COVID-19 staff information

Sickness and absence reporting

What are the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a new continuous cough, and/or a fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater), and/or a loss of/change in sense of smell or taste.

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour
  • have had three or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back (you don’t need to measure your temperature). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.

Some people will have more serious symptoms, including pneumonia or difficulty breathing, which might require admission to hospital.

Self Isolation

How long should I self isolate?

You should self isolate and stay at home if you:

  • have COVID-19 symptoms
  • live with someone with COVID-19 symptoms
  • have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 symptoms and asked to self isolate

You must arrange a PCR test as soon as possible by contacting NHS Inform or phoning 0800 028 2816.

If you have been tested because you have symptoms

If the PCR test is negative you will be informed of this and you can stop self isolating.

If the test is positive, you must self isolate for 10 days or longer until the symptoms have cleared and send a copy of your test result to your line manager

If you have been tested because you live with someone with symptoms

If the person you live with has a negative test you can stop self isolating.

If your PCR test is negative you can stop self isolating even if the person you live with has tested positive if you have:

  • had both vaccinations and at least 14 days has passed since your second dose of vaccination
  • no symptoms

If you have not been vaccinated and the person you live with has tested positive you must self isolate for 10 days.

If you have been tested because you have been identified as a close contact of a positive case

If your PCR test is negative you can stop self isolating if you have:

  • had both vaccinations and at least 14 days has passed since your second dose of vaccination
  • no symptoms

If you have not been vaccinated you must self isolate for 10 days.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms at work, you must inform your line manager and return home immediately, ideally using a face mask while travelling, and self isolate as above, and arrange a PCR test as soon as possible .

If you are contacted by NHS and advised that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive you must inform your line manager immediately, send them a copy of the message or email and self isolate for 10 days or as above until you have the results of your PCR test.

Do I require written medical evidence if I am self isolating?

If you are following advice to self-isolate, we will not ask you to provide written medical evidence after seven calendar days' absence. You should inform your line manager as above.

What if I still have symptoms after 10 days following a positive PCR test?

If you still have a high temperature, stay at home until your temperature returns to normal.

If you still have a cough after 10 days, but your temperature is normal, you do not need to continue staying at home. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

Will I be entitled to normal pay during this period?

If you are self isolating because you are following the Scottish Government guidance, or because you have been given medical advice to do so, this will not be recorded as sickness absence. It will be recorded as special paid leave.

If I am still unfit for work following the initial period of isolation do I need to provide a GP fit note?    

Yes, Council policy is that employees who are absent for more than seven days have to obtain a fit note from their GP.

That is not required if you are self isolating for 10 days if you have symptoms.

It is also not required for employees with no symptoms who are required to self isolate for 10 days.

However, if you are still off after the initial period this is recorded as sickness absence. You can self-certify for seven days but then you need to provide a fit note.

Employees can take a photograph of the fit note and send it to payroll.salaries@scotborders.gov.uk and their line manager

Make sure the photograph is of sufficient quality that the details can be read, and please also include your employee number.

The fit note should be retained as it may be required in the future for SSP purposes.

Line managers should remember to record absences after the initial period in Business World.

Do I need to notify anyone if I am self isolating?  

You should still notify your line manager of your absence before you are due to start work, or as soon as possible if that is not practical. You must also send them a copy of the message or email asking you to self isolate and arrange a PCR test.

Will I be expected to work during self isolation?

Yes, if your normal role cannot be carried out at home every effort should be made to identify suitable and alternative work for the period that you have been advised to self isolate but remain well.    

What if I am sick after self isolation?

If, after the self isolation period, you are unfit for work this should be reported and recorded as sick leave in the normal way. The employee should contact their line manager and advise of this but you should arrange a further PCR test for clarity.

When first notified of this the line manager must ensure that the absence is immediately recorded in BusinessWorld. More information can be found on the intranet under Your Job – Business World – HR.

What if I am sick for a non COVID-19 reason?

You should follow the normal process: contact your line manager as soon as possible before you are due to start work and advise of this.

Employees can self certify absence for a period of up to seven days. For longer periods of absence a fit note is required.

When first notified of this the line manager must ensure that the absence is immediately recorded in BusinessWorld. More information can be found on the intranet under Your Job – Business World – HR.

What if a member of staff develops symptoms?

The colleague will require to go home as quickly as possible and must arrange as PCR test as soon as possible.

Colleagues with an increased risk of severe illness

What should I do if I have an underlying health condition meaning I have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19?

We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to be particularly careful in trying to follow all of the recommended social distancing measures.

Employees who are at increased risk should complete the health and wellbeing risk assessment then discuss this with their manager to agree on arrangements.

What should I do if I have an underlying health condition meaning I have an extremely high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (dormerly shielders)?

We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to be particularly careful in trying to follow all of the recommended social distancing measures.

Employees who are at increased risk should complete the health and wellbeing risk assessment then discuss this with their manager to agree on arrangements.

What if I am pregnant?

You should complete the normal Pregnancy Risk Assessment.

Someone in my household has an underlying condition should I self isolate?

If no one in the household is displaying symptoms there is no requirement for you to self isolate.

Will I continue to be paid during this period if I believe that no suitable role is available?

Each case will be assessed individually however if, following a risk assessment, you refuse to undertake what we believe to be a reasonable request which has followed NHS guidance this may have an impact on your pay.