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Coronavirus advice

Last reviewed on 27 July 2020

Updated on Monday 27 July

We will continually update this page, but check the government and NHS websites for the latest advice.

If you are a line manager use our coronavirus advice page for managers.

Latest NHS advice

You should stay at home if you have either: 

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three 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 have noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal 

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.  

Find more information about the symptoms, self-isolation and what to do on the NHS website.

NHS test and trace

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you will be tested and your close contacts traced.

If you are contacted, follow the advice you are given and continue to report any coronavirus-related absence to your line manager.

You can find more information about test and trace on the government website.

If you live in Scotland

Find information about test and protect on the Scottish government website.

Latest government advice

Guidance for England
Guidance for Scotland
Guidance for Wales
Guidance for Northern Ireland
Guidance for Isle of Man

Welfare calls to colleagues who are currently self-isolating for up to 12 weeks

The Co-op HR team are making welfare calls to colleagues who are over 70, pregnant or have underlying health conditions, who are self-isolating for 12 weeks.

The call is to:

  • see how you are getting on
  • check if you have all the support you need
  • validate Co-op's central data, which may include a health question

This call is in addition to the regular contact you will have with your line manager.

Absence related to coronavirus

You must self-isolate if:

  • you have coronavirus symptoms, or have tested positive for coronavirus
  • a member of your household has coronavirus symptoms, or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • you are in the 'clinically extremely vulnerable' group

If you are in the 'clinically vulnerable' group you can self-isolate if you feel at risk.

If you are self-isolating

Tell your line manager straight away. Your manager will notify ER services.

Find more information about what to do when you are self-isolating on the NHS website.

If you self-isolate for more than 7 days you will need to get an online self-isolation note from the NHS. Give this to your line manager.

If you are considered 'clinically vulnerable' and are self-isolating for 12 weeks, you do not need to get an isolation note from the NHS.

Paid leave

If you are self-isolating for any of the reasons above, you will get 'paid leave'. You will be paid from the first day you self-isolate. There is no 3-day waiting period and absence triggers will not apply.

If you are self-isolating for other reasons, speak to your line manager about your circumstances.

Get tested for coronavirus

You can get a coronavirus test on the NHS website.

When you get the test result

Let your manager know straight away. Your manager will notify ER services and discuss how they can support you.

Welfare calls to colleagues who are self-isolating

Members of the HR team are making welfare calls to colleagues recorded as self-isolating to see:

  • how you are doing
  • make sure you are getting the support you need
  • discuss a return to work date

They will complete a data protection check when speaking to you. We will ask you to confirm your employee number.

Looking after your health while staying at home

You can find advice on looking after your wellbeing on the government website.

There are some resources on our colleagues website:
Employee assistance programme (Lifeworks)

Mental health support

If you have been selected for furlough

You should of received an email or letter to let you know. You must read and accept the terms of furlough.

You must not do any work while you are on furlough except to complete online training.

Find more information about furlough on the government website.

Reduce the spread of infection

If you need to leave the house, you should follow social distancing guidelines.

Find out more about social distancing on the government website.

If any colleagues are refusing to follow social distancing, or cleaning and hygiene rules, speak to your line manager.

Cleaning and hygiene

Help protect yourself against coronavirus and reduce the spread by:

  • washing your hands regularly
  • avoiding touching your face
  • covering your cough or sneeze
  • cleaning surfaces and equipment regularly

You can also wear a face mask.

Find information on the government website about making a face mask.

Transport and travel

Find the latest travel updates on the Traveline website or check local transport providers.

If you are travelling for work in the UK
Try to cycle, walk or drive to work. Only share car journeys with people from your household.

Follow social distancing rules if you use public transport.

Find more information about working from home.

If you are travelling for work outside of the UK
Speak to your line manager before booking anything. You are insured to travel on business for Co-op if you follow the advice from the government.

Find the latest travel advice on the government website.

If you have booked a hotel or train tickets, call Clarity Travel to see if you can change the booking or get a refund.

Read Co-op's travel and expenses policy.

If you are travelling for personal reasons
Check with your travel provider to see if you can still make your journey. You may also want to check with your travel insurance provider to see what you are covered for in relation to bookings and refunds.

If you travel abroad, you may need to self-isolate for 14 days when you return to the UK.

Find more information about foreign travel on the government website.

Annual leave

You should continue to book annual leave so you get a break from work.

Take any holidays already booked for this holiday year. This holiday year is from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

If you want to change or cancel holidays, speak to your line manager.

If you have unused holiday from the previous holiday year
You can carry over 5 days to the new holiday year. Speak to your line manager if you want to do this.

You can also be paid for days if you worked when you should of been on holiday.

If you are self-isolating but due to be on holiday
This will be processed as 'annual leave'. The days will be taken from your holiday entitlement.

People with an increased risk

Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill. But some people are at a higher risk and need to take extra steps to avoid becoming unwell.

Clinically extremely vulnerable groups

People most at risk from coronavirus are considered "clinically extremely vulnerable" and should be "shielded".

Find out more about the people most at risk on the NHS website.

If you fall into this group, you must self-isolate where possible. If you go outside, follow government guidance on social distancing.

If you are self-isolating and off work, you must contact your line manager who will need to complete an online self-isolation form for you. This will make sure your pay is not affected.

If you live with or care for someone who is "clinically extremely vulnerable"

Follow government guidance on "shielding".

If you choose to self-isolate and are off work because you are living with someone who is "clinically extremely vulnerable", this will be classed as unpaid leave.

Speak to your manager to discuss your individual circumstances. Managers can contact ER services for advice.

Clinically vulnerable groups

You may be at an increased risk from coronavirus and considered "clinically vulnerable" if you:

If you fall into this group, you can self-isolate up to 31 July 2020 if you feel at risk.

Speak to your line manager who will need to complete an online self-isolation form. This will ensure your pay is not affected.

If you want to return to work before 31 July, your manager can complete an 'early return to work form' on the intranet.

If you live with or care for someone who is "clinically vulnerable"

Follow government guidance on social distancing.

If you choose to self-isolate and are off work because you are living with someone who is "clinically vulnerable", this will be classed as unpaid leave.

Speak to your manager to discuss your individual circumstances. Managers can contact ER services for advice.

Schools and childcare

Find the latest information about schools and childcare on the government website.

If you do not want to send your child to school

If your child's school is open and you choose not to send your child to school, you will not be paid for any absence. You will need to take holidays, swap your shifts or take unpaid leave.

If you need to change your working pattern

Speak to your line manager to discuss your options for flexible working hours.

Line managers can contact ER Services for help and advice.

Working from home

If you can work from home, you should do so. If you need flexible hours, speak to your line manager.

Try some of these work tools, if you have access:

  • conference calls 
  • video conferencing 
  • Yammer  
  • Teams

If you do not have a teleconference number, please contact the IT Service Desk on 0330 606 1844. For Food store or distribution centres, please call 0330 606 9490.

Claim tax relief for working at home

If you regularly work from home, you can claim a 'work at home tax relief' of £6 per week. This is for the tax year that ends on 5 April 2021.

You have to claim the money after the end of the tax year by completing a form on the government website.

You will not be able to claim for any household expenses while working at home.