The official advice from the first minister is that “you should only travel to essential work if that cannot be done at home.”
Guidance issued to councils set out a broad definition of “key workers” in three main categories covering professions such as health and care workers; fire, police, prisons, social workers; those supporting our critical national infrastructure; all workers without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland’s ability to perform essential tasks.
The Council’s Public Transport Unit, in partnership with existing taxi and bus contract operators, have responded to community needs and are working together to ensure currently more than 70 people (a number which continues to grow) can get to their workplaces, many of which are in rural areas.
For a full breakdown of this please see PKC website’s FAQs on Coronavirus And Schools >>>
Key Workers Support Services
All Perth & Kinross Council schools and nurseries were closed to staff, children and young people from Monday 23 March 2020 until further notice. During this time childcare provision has been made for key workers.
People in or retasked to the following roles can submit applications for places at Children’s Activity Centres.
- NHS staff
- Health and Social Care staff
- GPs and associated staff
- Perth & Kinross Council and partner organisations staff providing Children’s Activity Centre function
- Energy providers – eligible staff will have been given a letter identifying them as key workers
- Social work staff
- Police Scotland staff
- Scottish Fire and Rescue staff
- Scottish Ambulance Service staff
- Scottish Prison Service staff
- Burial and cremations staff
- Military staff involved in COVID-19 work
- Pharmacy staff
- Refuse collection staff
- Vector Aerospace employees supporting national infrastructure work
- RASAC Perth & Kinross staff
Perth and Kinross Council has also updated its criteria for childcare provision for key workers to include anyone whose partners work in food production, agriculture, postal and delivery services or in the agriculture/food haulage sectors. These people can now apply for places if they cannot care for their children at home.
In addition to partner providers and childminders, PKC has opened five Children’s Activity Centres to look after the children of Category 1 key workers who have no other means of childcare. The five Children’s Activity Centres are currently located at North Inch Campus, Kinross Primary School, Community School of Auchterarder, Newhill Campus, Blairgowrie and Invergowrie Primary School.
The centres will operate seven days a week where there is demand for weekend support and will be open over the Easter break. A number of Partner Provider Nurseries and registered childminders will also be providing spaces for children over the coming weeks.
How to Apply
Applications can be made by completing the online application form.
Parents and carers who completed the key worker survey and think they meet the criteria for place at one of the Children’s Activity Centres should contact their line manager for confirmation of their key worker status.
National guidance recommends that employers should work with unions and staff to identify those workers who are vital to the Coronavirus response and for the delivery of essential and safe services; consider introducing new shift patterns, home working, recruiting more staff or dropping non-essential tasks to reduce demand for places at Children’s Activity Centres.
Temporary changes to bus services in the East of Scotland were introduced by Stagecoach on Monday 23 March following the government advice around social contact and non-essential travel to help combat the coronavirus.
A reduced timetable is now operating across the region until further notice. The timetables have been carefully created to ensure that critical routes are maintained wherever possible in order to assist key workers with travel.
Since the impact of the coronavirus Stagecoach has implemented increased measures to help ensure the safety of their own frontline staff and the important key workers travelling at this time.
In addition to well-established and rigorous cleaning regimes, there has been more frequent cleaning of main customer touch-points on buses, such as hand poles and grab rails.
Stagecoach is now only using vehicles with protective screens at the cab with seats immediately behind the driver now out of use. This does not include priority seating for wheelchair users and buggies which is available as normal.
They are encouraging all customers still travelling to use contactless payment instead of cash and
As with all other essential services in place at present, Stagecoach is urging customers only to travel if absolutely necessary.
As well as timetable changes, travel shop opening hours are also being amended and customer services phone lines will be closed.
Separately, the bus and coach industry is also engaging with government to help ensure the long-term future of bus services, which are critical to the economy and local communities, is protected.
Contact Stagecoach: email@example.com or call Traveline Scotland on 0871 200 2233. You can also stay up to date on Twitter @StagecoachEScot.
For timetable updates see the Stagecoach website >>>>
Ensuring your employees are well informed and feel protected will be a significant concern for all responsible employers at this time.
We have collated a list of useful links in order to help you support your team; please do feel free to forward this bulletin or to copy and paste the information below into your own employee communication channels.
Working From Home: With the exception of key workers – see above – everyone should now be working from home wherever possible. Tips and advice on staying mentally well while isolated from other team members can be found on mentalhealth.org.uk.
Sick Pay: Employees are entitled to £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they are too ill to work. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine. Visit the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) page for more information.
Furloughed workers: If you, as an employer, intend to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you will need to furlough your workers. This would mean that they are kept on your payroll rather than being laid off. To qualify for this scheme workers cannot undertake work for you while they are furloughed.
This allows you to pay a minimum of 80% of workers’ wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
Employers can choose to fund the differences between this payment and the usual salary, but you do not have to.
Claiming Benefits: If a worker’s salary is reduced as a result of these changes, they may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit and rent costs.
Additional information and links can be found on the gov.uk website >>>