Coronavirus FAQs for PAs and employers
– Updated 5th May 2020 –
Are you still working and can I speak to someone?
Yes, we’re still working.
We’re not in the office building but you can still contact us via phone or email.
Telephone lines are busy but we’re answering as much as we can and responding to messages left.
I’m self-isolating, can my PA be paid?
PAs cannot be furloughed, they are key workers and funded by public money.
However, if you are reducing risk to yourself by asking PAs not to attend work the PA may still be able to be paid.
We’re working with funding authorities to arrange how this can happen in different situations. The details aren’t clear at present but we’ll share the information when we can.
Does my PA have to come to work?
If they are not self-isolating and have not been instructed to stay at home because they are in a high risk group, then yes.
If you are self-isolating they can still attend work but need to take extra precautions to protect you and themselves.
Your need for support does not stop if you’re self-isolating, especially if you need support with personal care tasks or support to attend medical appointments.
I have a PA who supports me with social activities only, what do I do?
This depends on your own situation and how you use these hours.
No-one should be accessing the community unless necessary so please ensure you follow government guidelines. If you’re unsure please contact us for advice.
If you usually use these hours for something that is not in the list of reasons that are appropriate to leave your home, then you will not be able to do so.
My PA is sick or self-isolating and I need support, what do I do?
Please contact us in the first instance, the advice varies depending on funding authority. For urgent need please contact your funder’s out of hours contact number.
What’s happening with DBS checks?
The government has made some changes around how these can be processed. This means that we will not need people to see us face to face to show ID.
ID is still required but can be seen in different ways.
There is a new process in place for checking ID. Exactly how this works depends on the area you are working in.
It involves photographing or scanning appropriate documents and either sending them to us or uploading onto the checking system site. We will then need to see the applicant with the same documents via a video link to verify. Finally, these same documents will need to be shown to the employer when starting work and confirmed to us by them that this has happened.
Camscanner is a very useful app for taking pictures of your ID, the app is available on various platforms, it’s available for Android and iOS. Further details and links to the appropriate app can be found at www.camscanner.com
What will happen to my holidays if I am self-isolating?
If you are self-isolating because you or a member of your household has symptoms of coronavirus then you are off sick and the sickness procedures apply.
I am employer and I don’t want my PA to come to work as I feel vulnerable
Please seek advice from your insurance company (for people covered by Mark Bates, the number is 01476 514478). The advice is still changing regularly.
I normally drop my timesheet to the office, how do I drop them now as The Disability Resource Centre is closed?
Wherever possible, please take a photo of your timesheet and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Camscanner is a very useful app for doing this, the app is available on various platforms, it’s available for Android and iOS. Further details and links to the appropriate app can be found at www.camscanner.com
We have very limited access to the building at present, if you are only able to drop physical timesheets in then please use the letterbox to the left of the main front door. It’s under the window behind the yellow barrier so can be easy to miss. We cannot guarantee that these will be collected on a daily basis at present.
What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be used by my PA?
Generally gloves and aprons would be sufficient protection if social distancing (2 metre) can be maintained. For tasks involving closer contact then masks should be used. In very few cases further equipment such as visors may be required. For further information please check the government guidance.
How can I get hold of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
The process for accessing PPE is different in different areas. If you are unsure of the process in your own area then please contact us to discuss.
Can my PA get tested for Covid-19?
All PAs are now able to receive a test, whether they have symptoms or not, as essential, frontline workers.
The test is most effective in the first three days of infection (but can still be effective up to five days).
So practically, any PA who has symptoms should get tested as soon as possible and any PA who has no symptoms (but thinks they may have been exposed recently) can also now access testing.
PAs can either self-register, or be referred by their employer, with availability for both home-delivered tests, and drive-through testing.
All patients in the NHS, and residents in care homes can now access tests, symptomatic or asymptomatic.
It has also been agreed that the term ‘patients’ extends to individuals with personal health budgets in place. Therefore, any personal health budget holders with concerns that they may have Covid-19 / been exposed to Covid-19, can now access these tests (via self-referral).
I need to get shopping or other supplies but can’t get out, what do I do?
The UK government website has a page with information about how to get food and other essential supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Over the next few months, we will be hosting live online webinars to promote our free Support into Employment programme. Each webinar will provide you with an introduction to The Disability Resource Centre and what you can expect should you join the programme.
The dates for our final Wellbeing Matters course are available and you can book your space today. We have helped many people improve their overall wellbeing during the pandemic across Luton and Bedfordshire.