Hi everyone, welcome to your second COVID-19 update blog providing you with the latest information about the Coronavirus and how it affects us all in the Ryde House Group. The Coronavirus Strategy Team, led by our People & Culture department continue to monitor the latest guidance from the government, Public Health England, the local authority and other stakeholders to ensure your managers are provided with the most up to date information possible. If you have any concerns or questions about the coronavirus and how we are managing it please speak with your manager who with identify the best person to answer your concerns.
Our coronavirus strategy group met on Tuesday, 24th March 2020 to discuss the implications of the Prime Minister’s broadcast. He made it clear that if we are to keep vulnerable people safe we must all follow the latest guidance. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that the senior management team has decided to stop all visitors to our homes, with the exception of essential health professional visits and essential maintenance.
Spencer Wilby our CEO said,“I could not ask for a better staff team to have round me supporting our vulnerable people in these complex and challenging times. I am so very proud of you all.
Ryde House Group very much supports the decisions of the government, which are helping to keep you and our service users safe. My management team and I meet daily to ensure we are able to respond effectively to the dynamic and ever-changing situation. There are no easy answers and every decision we make has consequences. For example, I know that the decision to stop all visitors from attending our homes will cause some families and the people we support anxiety. This may result in the behaviours of some of our service users escalating but it is an important part of our response plan to keep you and our service users safe from the virus. I am confident that you have the skills and support necessary to manage these challenges. Once again, thank you for your passion, hard work and resilience in these difficult times”.
Staffing: We currently have 42 staff across the service in various stages of self-isolating, although those who were originally self-isolating and are now clear are starting to return to work, which is helping us to maintain safe staffing levels across all of our services.
Self-Isolating: There has been some confusion in respect of what payments staff should expect if they are self-isolating. Hopefully, we can clarify that for you. If you are self-isolating because:
You have developed symptoms consistent with coronavirus, a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature above 37.8 °C, you should self-isolate for 7 days. In these circumstances you can claim SSP from your first day of self-isolating. If you do not develop any further symptoms and you do not have a temperature then you should return to work, even if you still have a continuous cough.
You are living with a household member who is displaying symptoms of the coronavirus then you should self-isolate for 14 days. In these circumstances you can also claim SSP from your first day of self-isolating. If you do not develop any symptoms after 14 days you should return to work. If you do develop any of the symptoms you should self-isolate for a further 7 days from the first day the symptoms appear.
If you are self-isolating because you have been identified in the government guidelines as being at risk or high risk then you can claim SSP. However, if you are okay and you are self-isolating because a family member has been identified in the government guidelines as being at risk or high risk, unfortunately you will not be paid, and you will not be able to claim SSP.
There has been some misunderstanding regarding the government’s announcement that people can receive up to 80% of their wages. While this is true, it only applies to companies, which have had to close due to the government’s instructions, such as pubs and restaurants to reduce the financial impact on their employees. It does not apply to our company because we have not been forced to close.
However, we know that in the current situation with many of our staff and their families having to self-isolate many of you will be facing an unprecedented financial struggle and for that reason the senior management team has agreed to make an exception to our annual leave rule. As of yesterday, 25th March 2020, staff currently in self-isolation will be able to request up to 1.2 weeks of their annual leave entitlement during their period of self-isolation. For those staff currently working, you can now also request up to 1.2 weeks of annual leave to be paid on top of your normal hours, this is because we know that in the current crisis you will not be able to take your leave as normal. (Please remember if you take up this option and then decide to leave us before you have accrued sufficient leave you will be asked to pay the difference back).
Recruitment: We are actively continuing with our recruitment campaign and I am sure many of you have seen our fantastic Facebook advert, which has successfully generated a large number of applications since it appeared. Our People & Culture team have worked closely with your managers to developed a new recruitment process, which will allow us to interview potential new staff via remote technology, such as facetime and skype and, in conjunction with the DBS service, develop a streamlined approach to obtaining the necessary DBS checks to allow us to recruit staff as swiftly and safely as possible. Our training team have also been working with your managers and People & Culture to develop an on-line induction programme to ensure all new staff come to you with at least a basic understanding of all aspects of the role.
In these challenging times we can often forget to focus on ourselves and our wellbeing so as part of the blog we have asked your managers to provide us with any amusing stories about what is happening in your part of the service, any good news stories or pictures and videos of staff and services users making the best of the situation that we find ourselves in.
Our thanks to Newton Lodge who have started the process with some brilliant ideas. The whole house spent yesterday afternoon involved in drawing and painting rainbows to be part of the "Chase the Rainbow" group on Facebook. This provides an opportunity for people to be able to spot rainbows when they go out for their daily exercise. Newton Lodge now have 8 rainbows up in their front windows ready to be spotted. They also had time to do a bit of cake making. Yummy!
These are challenging and scary times and we are all dealing with the worry and uncertainty in our own individual ways. Remember we are all part of the Ryde House Group family; you are not alone; we are all in this together and we will continue to support each other through these difficult times. If you do feel the need for some additional support Keith Johnson our Ryde House Group counsellor is available to speak with you confidentially. Please contact him via his email email@example.com so that he can arrange a time to speak with you and decide on what support he can assist you with. Alternatively, you can complete a counselling referral form, which is on the front page of the intranet, in the normal way and Keith will contact you personal by email.