Renfrewshire Council

Last reviewed: 18:00, 20 May 2020

Staff advice on Coronavirus

On this page:

How to stay informed

Call our information line which provides the latest council service information for local people - 0300 300 0333. 

We are working closely with Health Protection Scotland, Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Renfrewshire Leisure to monitor and respond to the national situation. 

Colleagues from across the council are working together to manage the impact of Coronavirus on our services. Our role is to deliver essential services and to help residents and staff stay informed, safe and well. We want to reassure residents we are ready to respond to the emerging advice and guidance from Government. 

We can all do our bit and you too can play a role in helping to delay the spread of Coronavirus. Please see the latest information below and continue to follow NHS Inform - Coronavirus and Scottish Government advice. You can also sign up and follow the council Twitter channel @RenCouncil for daily updates. 

Staff weekly news

We've had a really positive response from local residents and you can read more about what our teams are doing to make a difference across our communities.  Download the latest staff weekly news (22 May 2020) [681KB]

If you have symptoms of Coronavirus

If you have the symptoms consistent with coronavirus, namely a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature, and/or a los of taste or smell (updated 18  May), however mild, stay at home and self isolate for 7 days from the day your symptoms started. This will help to protect others at work or in your community while you're infectious.

You do not need to call NHS24 or your GP unless your symptoms do not get better or your health condition changes significantly. You must follow the council's absence management policy by calling your line manager and they will inform HR.

If you live with others, all other members of the household should stay at home and self isolate for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day illness began in the first person. Detailed stay at home advice can be found at NHS Inform - Stay at Home Advice.

Reporting an Absence

If you are sick and off work, you must contact your line manager to let them know in line with your normal reporting absence procedure. They will make sure you are supported and notify the relevant people of your absence.

Once you've recovered, contact your line manager to discuss your availability and return to work arrangements.

In exceptional circumstances, which the coronavirus is, you should adhere to the following process if one of your team calls in sick and/or is required to self-isolate in line with national guidance.

Managers should adhere to the following guidance and report all cases to HR via 0141 618 7323, 0141 618 4031 or 0141 618 6676 and record on Business World using the codes below. We are receiving high volumes of calls at the moment. If you are having any problems reaching us by phone please email HR_systems.

Please note if an absence would lead to a further trigger point, please contact HR for advice before proceeding.

1. A staff member is in self isolation and has symptoms: record as sickness absence for the period. self-certification and a medical certificate (fit note) is required, (unless the employee's GP provides a fit note covering the entire period). 

2. A staff member is in self isolation, does not have any symptoms, and they cannot work from home: Record as authorised absence for the period. Should they develop symptoms, they should report this to you and you should record this as sickness absence.

3. A staff member is in self isolation, does not have any symptoms, and they can work from home: Do not record as sickness absence for the period. Should they develop symptoms, they should report this to you and you should record this as sickness absence.

4. A staff member's child or any other cohabitant is in self isolation, but they are not presenting themselves with symptoms: Follow number 2 or 3 above whichever is appropriate.

The following temporary codes have been set up on Business World for:

  • Covid (self) - self certified absence due to Covid-19 related symptoms of up to 7 calendar days
  • Covid (med) - medically certified absence due to Covid-19 related symptoms - normally for absence of more than 7 calendar days but can be less than 7 calendar days dependent on when fit note issued etc
  • Special leave (Covid) - for authorised absence linked to Covid-19 - childcare issues / cannot work from home etc
  • For sickness absence managers will find the Covid codes (self) or (med) listed with all the other reasons for absence on Business World when logging it.

Testing for key workers

To ensure essential services are kept running, access to Covid-19 testing in Scotland has now been widened to include all care home staff, anyone over the age of five and a broader range of workers in essential services and the private sector. This will allow any employee showing symptoms and those in their household to know whether or not they have the virus.

Priority will continue to be given to those who are key workers, and those in their household, so please read our Expansion of testing for key workers page for a list of key workers who qualify for priority testing and how to book your test.

Latest Government advice

You can spread the virus even if you don't have symptoms.

Protect yourself and others by:

  • staying at home;
  • only going outside for essential food, health and work reasons;
  • staying 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people (social distancing);
  • washing your hands regularly;
  • washing your hands as soon as you get home.                                                        

Read the full guidance on Staying at home and away from others.

These measures are in place to halt the spread of the illness, to protect the NHS and to save thousands of lives #StayHomeSaveLives.


Those considered most vulnerable to Coronavirus are advised that they must be shielded for the next 12 weeks at least.

What is 'Shielding'?

Shielding is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes people who've had solid organ transplants, certain cancers, or other conditions like cystic fibrosis and severe asthma.

To reduce the risk of them becoming infected, it asks the person to go into quarantine for the next 12 weeks. This is different advice than for the rest of the population at this time.

Those who receive a letter should not leave their homes at any time - not even for food, medicine or exercise.

What does this mean?

It means all supplies, i.e. food, medicine and key household products such as toiletries, will need to be delivered.

Ideally, this support will be provided by family or friends, or through online shopping or medicine delivered direct from a pharmacy.

If this is not possible, we (the council) and our partners will arrange to get supplies to the person.

If someone in Renfrewshire needs this help, they can call our local assistance number on 0300 300 0230.

What if this applies to you?

You should already be working at home, if possible, if you are in one of the at-risk categories.

If you receive a letter indicating you must be shielded, please let your line manager know as soon as possible.

You must not leave your home at any point for the next 12 weeks.

If you do not have a support network that can provide you with essentials such as food and medicine, and you live in Renfrewshire, please call 0300 300 0230 and we can arrange with our partners to help you. If you aren't a resident here, please contact the local authority where you live who will have a similar system in place. We are available for advice and support as your employer during this time.

The Scottish Government also have a text message service to keep you up to date which you can access by texting 07860 064 525 with your ten-digit CHI number found at the top of the letter you've received. Please sign up even if you don't need support right now.

We know this will be difficult so please ask us for any support you need during this time.

If this affects a family member or someone you having caring responsibilities for, please speak to your line manager and we will work with you to be flexible and provide you with support you need.

Where can I find more information?

For information, you can visit our specific page - Coronavirus - Shielding.

For the latest health advice and guidance from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, please visit NHS Inform - Coronavirus.

How are council staff affected?

Our priority will be to protect our vital services and ensure the wellbeing of you as a staff member.

We are facilitating home working wherever possible as we try to mitigate the impact on our essential day to day council services. If you have an issue while working from home, please email ICT.

Please see our Changes to Council services section for a full breakdown of information in relation to how each service has been affected at this time.

We are developing a redeployment strategy which will mean staff who are fit and healthy can volunteer to lend a hand in other service areas which are most in need of additional resources.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Work

With more of us working from home, delivering essential services and adjusting to life following the current government guidelines, it's so important that we look after ourselves and each other and continue to provide vital services to the most vulnerable.

Our priority is keeping staff safe and well and making sure that everyone who is still at work is following Government guidelines on social distancing and good hand hygiene in the workplace. We are continually reviewing the latest guidance to ensure we have the right practice in place and will update our new Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Work section accordingly.

What can you do to avoid the spread of illness?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water; or use an alcohol based hand rub;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Wherever possible, avoid direct contact with people that have a respiratory illness and avoid using their personal items;
  • Cover any coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues and dispose of these in the nearest bin immediately after. You should then wash your hands or use an Alcohol Based Hand Rub (ABHR).

Schools and nurseries

Schools and nurseries are closed until further notice following Scottish Government guidance.

A full list of information is available at Schools and nurseries advice on Coronavirus.

Renfrewshire Leisure

In line with specific advice from the Scottish Government, and working with the council and sports governing bodies, all in-person Renfrewshire Leisure services are now suspended until further notice.

For a full list of services affected, including gyms, pools and libraries, please visit  Renfrewshire Leisure.

Changes to Council services

Please check the latest information at Changes to Council services.

What other advice and guidance is there?

A free helpline has also been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice: 0800 028 2816.

If you are planning to travel abroad in the near future, guidance can be found on Fit for travel.