Coronavirus - FAQs for people employing a carer or PA
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Direct Payments Helpline: If you have any queries about managing your Direct Payment, please contact the Direct Payment Helpline:
Telephone 0116 3052486
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The helpline is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 12pm and then again 2pm to 4pm. There is an answerphone available at all other times. The email address is monitored daily during working hours.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PAs should use PPE for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.
If you are having difficulty obtaining PPE please contact the DP helpline.
My paid carer / personal assistant has self-isolated as they or someone in their household have shown signs of the virus; What should they do?
Your paid carer / personal assistant should self-isolate. See advice on self-isolation.
They are legally defined as being unfit to attend work and this should be classed as sickness. Please read the detailed Government guidance on staying at home due to a possible Coronavirus infection, this will tell you how long your paid carer should stay off for:
If they are unable to attend work to support you, you should still pay them their usual weekly wage.
You may be able to claim some of this back through Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) please talk to your payroll provider or insurer for support with this.
Does my paid carer / personal assistant need to give me medical evidence?
Usually you can ask the employee for a medical certificate after the first seven days of absence. However, for self-isolation it is not needed as they are advised not to go to the GP and it is not appropriate if it is someone else who they live with. It would also be impossible for you to demand evidence of another householder's information.
Your employee should get an isolation note via NHS 111.
What do I do to get the support I need, if I don’t have my paid carer or personal assistant because:
they are off sick (or self-isolating)
I am self-isolating, and they refuse to come
You should do what you would normally do if your paid carer / personal assistant is not available.
If you have other employees, you may be able to ask them to attend work to cover absences. Check your contract of employment to see how clear your rights are. Casual workers can also be called upon to fill in hours.
If you have no other employees, you may be able to use a temporary agency.
You can also employ another paid carer / personal assistant. If the position is temporary, you can employ them on a casual contract so there is no ongoing obligation beyond the work you offer.
The Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) are offering to fast track checks and offer free barring checks during this time.
Find out more information on how DBS is supporting the fight against coronavirus.
If you are in urgent need of care and tried everything you can to get replacement cover then call the Customer Service Centre (CSC) on 0116 3050004. You must also call the CSC if you wish to employ a family member who lives with you on a temporary basis.
If you and/or anyone in your household have shown symptoms of the virus, you must:
- follow the governments stay at home guidance
- tell your paid carer / personal assistant that you have symptoms
However, your paid carer / personal assistant is still allowed to come to work and support you.
If you employ a paid carer / personal assistant to support you at home, you must make sure it is a safe place for them to work. You should continue to provide them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where needed
If you're having difficulty obtaining PPE, phone the direct payments helpline on 0116 305 2486. They will take some details and forward your information to the Council’s PPE lead who may be able to help in emergency situations.
You will find Government guidance on good practices on the government website.
Make sure that Government advice on good practice for home care support is always fully explained to your workers and ensure to enforce them. Ideally a record should be made of the measures you have implemented and keep records of PPE obtained and used in your home.
Your employees should:
- carry on supporting you if they are not self-isolating;
- take very seriously any new rules on health and safety procedures you put in place. This is not just for their own protection but also to prevent the spread of infection to other people in the household, other workers and the public when leaving your home;
- not remove stocks of PPE from your home and they should tell you as soon as they run low to allow you plenty of time to re-stock.
I would rather not have my paid care / personal assistant come into my home whilst my household is self-isolating, and I believe I can cope without paid support for 14 days, what are my rights?
If your paid carer / personal assistant is self-employed you can simply ask them not to come for that time.
If you employ the person you can ask them not to attend work and pay them in full for the 14 days.
If you use casual or zero hours workers and work has not already been agreed in advance, you do not have to offer them work or pay during this time.