Are personal assistants key workers?

We now have confirmation that personal assistants are included in the definition of a health and social care key worker. This means they should be able to benefit from all temporary schemes open to key workers including continuing access to schools where relevant.

If being challenged they might need to carry a copy of their contract of employment and Job description, and or a letter from the employer. If you would like to see an example letter please call us. Government guidance says that front line workers do not need to carry an ID badge.

COVID-19 social care staff wellbeing

During this period of increased pressure and anxiety, it is essential that employers send a clear message that staff wellbeing matters. Research suggests that good organisational leadership and a supportive work culture can have a positive impact on the psychological wellbeing of these staff before, during and after the crisis.

The Local Government Authority and NHS England and Improvement have produced a comprehensive pack of wellbeing information and resources to help employers support the wellbeing of staff who may be working under exceptional pressure to do their jobs while at the same time dealing with their own personal situations and emotions.

Self-isolation exemption in exceptional circumstances

In exceptional circumstances, in which the safety of individuals needing care is compromised, fully vaccinated personal assistants - who have been identified as being in close contact with a positive case - may be allowed to leave self-isolation in order to attend work. This includes travelling to and from their place of work or to provide support to people in their own homes. This should only be considered in exceptional circumstances where there is a risk to health or safety, or the safety of providing continuing clinical or care services resulting from staff absence.

If you feel you meet the criteria for these exceptional circumstances, please contact us at [email protected] immediately.

The staff member will be required to:

  • be double vaccinated with UK recognised vaccine (Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech Janssen) with more than 14 days since final dose.
  • have a negative PCR result on application for this exemption and before returning to work.
  • isolate immediately if they become symptomatic or lateral flow test positive and arrange a PCR test.
  • have sufficient lateral flow test stocks to undertake lateral flow tests on each day until the end of the isolation period and report results to NHS Test and Trace via the web portal and to their manager.
  • immediately resume self-isolation once staff levels no longer impact on resident safety.
  • have completed infection protection control training.
  • report any infection protection control (including with PPE) breach whilst working to their employer.
  • not work with identified clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.
  • have documented verbal discussions and agreements with their employer about the exemption. This will need to be documented. This will have to confirm they understand they need to continue self isolation requirements outside of work, and that this exemption only applies to work.
  • have safe travel arrangements (no car sharing or use of public transports - all settings) in place, and will not work with another personal assistant.
  • agrees to record which days the personal assistant worked during their exemption period.

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