Covid-19 FAQs

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are compiling a list of our most frequently asked questions during this time.

If your question can’t be answered below please contact us on admin@varotherham.org.uk

Volunteering and volunteers

I need support, how do I request help from a Rotherham Heroes Volunteer?

A Rotherham Heroes Volunteer can help with the following:

  • Essential shopping
  • tackling loneliness and isolation by being a friendly voice on the other end of the phone
  • prescription collection – picking up your medicines from the chemist
  • dog walking – taking your dog out once a day
  • advice and signposting to support services – putting you in touch with the correct information
  • delivery of emergency food parcels (if you are eligible)

If you need support, including a food parcel click here

I am a Rotherham based group or organisation and I need volunteers

We know that many organisations in Rotherham are still delivering much needed services during the lockdown period.

If you need volunteer support, please let us know – we are still receiving enquiries from people who are looking to volunteer every day.  Contact Kerry McGrath Tel: 07716 919416 or e-mail:  Kerry.mcgrath@varotherham.org.uk

I want to volunteer

The Rotherham Heroes Volunteer Programme is a borough-wide volunteer programme, co-ordinated by the Rotherham Community Hub to help vulnerable people across Rotherham during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The Rotherham Community Hub includes Rotherham Council, Voluntary Action Rotherham and other community partners.

Find out more and how to sign up here: https://www.varotherham.org.uk/news/rotherham-heroes-volunteer-programme/

 

Food for people in crisis

I have no money for food how do I access a food parcel?

You might be able get help from a food bank. You’ll need to be referred to a food bank. 

During lockdown if you have a referral, you’re still allowed to travel to a food bank – either for yourself or someone who’s vulnerable. 

A good place for anyone to ask for a referral is your nearest Citizens Advice. If however you have an assigned social worker then you may ask them for a referral to a food bank.

How will I be assessed for a food parcel?

When you tell Citizens Advice or the party able to make a referral that you need a food bank – they’ll probably make you an appointment to discuss your situation with an adviser who will make an assessment based on your current financial situation. This will determine what support is then provided based on your individual emergency need.

How do organisations refer someone to a food bank?

Referrals are made based on the food banks in house criteria. At voluntary Action Rotherham we have a list of a number of food banks which accept a referral, this information is not available to the general public and so not listed here. To access the food for people in crisis information for referring organisations please email foodincrisis@varotherham.org.uk

How can I make a donation?

We have a fund that partners can use to buy items that they need to fill food parcels and offer other vital support to people in poverty. You can send a donation to the ‘People in Need (VAR)’ bank account, account number 20298847, sort code 60-83-01.

Or, why not email foodincrisis@varotherham.org.uk to find out if you can help in any other way such as a food collection.

Organisation funding and resources

How can I manage my resources/funds more effectively during this period?

NCVO have produced a very useful resource on their Knowhow website, that is updated regularly, and covers everything you may need to do to prepare for the potential impacts of coronavirus on your charity’s or voluntary organisation’s operations and finances.

It includes sections on Developing a contingency plan and Immediate actions to manage your finances.

Visit the website for full details

 

What alternative funding is available?

A large number of COVID19 funders have come into existence, however, the demand is huge and a growing number of funders are being overwhelmed with the volume of applications and are closing.

We will try and keep our website as up to date as possible, you can view our latest funding news here.

Other useful websites can be accessed here.

If you need any support with funding please contact Diana Faid  Tel:  07731 021237 or diana.faid@varotherham.org.uk

How is government funding being distributed?

The government is providing a £750m support package for UK charities during the coronavirus outbreak. The government is currently drawing up plans for the design and delivery of the funding, including money delivered through the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF). Further details available here.

As soon as we hear of any funding opportunities we will publish them here.

What other Governenment support is available for my organisation?

The Government have developed a financial support finder to help identify what support is currently available to  employers and the self-employed. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants. Access the support finder here.

We are in serious financial difficulty, what can we do?

The Charity Commission has published guidance on how to manage financial difficulties in your charity which have been caused by Coronavirus. The guidance can be read on the GOV.UK website.

If you need further support we are here to help, please contact us on admin@varotherham.org.uk

Marketing support

We are still providing support, how can I let people know?

We recognise that many of Rotherham’s groups and organisations may have changed the way they deliver support but they are still operating and providing a service to those that need it.

We are busy updating Rotherham Gismo with all the latest support and services, if you would like to add your group please email sarah.kelly@varotherham.org.uk

We also have a section on our website for local support if you would like your news adding and included in the weekly email bulletin email your news to sarah.kelly@varotherham.org.uk

We are fundraising, how can I raise awareness?

Fundraising is never always easy but Coronavirus is making things even more challenging for everyone. UK Fundraising have a useful article on Virtual fundraising ideas during the coronavirus lockdown here

If you are running a fundraising campaign we can help get the message out, we can include it on our website, in our weekly email bulletin and on our social media, just email the details through to sarah.kelly@varotherham.org.uk or tag us on Facebook or Twitter

We need items donating, can you help?

If you have you need items donating we can help get the message out, we can include it on our website, in our weekly email bulletin and on our social media, just email the details through to sarah.kelly@varotherham.org.uk or tag us on Facebook or Twitter

 

Employers

What is the Coronavirus job retention scheme (furloughing) and how do I access it?

UK employers with a PAYE scheme can access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those who would otherwise have been laid off or made redundant during this crisis.  Find out more and access the scheme here.

Employees

I earn a modest salary which is just above National Minimum Wage (NMW). If I am furloughed at 80% and my employer doesn’t ‘top up’ my salary does this mean I am being paid illegally?

If you are paid 80% through HMRC’s scheme this might mean that you get less than the NMW but this is allowed as long as you are not working.

If, however, you do any training for your job during furlough you must get NMW for those hours (e.g. if an apprentice continues with their apprenticeship whilst furloughed).

I was made redundant on 2nd March 2020 – can my old employer re-employ me?

An employer can decide to re-employ someone who was made redundant or stopped working for them, then put them on furlough if they were on the employer’s PAYE payroll on 28th February 2020 and included in the Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC on or before 28th February 2020.

Can my employer insist I use holiday as part of a temporary workplace closure?

Employers have the right to tell employees and workers when to take holiday if they need to.  An employer could, for example, shut for a week and tell everyone to use their holiday entitlement.  Employers generally need to give employees double the amount of notice for the period of annual leave required (e.g. 2 weeks’ notice for 1 week’s annual leave).

Can I save up and carry over my annual leave to next year?

The Government has introduced a temporary law allowing employees to carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday into their next two holiday years, but this only applies to those unable to take their leave as a result of COVID-19, e.g. if they are self-isolating or too sick to take holiday before the end of the leave year or if they’ve had to continue working and could not take paid holiday.  They may also be able to carry over holiday if they’ve been ‘furloughed’ and cannot reasonably use it in their holiday year.

In all other cases, normal carry over rules (as detailed in individual contracts) will apply.

What are the main things I need to consider as I work from home?

You should speak to your manager about how home working is practical for you and your role.  Please make sure you let the organisation know if you change any of your contact details.

You should update your email signature to let your colleagues and customers know how you prefer to be contacted during the working day.

Set up your workstation as best you can within your home and if possible complete a Homeworking Risk Assessment Form to ensure you have considered any issues.  Please speak to your manager regarding any issues you may have and any equipment you may require and remember to take regular breaks away from your screen.

Since the schools/nurseries have closed, I need to be able to home-school. Is there flexibility around when/how I can do my job?

If you are affected by the announcement regarding school/nursery closures, please speak to your line manager about how this might affect you in your role. Everybody’s circumstances will be slightly different and it’s important that we understand exactly how you are affected so a plan can be put in place.

Where you are able to combine flexible remote working with your caring responsibilities we would encourage this (e.g. spreading your normal working hours over a longer period of time – please speak to your manager if you wish to do this). Staff are able to use annual leave or take unpaid leave for caring duties as per the Annual Leave Policy – dependents leave is unpaid and we will not be able to pay staff for taking dependents leave during the coronavirus situation.

Will I be paid whilst I stay at home?

If you are well enough to work from home, then you should continue to work and will be paid your normal salary.  If you are ill, normal sick leave rules should apply.  Anyone off sick should complete a self-certification in the normal way and send it to your manager.

If you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms and have followed the guidance (i.e. you need to isolate for 7 calendar days, or 14 days if you live with someone), you will receive the sick pay that applies to you, depending on your length of service, during the time you are not well. If you have been advised to self-isolate but you are well enough to work, then you should continue to work from home. Every case will be different, so please speak to your manager about your own circumstances.

Can I work from home whilst I am self-isolating?

Yes, if you are well enough and are practically able to do so (with relevant equipment). This should be agreed in discussion with your line manager.

I booked some annual leave to take a holiday which has now been cancelled. Can I cancel the annual leave I have booked?

If you have had a holiday cancelled that was due to take place over the coming weeks, then speak to your manager about cancelling this period of annual leave.  We are mindful about large amounts of annual leave being accrued to be taken later in the year, which may be difficult to accommodate in the context of increased absence levels, so we could encourage staff to spread their annual leave over the leave year to ensure everyone can use their leave and have regular breaks from work.  Going forward, It may not be possible for managers to agree leave requests as they need to prioritise service delivery and balance requests for all colleagues, therefore, staff are encouraged to talk to their manager about their leave plans for the current leave year and plan leave in wherever possible.

Can I still book annual leave?

Please see above. It is important that we all take time out from work, especially given the pressures caused by the current situation with COVID-19 and we do not yet know when we might return to ‘normal’. Staff should continue to book annual leave in the usual way. Please do not ‘hold on’ to annual leave for when the situation changes. Organisations may require staff to take leave, and under law this is allowed, as long as sufficient notice is given (e.g. if staff are required to take one week’s leave, the organisation must give them two weeks’ notice).

I have caring responsibilities for a family member who has become unwell (e.g. parent) and as such I need to attend to their needs more frequently – what leave can I take?

There may be times when employees who are carers may not be able to undertake work, for example, if a person you care for becomes unwell and requires more of your time and care. In this instance, you could take dependents leave which is unpaid.  You are able to take annual leave, unpaid leave or alter your working pattern to enable you to undertake your caring responsibilities and should speak to your manager if this applies to you.   Under current Government guidelines, households are not encouraged to mix, therefore, you would generally be living with the person you are caring for or you should practice social distancing measures wherever possible if this is not the case.

Can I be asked to take on different duties to my normal role, for e.g. to cover the absence of others?

Organisations can require employees to undertake different duties commensurate with their normal role, if the contract of employment allows this.  Whilst organisations don’t generally anticipate asking staff to undertaken different duties, any changes to duties must be done in agreement with individual staff.  This should only be for a temporary period and organisations should be as clear as possible about the duration of any changes to the role and undertake any risk assessments as appropriate.