Frequently asked questions for colleagues
We will keep updating this page as often as we can to keep you informed.
Please note that due to the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus, Pinnacle may need to review its position in respect of these matters and in line with any Government or other official advice or guidance.
You will understand that we are unable to address and answer every different scenario and question that may arise. If you have and further queries please contact your line manager or HR in the first instance.
We urge colleagues to follow the guidance and good practice which is widely available in order to help safeguard both themselves and others.
Latest update: 09:00, 18th February 2021 Recent updates are marked with a bell ()
Health and Safety Policies
Our Health and Safety policies and documents regarding Coronavirus are available for all staff to view at the link below. These include our Toolbox Talks and Risk Assessments.
Following the Government’s recent announcements, from the 5 January 2021 England will be entering a new national lockdown. It is vital that we all follow the Government rules and guidelines that apply in your region to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our colleagues, customers, clients and business partners.
Attending your Place of Work
To help contain the virus, everyone who can work from home must do so.
For all of our front line members of staff that are continuing to go to work because they are not able to carry out their duties from home, nothing changes. We need you to continue carrying out the vital work you have been doing since the start of this crisis, supporting communities across the country. Our existing ways of working as outlined in our Toolbox Talks and Risk Assessments (available here) continue to be safe and in line with Government and Public Health Guidelines.
In accordance with relevant site-specific COVID secure risk assessments, our depots and site offices will therefore remain open, but restrictions, including social distancing, will need to apply.
Our main offices will also remain open but should only be used by colleagues unable to effectively fulfil their work duties from home.
The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID secure guidelines are followed closely. We have developed comprehensive and COVID-19 controls for each of our work environments which must be adhered to wherever possible.
There is no limit to group size when meeting or gathering for essential work purposes, but social distancing, wherever possible.
To ensure that our workplaces are COVID secure for those who need to use them, in line with the Government guidance here, risk assessments have been carried out and shared with staff who may be needing to use that facility, modifications (such as increased sanitation facilities, increased/amended cleaning regimes, one way or queueing systems to ensure social distancing, decommissioning desks, reduced meeting room availability, screens, signage etc) have been completed in accordance with those risk assessments, and COVID secure certificates issued, indicating the maximum number of people that can be accommodated in that office or site at any one time.
Subject to client agreement in relation to specific contracts, visitors to our own offices, depots and site offices will not be permitted. This means all external appointments should be carried out remotely.
Coronavirus and your Wellbeing
As news about Coronavirus (COVID-19) dominates the headlines and public concern is on the rise, we would like to remind staff that taking care of your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health.
There is some excellent advice at the following links:
You can also contact the Employee Assistance Programme which is open 24/7 on 0800 030 5182 or using the web details below:
User name: Pinnacle
Don’t forget the guidance on working from home as below
Keeping up to date
Due to the unprecedented and unpredictable nature of coronavirus we will continue to update these FAQs to reflect current circumstances. Please continue to check the intranet and maintain regular contact with line managers and colleagues during this time.
We appreciate these are very challenging circumstances, please be assured that our employees and customers remain our main priority at this time.
As the situation develops so rapidly, we are using this page as our main source of information for staff. We are updating it frequently.
We will also email you directly with significant updates that will impact you. Read our regular Corporate Communications for important updates.
Keep up to date externally
You can follow Government and other public authorities to stay up to date.
Most have social media accounts and email update facilities.
Public Health England – a UK governmental organisation that protects the nation’s health and wellbeing.
The main source of information from Pinnacle is found on our “Frequently asked questions for staff” page on our website. This gets updated regularly. A link has been sent to all staff either via their work email, or their personal email address held on Cascade. Please check your Cascade record, and if your personal email address is no longer valid, then please amend your Cascade record, and you will receive the link next time an update is posted.
Anyone who continues to carry out their role, whether from home or on site, will continue to receive their normal full pay.
If you are required to self-isolate in accordance with Government guidelines, you will be paid your normal full pay, whether that be because you have symptoms yourself, a member of your household or support bubble is showing symptoms, you have been identified by the NHS as a contact of someone who has had a positive test for coronavirus, or you (or your child) needs to self-isolate prior to attending hospital for a procedure. In addition, if you are a member of the extremely vulnerable group, you will be advised by the NHS whether you need to shield, and you will be paid for the duration of your instruction to shield.
In addition, anyone who is hospitalised due to contracting the virus or who is absent from work unwell with a confirmed case of coronavirus following an NHS test, will also be paid their normal full pay.
The above does not apply to people who travel abroad and then subsequently are required to self-isolate upon their return to the UK. In this case, you will be required to take unpaid leave, or paid annual leave if you have any entitlement remaining.
The Government’s Job Retention Scheme is being extended to the end of March 2021 for any staff that are ‘furloughed’. The Government will cover 80% of basic wages and Pinnacle will continue to make up the difference to 100% for all employees with a basic wage of up to £37,500 per annum.
Unfortunately, we are not able to bring forward “pay day” timing during these challenging times – or to increase frequency to weekly pay – for the reason that our clients are not paying us any sooner. We continue to be paid fee income at the end of each month and it is from this fee income that we pay wages.
Confirmed COVID case(s) at work
If the member of staff is not already self-isolating, they should be sent home from work immediately. The member of staff will receive guidance from the NHS with their test result, which will be to self-isolate, and to contact the NHS if their symptoms worsen. The Manager should record the test result on Cascade.
The Manager should establish the following ;
- When the test was undertaken
- When the member of staff last attended work and where
- Who would the member of staff have come into contact with (colleagues, members of the client, customers, members of the public)
If the member of staff is likely to have come into contact with anyone else, the Manager should liaise with their line Manager to judge who should be advised. You should only be advising people who are directly affected, ie if they should know because of potential implications for their own health, or due to a duty of care they may have towards others (other employees, customers or members of the public). Follow the Information Commissioner Office’s guidance that “you should keep staff informed about cases in your organisation. Remember, you probably don’t need to name individuals and you shouldn’t provide more information than necessary. You have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of your employees, as well as a duty of care. Data protection doesn’t prevent you doing this.” The same is true about whether you would need to advise clients.
In accordance with the Government’s advice;
- Closing the workplace: There is no requirement to close a workplace, although if the member of staff has been at work in the 3 days preceding the test result, the work place will need to be cleaned. The cleaning should be carried out either by an in-house team, if we are responsible for cleaning on that site, or by the usual contractor. There is no need for specialist contractors to be employed.
- Self-isolation: There is no need for everyone within that workplace to self-isolate. People only need to self-isolate if they have been advised by the authorities that they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive. The decision on who is a close contact is made by the authorities in liaison with the person who has tested positive. Other than in a school setting, people are only required to self-isolate if they have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and are advised that they are a close contact of someone at work. If you haven’t been contacted by the NHS, you can attend work as normal. The full guidance is available here, and here.
- In a school setting or working in a school bubble, the process is different. If you are advised by a school to self-isolate, or work in a school bubble and have Covid 19 symptoms or have tested positive for Covid 19, you should contact your Manager before attending work. Your Manager will liaise with the school and the NHS Business Services Authority for guidance on whether self-isolation for yourself and colleagues is required.
The Manager should contact our Health & Safety Manager, John Butcher (or the Health & Safety team in his absence), who will alert Public Health England. Public Health England will then advise on any actions required.
Illness and Self Isolation
If you have symptoms
If you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus below you should be self-isolating. Initially, the advice was to self-isolate for 7 days, but this was increased to 10 days with effect from the end of July 2020.
- high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
There is guidance on what you can do to obtain a test in the “Testing” section.
If a member of your household or someone in your support bubble is showing symptoms
If a member of your household is showing symptoms, you should be self-isolating for 10 days (originally 14). More guidance is available at NHS online.
If you are identified by the NHS as a contact of someone who has had a positive test for coronavirus
You should also self-isolate if you are advised by the NHS (by text or email, but the NHS will follow up by phone if they don’t get a response) that you have been in contact with someone who has had a positive test for coronavirus. Each time someone tests positive for coronavirus, they will be asked to provide contact details (where they know them) for people with whom they have been in contact in the 48 hours before they developed symptoms. You will not be told who the person is who has identified you as a contact. You will be identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive if;
- you have had face-to-face contact with that person (less than 1 metre away, however short the timescale)
- you have spent more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of that person
- you have travelled in a car or other small vehicle, or on a plane with that person (even on a short journey)
- you work in, or have recently visited, a setting where that person has been present (for example a GP surgery, a school, or an indoor workplace such as an office)
You may be feeling well and not have any symptoms, but it is still essential for you to follow the advice that you are given, which will be to self-isolate for 10 days (originally 14). This is because, if you have been infected, you could be infectious to others. Some people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms at all, and it is therefore crucial to self-isolate to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus. If you do not have symptoms, you do not need to seek a test.
If you live with other people, and they have not been identified as a contact in the same way, they do not need to self-isolate (unless you develop symptoms) but they should avoid contact with you as far as possible and follow advice on hygiene. Self-isolation means staying at home and not going outside your home at any time. If you do not live with other people, or everyone in the household has been advised to self-isolate, you should seek help from others, or delivery services, for essential activities such as food shopping.
If you are advised by the NHS that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you should contact your manager. You will be required to provide evidence of the text or email from the NHS, which will be logged on Cascade.
If you are required by the NHS to self-isolate prior to you a close family member undergoing a procedure or operation.
If you are required by the NHS to self-isolate prior to a hospital procedure or operation, you should self-isolate for a period of 10 days (originally 14).
As outlined in the “Pay” section, anyone who is required to self-isolate, regardless of whether they are able to carry out their role during the period of self-isolation, will be paid their normal full pay. This does not apply to people who travel abroad and then subsequently are required to self-isolate upon their return to the UK. In this case, you will be required to take unpaid leave, or paid annual leave if you have any entitlement remaining.
If you are required to self-isolate, you should discuss the practicalities of working from home (if you are not doing so already) with your line manager. If your role is such that it is possible to carry it out from home, or if new arrangements can be put in place that allow you to work from home, then yes you will be able, and expected, to work from home.
If I become unwell while working from home during this period of disruption or closure, should I still notify my line manager?
Yes. Staff should notify their line manager in accordance with the normal sickness absence reporting procedures, whatever the nature of their illness.
What happens if an employee decides to leave the office to self-isolate as their children are showing signs of Coronavirus? Should they leave the place of work immediately? Also, should the place of work be deep cleaned?
People should not attend work if a member of their household is showing symptoms of the coronavirus. They should stay at home and, if they are at work, be sent home immediately. There is no need for the place of work to be deep cleaned.
If a colleague knows a person or child that they live with is showing symptoms of Coronavirus and they still decide to come into work what happens? Will they be told to leave and self-isolate? If they refuse will disciplinary action be taken?
People should not attend work if a member of their household is showing symptoms of the coronavirus. They must stay at home and, if they come to work, be sent home immediately. They are not able to refuse, it is a Government instruction.
One of my team members is showing symptoms but is continuing to attend work. Should I send them home?
Yes, you must send them home. People are required to self-isolate if they are showing symptoms.
My child has been sent home from school, as one of her classmates is showing symptoms. Do I need to self-isolate?
No. There is no need for you to self-isolate, and you should continue to attend work. You only need to self-isolate if your child is showing symptoms herself.
You can safely return to work after a period of self-isolation for any reason, including if you have developed symptoms. There is more guidance about self-isolation periods here.
The guidance for if you were self-isolating because you had symptoms is that you do not need to be tested again, before you return, as it is possible for tests to remain positive for some time after infection. Anyone who has previously received a positive test result should not be tested again within 90 days, unless they develop new symptoms.
There are two classifications of vulnerable. The extremely vulnerable (see next section) are those people who will have been contacted by the NHS and instructed to shield during the first wave, and from the 5 November 2020 onwards. There is no requirement to shield if you are a member of a vulnerable group.
Vulnerable groups are those who are:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
- a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
- pregnant women
If you fall into a vulnerable category (as above) you must follow Government guidance on social distancing and hygiene stringently, stay at home as much as possible and, if you do have to go out, take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.
You should also advise your line Manager and discuss the possibility of working from home either in your current or in an alternative role. If that is not possible, your manager should attempt to arrange your working pattern to minimise contact with others, when travelling to work and when at work, for example by staggering starting and finishing times. You should be offered the option of the safest on-site roles, enabling you to stay 2m away from others.
If one of my team members falls into any of the Vulnerable Groups categories, are they required to self-isolate? If so, how long should this period of self-isolation be and what pay will they receive?
No. The Government advice is for people in these categories to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
One of my team members cares for a member of his household who is vulnerable and is concerned about attending work in case he picks up Coronavirus. Can I insist he attends work?
We should attempt to take his concerns into account if at all possible. Firstly, we should examine the possibility of working from home. If that is not possible, then we should attempt to arrange his working pattern to minimise contact with others, when travelling to work and when at work, for example by staggering starting and finishing times. In common with everybody else, he should continue to pay particular heed to the social distancing and hygiene advice.
In common with all vulnerable groups, the Government advice is for people in these categories to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
You should also advise your line Manager, who will record you as a vulnerable person on Cascade. You should discuss the possibility of working from home either in your current or in an alternative role. If that is not possible, your manager should attempt to arrange your working pattern to minimise contact with others, when travelling to work and when at work, for example by staggering starting and finishing times. You should be offered the option of the safest on-site roles, enabling you to stay 2m away from others.
Extremely vulnerable groups
What should I do if I have received a letter or text from the NHS stating that I am one of the clinically extremely vulnerable people?
If you were originally in this group, you will have received a letter or text from the NHS or from your GP advising you to shield during the first lockdown, a second letter from Government with regard to the second national lockdown restrictions from the 5 November 2020 to the 1 December 2020, and a third letter if you live in a Tier 4 area regarding restrictions from the 20 December onwards. Following the announcement of a new national lockdown on 4 January 2021, all Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) colleagues, regardless of where they live, were advised to shield once more, and they will have received a further letter in this regard. Colleagues identified as CEV must not come into the workplace until the shielding period is over. Anyone that is required to shield in these circumstances will receive full pay.
In addition, the Government announced on the 16 February 2021 that further groups have been added to the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable list (which will include some of the categories outlined in the Vulnerable Groups list in the previous section). The guidance now states that there are 3 ways you may be identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable:
- You have one or more of the conditions (as previously listed for CEV individuals).
- Your clinician or GP has added you to the Shielded Patient List (SPL) because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem you to be at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus.
- You have been identified through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment as potentially being at high risk of serious illness if you catch the virus.
If you have been added to the CEV list, you will receive a letter from the NHS, your clinician or GP advising you to shield. Colleagues newly identified as CEV must not come into the workplace until the shielding period is over. Anyone that is required to shield in these circumstances will receive full pay.
What should I do if I live with someone who has received a letter from the NHS stating that they are one of the extremely vulnerable people?
If you live with someone who has received a letter from the NHS stating that they are one of the extremely vulnerable people, you are not required to adopt the protective shielding measures for yourself. You should follow the social distancing guidelines particularly stringently when out of the house, and the shielding guidelines when at home.
One of my team members cares for a person who is extremely vulnerable and is concerned about attending work in case he picks up Coronavirus. Can I insist he attends work?
The advice is that someone who lives with an extremely vulnerable person does not need to start shielding themselves in the same way, and so your team member is able to come to work. However, he should follow the particularly stringently when he’s out of the house, and the shielding guidelines when at home.
With regard to coming to work, in common with the response in the vulnerable groups section, we should attempt to take your team member’s concerns into account if at all possible. Firstly, we should examine the possibility of working from home. If that is not possible, then we should attempt to arrange his working pattern to minimise contact with others, when travelling to work and when at work, for example by staggering starting and finishing times. He should be offered the option of the safest on-site roles, enabling him to stay 2m away from others.
Concerns about coming to work
I work in a school where one of the teachers has just returned from abroad and I’m concerned about my safety. Can I refuse to go to work?
We should attempt to take into account the concerns of everyone if possible. Firstly, we should examine the possibility of working from home. If that is not possible, then we should attempt to arrange working patterns to minimise contact with others, when travelling to work and when at work, for example by staggering starting and finishing times. We should all continue to pay heed to the hygiene and social distancing advice.
The government advice on what to do if a colleague were to contract coronavirus is also relevant here (see response to question above).
Yes. You should keep staff informed about cases in your organisation. Remember, you shouldn’t name individuals and you shouldn’t provide more information than necessary. You have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of your employees, as well as a duty of care. Data protection doesn’t prevent you doing this.
There are no offices in Pinnacle that are completely closed. However, in line with the Government’s guidance, where possible, people that can work from home are doing so.
Customer facing offices will remain open for business as they are essential to provide front line services to our customers. If you are working in an office, then you should pay particular attention to the Government’s hygiene and social distancing advice, and do all you can to heed that advice while you are at work. Risk assessments have now been carried out at all our offices and sites, and control measures identified that are necessary to ensure that our work places are COVID secure in line with the Government guidance here. Those risk assessments have been shared with staff who may be needing to use that facility
One of my team members is concerned about the coronavirus and he is refusing to come to work. What should I do?
We should attempt to take your team member’s concerns into account if at all possible. Firstly, we should examine the possibility of working from home. If that is not possible, then we should attempt to arrange his working pattern to minimise contact with others, when travelling to work and when at work, for example by staggering starting and finishing times. In common with everybody else, he should continue to pay particular heed to the social distancing and hygiene advice.
All eligible staff are encouraged to have the vaccination as soon as possible, to protect themselves and their colleagues. In most cases, the NHS will invite individuals to have the vaccines, and there is set criteria for priority receipt. However, if a client or another recognised third party invites our staff to receive a vaccine (for example if they work around a care home) then people are encouraged to take part whenever they can.
People will not be penalised for attending vaccination appointments during working time, and will receive normal pay, if time off is necessary. People must advise their line manager in advance, if time off work is required.
If someone has a medical condition that might prevent vaccination, they are encouraged to speak to a healthcare professional for advice and guidance. If someone has concerns over the safety of the vaccine, they are also encouraged to speak to a healthcare professional.
Recording Coronavirus-related absences
The following categories are now being used to record absences relating to Coronavirus:
In the Absence (sickness) screen;
- Coronavirus – hospitalised
- Coronavirus – confirmed case (following an NHS test)
In the Absence (other coronavirus) screen, which is being used for all incidents of self-isolating;
- Self-isolating 10 days mild symptoms – Working From Home (WFH)
- Self-isolating 10 days mild symptoms – unable to WFH
- Self-isolating 10 days shared household/bubble symptoms – WFH
- Self-isolating 10 days shared household/bubble symptoms – unable to WFH
- Self-isolating 10 days contact of confirmed case – WFH
- Self-isolating 10 days contact of confirmed case – unable to WFH
- Self-isolating 10 days pre NHS procedure – WFH
- Self-isolating 10 days pre NHS procedure – unable to WFH
- Self-isolating as extremely vulnerable (following the receipt of the NHS letter or text) – WFH
- Self-isolating as extremely vulnerable (following the receipt of the NHS letter or text) – unable to WFH
- Self-isolating 7 days mild symptoms – Working From Home (WFH) (category no longer in use)
- Self-isolating 7 days mild symptoms – unable to WFH (category no longer in use)
- Self-isolating 14 days shared household/bubble symptoms – WFH (category no longer in use)
- Self-isolating 14 days shared household/bubble symptoms – unable to WFH (category no longer in use)
- Self-isolating 14 days contact of confirmed case – WFH (category no longer in use)
- Self-isolating 14 days contact of confirmed case – unable to WFH (category no longer in use)
- Self-isolating 14 days pre NHS procedure – WFH (category no longer in use)
- Self-isolating 14 days pre NHS procedure – unable to WFH (category no longer in use)
Detailed guidance has been issued to our Managers. If you have any queries, please speak to your Line Manager in the first instance.
In line with government advice, we do not require a Fit Note. However, you should be able to obtain one via the NHS online service. It is our preference that you attempt to obtain a Fit note, but you will not be penalised if you cannot.
I am worried that my team haven’t taken enough annual leave so far this year. Can I insist that they take holiday?
You may find that your team has taken fewer days leave this year than usual at this time of year. This may because they have had to cancel leave that had been booked but they weren’t able to go due to COVID19, or because people have been reluctant to take leave when they are unable to go away.
At the moment we are not insisting that people take leave (although that is a position we may be forced to take if we find that people aren’t taking enough leave), but we are actively encouraging it, so we don’t end up with a backlog at the end of the year.
As much as anything, it’s important that people get regular rest from work, whether they are able to actually go away on holiday or not. As restrictions gradually ease, people may feel more comfortable with going away on leave in any event.
So please encourage your teams to be taking regular leave (normal rules about restricting the number of people that are off at any one time still apply of course, as the service still needs to be delivered). Set the example by taking annual leave yourself.
Many individuals have not been able to take annual leave as normal during 2020. Will the company consider allowing individuals to “roll-over” more than 5 annual leave days into the 2021/22 financial year to avoid potential issues of staff wanting to use up their holiday allowance in Feb/March ’21?
We have been actively encouraging people to take their annual leave since the lockdown has been relaxed, on the basis that it is important for people’s wellbeing and for company performance for people to take a break to rest and re-energise, to avoid burn-out and working ineffectively. We are not, therefore, envisaging that there will be a large backlog of people that have unusually high levels of leave to take.
Under the rules of the Working Time Directive, people are required to take a minimum of 20 days’ leave in the annual leave year for the very reason above (rest and wellbeing), allowing carry over only for people who have an entitlement that is higher than 20 days. That said, the Government has relaxed the provisions of the Working Time Directive to allow companies to in turn agree that individuals may carry over a maximum of 20 days to be taken in the next 2 annual leave years, on the strict condition that they have been prevented from taking leave by COVID19.
Again, we do not envisage that there will be that many situations where people have actually been ‘prevented’ from taking annual leave due to COVID19 (as opposed to choosing not to take leave due to the reduction in opportunities to travel), but recognise that there may be some. Therefore, managers will have the discretion in exceptional cases to be able to agree that individuals can carry over more than 5 days. In these circumstances, managers will need to email Human Resources to confirm how many carry over days have been agreed, to ensure that the employees leave record is amended.
Can staff members cancel their annual leave because their holiday has been cancelled due to travel restrictions?
I had annual leave booked but I am no longer able to travel, am I able to change the requested leave for a later date?
Annual leave requests should be discussed and agreed with line managers in accordance with the standard process.
Employees are entitled to time off work to help someone who depends on them (a dependant) in an unexpected event or emergency. This would apply to this situation. The amount of time an employee takes to look after someone must be reasonable for the situation, to make arrangements to cover the emergency. There is no entitlement to pay for emergency time off for dependants. If you do need emergency time off, you must contact your Manager.
We will ensure your safety by following Public Health England advice, adhering to our newly issued risk assessment and method statement, through the provision of the requisite Personal Protective Equipment and the provision of the correct equipment / tools to carry out the job safely. If we are unable to provide the PPE necessary to complete a task, we will not ask a member of staff to complete this task.
Our Contract and Area Managers are in regular communication with our clients and may agree to carry out deep cleans in line with our contractual obligations. If this is the case, staff should follow the latest risk assessment and method statement to carry out the clean. If we are not able to provide the PPE necessary to complete a task, we will not ask a member of staff to complete this task. Keeping our staff safe in this instance is no different than keeping our staff safe in our day to day operation.
If the school I work in is closed due to suspected Coronavirus when is it safe to re-enter the building?
We will be guided by the school/education authority in terms of declaring their premises safe. However, if, as a cleaner you were asked to clean the area you will need to follow all relevant risk assessments and method statements as outlined in the question above.
PPE is provided in line with Public Health England guidance. Task-specific PPE requirements are set out in our newly issued risk assessment and method statement. If we are unable to provide the PPE necessary to complete a task, we will not ask a member of staff to complete this task.
Will we be provided with full body suits if we have to deep clean a facility where a person(s) has had Coronavirus?
We will ensure staff are provided with the requisite PPE and tools to carry about such deep cleaning tasks as defined by Public Health England advice, adhering to our newly issued risk assessment and method statements. If we are unable to provide the PPE necessary to complete a task, we will not ask a member of staff to complete this task.
If you perceive that you have been asked to do something not in line with government guidance, please raise this with your line manager in the first instance.
Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus must book a test through the NHS.
The symptoms are:
- a new, continuous cough
- a high temperature, or
- a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste
All members of their household must also self-isolate according to current guidelines, unless the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result.
If you do not have symptoms
Your local council, or school (see the section on rapid testing in schools) may offer you a test even if you don’t have symptoms. Sites are being set up where people without symptoms can take lateral flow tests. You would need to contact your local council to find out whether there is availability in your area. The list of Community Testing areas is here. Results are received quicker, but the tests are not as reliable as the tests used for people who have symptoms (the PCR test). Therefore, please note that if someone tests positive with a lateral flow test, they will also then have to arrange a PCR test as well.
In addition, “surge” testing is being made available in locations where the COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa has been found, and is likely to be used if other variants are identified. In the case of surge testing, the PCR test is available. You should get a test if you live in one of the listed postcodes and are aged 16 or over, even if you have no symptoms, have had a vaccination, or you’ve tested positive in the past (but not within the last 90 days). More information, and the list of postcodes is available here and here.
Pinnacle’s position is that our staff should be encouraged to be tested wherever community testing and surge testing is available, to protect themselves and their colleagues. People will not be penalised for taking tests during working time, and should receive normal pay if time off is necessary to be tested in these situations.
Do not delay, apply for a test as soon as you have symptoms, testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing, and after 6 days it is too late.
Book a test by going here.
If you are registering for COVID-19 testing, please let your line manager know;
- The date of your test
- The result of your test
All communications about COVID-19 testing will be treated with confidentiality.
If you, or someone in your household, receive a positive test, you will be sent information and guidance by the NHS. If your test is negative, you can return to work.
Travel to and for work
My team members have to travel to work and their sites on public transport and are concerned that they are at greater risk because of this.
The Government has issued this guidance on safer travelling.
The Government advice is to consider all other forms of transport before using public transport. If you have to use public transport then, if you can, you should avoid peak times. Speak to your manager about starting and finishing times. The guidance suggests taking a less busy route and / or starting or ending your journey using a station or mode of transport you know to be quieter, for example walking the first or last mile of your journey.
From the 15 June 2020, it has been mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport
TFL have also issued some guidance about travel in London which talks about what they are doing to help passengers maintain social distancing and hygiene, and mentions;
- the efforts they are making to maintain the cleanliness of the network with regular cleaning using hospital grade antiviral disinfectant
- given the national requirement to maintain 2m distance between passengers wherever possible, they estimate that capacity will only be around 13 to 15% of normal, even when all services are back running
- avoiding peak times – the busiest times on the network are 05:45 to 08:15 and 16:00 to 17:30 – they have provided a list of the busiest times and places on the Tube and Rail networks
- if you can, walking or cycling for all or part of your journey, including to complete your journey if you travel into central London
- following the measures TFL is introducing to enable social distancing of 2 metres where possible, which may involve you being asked to wait to enter a station, follow one way systems, or walk only on the left, and maintain social distancing throughout stations, for example on stairs, escalators and lifts
- if travelling by bus, maintaining social distancing at stops and bus stations wherever possible, boarding the bus in the middle doors and using all available space, including the upper deck
- the importance of following the Government advice on hygiene, and the need to wash your hands before and after travel, and carry hand sanitisers with you
I am currently working from home, but if I was able to return to my normal workplace, I’d have to use public transport, and I’m worried about my safety.
The guidance remains that “if you can do your job from home you should continue to do so”. You would only need to return to your normal workplace if you became unable to work from home.
If you are unable to work from home, and your workspace is COVID secure, then you should follow the guidance on travelling by public transport in the previous question.
Yes. From the 15 June 2020, it is mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport.
Staff are encouraged to minimise their use of public transport and unnecessary journeys where possible.
Meetings that can be undertaken with colleagues or clients joining remotely via phone, Skype or Microsoft teams should replace face to face meetings wherever possible.
Where a meeting is deemed a priority and exceptionally has to continue on a face to face basis, then those attending in person must socially distance in line with guidelines.
It has been mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport since the 15 June 2020, and mandatory in shops, from the 24 July 2020. A list of other indoor settings where a face covering is required can be found here.
As you will know from a separate communication, in order to continue to ensure the health and wellbeing of our staff we have ordered 5,000 reusable/washable face coverings. Two of these face coverings will be available for each member of staff on request. Whether or not you request one of these face coverings is optional and not compulsory.
In Pinnacle offices where measures are in place to ensure social distancing can be maintained, there is no need for colleagues to wear a face covering. In situations where a Pinnacle colleague is meeting with a customer face-to-face in an enclosed space where social distancing is not possible, colleagues must wear a face covering for the duration of the meeting, e.g. in Housing Offices and Concierge settings, unless you are exempt from wearing one.
Customers should also be advised to wear a face covering when visiting any Pinnacle premises, with exemptions for those who have an age, health or disability reason.
Face coverings are not a replacement for managing risk. Minimising time spent in contact with others, social distancing and utilising remote meeting options where possible are options which need to be considered. We will be ensuring good ventilation, increased cleaning, strict hygiene regimes and abiding by risk assessments to reduce risk further.
Face coverings are there to protect those around you. If you cough or are asymptomatic, they will help minimise the spread of the virus. Face coverings are largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection (COVID-19). If you require a face covering, please request one through your line manager.
Face masks on the other hand are PPE (personal protective equipment) and must be used where a risk or COSHH assessment states they are to be used.
Track and Trace
Whilst using the app is voluntary, we are encouraging all staff scan the QR code upon entering a premises wherever possible. All visitors should also be asked to register using the app when they enter a Pinnacle office or depot.
Rapid Testing in Schools
If I work in a school, can I be tested as part of the rapid result testing of staff and pupils in schools and colleges?
This will depend on the position your school takes, and your Manager will be liaising with the relevant schools accordingly. However, in principle, there is no reason why you would not also be invited to take tests, as you are part of the school community, and we will be encouraging our clients to extend available testing to our staff.
Testing has been introduced to protect pupils and staff working in schools, as the testing regime will help identify asymptomatic cases (which make up a third of all cases), thus helping to limit the spread of the virus around a school.
The full guidance is here.
As the advice states, testing is voluntary. However, in common with the government’s approach, our staff are strongly encouraged to participate, if invited by the school. This is because taking a test will help reduce the risk of transmission and protect the school community, while allowing our clients to continue with their efforts in delivering high quality, face to face education.
If a member of staff has a good reason for not wanting to take a test, then they should discuss that with their Manager. You should refer to the section on schools within the question “what should a Manager do if a member of their staff tests positive for COVID19” to determine with your Manager, in liaison with the school, whether you will be allowed to continue at work or be forced to self-isolate in these circumstances.
We continue to receive a number of specific questions relating to coronavirus. We will update this page with the responses as soon as we are able. Sometimes this will require waiting for further Government guidance.
We would encourage you to ask any further questions either directly through your line manager, or by making use of the ‘Ask Excom’ feature on the Pinnacle Group intranet.