available at Schools and nurseries advice on Coronavirus.

Renfrewshire Leisure

Some outdoor facilities are now being reopened. For a full list of services and how they are affected please visit  Renfrewshire Leisure.

Changes to Council services

Please check the latest information at Changes to Council services.

What other advice and guidance is there?

A free helpline has also been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice: 0800 028 2816.

If you are planning to travel abroad in the near future, please check the latest Scottish Government guidance before booking