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COVID-19 - Guidance and Information for Employers and PAs (updated November 2020)

We appreciate this is a very difficult time for everyone and we are doing our best to keep you informed with the latest advice and information regarding COVID-19 and how this might affect your support. The situation is rapidly changing but we have tried to summarise the most important messages here:

  • Remember even when we are not in a national lockdown we should follow the ‘Hands. Face. Space’ guidance:

    • hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
    • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
    • space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
  • PAs or carers working directly for vulnerable clients or through an agency are classed as a KEY WORKERS and can continue to travel to work and send children to school. We have sent out letter templates to PAs to act as a form of ID to verify this. Click here to download a copy. For information about how to work safely, follow NHS guidelines here
  • Advice for those under the National Restrictions (November 2020):

  • Access to COVID-19 Antibody Testing for PAs:

    Antibody testing is now available across England and is being provided free of charge to anyone employed in adult social care, including Personal Assistants. The antibody test is a voluntary blood test which detects antibodies to the COVID-19 virus to see if you have previously had the virus.

    This test doesn’t tell someone if they currently have COVID-19: if your PA currently has symptoms or have been advised to take a COVID-19 test, they should request a test via this link https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. It is advised not to take an antibody test at this time.

    Results of the antibody test will support academic research studies across the UK that will help us better understand COVID-19 and how it has spread. An antibody test result can only tell you whether or not you have had the virus in the past and developed antibodies.

    Regardless of the result of an antibody test, individuals must continue to comply with government guidelines, including wearing PPE and social distancing. This is because there is still research being conducted into whether someone who has had the virus can catch it again.

    To take the test PAs can register on this online portal: https://www.gov.uk/register-coronavirus-antibody-test

    These tests are now available to do from home.

  • We have stocks of disposable gloves, face masks, goggles and aprons at the DAAC – please come to the back door and ring the Ruils bell between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday.  (Note this is for PAs who you employ and Self-Employed PAs only, agencies should be providing their own equipment)

  • For information about sick pay, who is eligible and how to claim please see details in our fact sheet here. If your regular PA or carer goes sick or is told to self-isolate, please contact the DP team immediately and we will do our best to find cover.

  • If you have to isolate and do not want your PA to visit, you can find information on laying off staff and how to retain them during this period on our Furlough factsheet here. This also has information for those of you who engage self-employed PAs
  • Free Winter Flu Vaccinations for PAs:

    The Department of Health and Social Care has published the winter flu vaccination guidance. This includes the guidance itself, a leaflet and letter of entitlement for PAs. This is available to all PAs:

    Personal care assistants: guidance for free flu vaccination 

    Guidance for PAs – Free flu vaccination

If you have any questions, then please call us on 020 8831 6088 or contact the council’s Community Hub Helpline on 0208 871 6555 or email covid19support@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk

Useful links & contacts:

Government Guidance for people using DPs: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-people-receiving-direct-payments 

Health and Wellbeing: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing

Skills for Care: https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Employing-your-own-care-and-support/Information-for-individual-employers/Information-for-individual-employers.aspx

Please follow the guidance and stay safe!