Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information – Colleague FAQs

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Timetabled teaching has now ended. Colleagues have worked to ensure that remote working can happen effectively from Monday 23 March 2020.

 

Is Rye Hill House scheduled to close?

Yes, Rye Hill House was closed on Tuesday the 24th March 2020 and will not reopen to staff until further notice. Limited access will be provided where essential. Further details around this closure and how access can be arranged are available within the  .

For all IT related issues colleagues should contact servicedesk@ncgrp.co.uk in the first instance.

 

**NEW** I still need to travel as I am in a vital role. Can I get a support letter to explain my reason for travel?

Travel letters for colleagues who need to continue travel for vital roles can be obtained by contacting the colleagues below:

Carlisle College – gglendinning@carlisle.ac.uk, ssalkeld@carlisle.ac.uk

Kidderminster College – psingh@kidderminster.ac.uk

Newcastle College – adminprincipalship@ncl-coll.ac.uk

Newcastle Sixth Form College – Magda.Szewczyk@newcastlesfc.ac.uk

Lewisham College – Katherine.Moozyckine@lewisham.ac.uk

Professional Services – planning@ncgrp.co.uk

West Lancashire College – denise.williamson@westlancs.ac.uk

 

**NEW** I have queries regarding payroll or my pension. Who can I contact?

The payroll team are now working remotely, please send any questions about your pay or pensions to payroll@ncgrp.co.uk. The team are experiencing a high volume of enquiries so your patience would be appreciated.

You can find information regarding managing your pension using the links below:

Teachers Pensions Scheme

Local Government Pension Scheme (administered by the London Pension Fund Authority)

Local Government Pension Scheme (administered by the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund)

To check you are paying the right amount of tax, your national insurance record, or state pension forecast you can use the UK Government personal tax account.

You can find impartial advice regarding financial support and actions you can take during the Coronavirus interruption here.

 

**NEW** I pay for childcare vouchers and do not require them as I am working from home, is there anything I can do?

If you are part of the Childcare Voucher scheme, and do not require vouchers during this period of home-working, please record this with BusyBees by Monday 6 April 2020 to ensure any vouchers are suspended, and deductions from payroll in April will be adjusted accordingly. Assessments are also due to be completed by the same date, so please try and complete both by this Friday, 3 April 2020.

 

I identify myself as a Key Worker. Who should I contact to have this formalised?

For formal classification as a Key Worker, colleagues should contact planning@ncgrp.co.uk.

 

If candidates have gone through a recruitment process and have a start date agreed which is in the future (and have potentially now left their previous employment), will NCG honour these start dates and pay the new colleagues from their agreed start date?

Yes. A standard communication will be issued to all new individuals (copied to their appointing officer) due to start working for NCG (or one of its member colleges) within the next 8 weeks. This communication will confirm that the start date will be honoured and that colleagues will be paid in line with their contract during any period of absence related to the Coronavirus.

Where a new starter is unable to attend their normal place of work due to self-isolation or building closure, they should remain in contact with their line manager to discuss with them what work / training / development they can undertake during this time.

 

Will current recruitment continue?

All non-urgent recruitment should be suspended with immediate effect. Where recruitment needs to progress, this should be discussed with your Principal and HR business partner (hr.enquiries@ncgrp.co.uk).

 

Are exams affected by this period of disruption?

On Wednesday 18 March 2020 the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stated:

“I can confirm we will not go ahead with assessments or exams and that we will not be publishing performance tables for this academic year. We will work with the sector and [the exams watchdog] Ofqual to ensure children get the qualifications that they need.”

As a result, NCG (and its member colleges) are awaiting further guidance to be published. This will be communicated through this site as and when received.

 

**UPDATED** Are my planned/booked holidays and annual leave allowance affected?

Colleagues are reminded that throughout this period of disruption it is expected that you will continue to work your normal contracted hours. As a result, and regardless of your place of work (for example, at home as a result of a building closure) if you are not available for work during your normal contracted hours you will be required to take annual leave.

We are aware that a number of colleagues have annual leave booked over the next few weeks that they may be considering cancelling. Whilst current guidance permits the cancellation of leave, colleagues are reminded that all leave must be taken prior to the year-end and should be spread across the academic year to ensure appropriate staff coverage is maintained at all times.

Additionally, colleagues should be aware that in learner-facing roles, planned holidays cannot take place during term time and no more than 5-days will be permitted to be carried forward into 2020/21 for any role.

 

**NEW** The government has announced new temporary law that allows people to carry forward up to 4 weeks for a 2-year period, how does this affect me?

This law is designed to protect people who are unable to take their holiday because of the coronavirus and as a result of NCG still allowing staff to take leave it is unlikely to apply to most colleagues (see further FAQs re holiday entitlement). If you believe your employment requirement will not allow leave to be taken in line with normal practice please email planning@ncgrp.co.uk.

 

I have recently joined NCG. Is my probationary period affected?

The probationary period for colleagues who have recently joined NCG will be suspended during this period of disruption.

 

What if I need HR support during this period of disruption?

HR Business Partners can be contacted by initially emailing HR.enquiries@ncgrp.co.uk.

 

What if I am still in my probationary period and/or don’t have the contractual entitlement for occupational sick pay?

If your absence is due to the Coronavirus and you either need to self-isolate or are diagnosed with the Coronavirus, you will receive full sick pay.

 

I have an hourly paid contract, what will I be paid if I’m sick / need to self-isolate or the college closes?

Colleagues who have an hourly paid contract and are unable to attend work as a result of the Coronavirus will be paid in line with the hours they were due to deliver.

 

I am currently employed through an agency. If I’m unable to attend work due to Coronavirus will I get paid?

Yes, if you are unable to deliver your contracted hours due to the Coronavirus (as a result of sickness or site closure), you will continue to be paid in line with your agency’s contract of employment.

Please note however, that this position will be continually kept under review. Any change to our published position will be communicated via these FAQs.

 

In the event of a college closure, and with most colleagues working from home, will I still be required to record anything on iTrent?

You would not need to record anything on iTrent if it is only your place of work that has changed.

 

**UPDATED** Now that the colleges and Rye Hill House have closed, what, if anything needs to be recorded on iTrent?

There is no longer a need to record on iTrent that you are working from home. We can confirm, however, that colleagues are required to continue to record the following absences using the correct code:

Any non-coronavirus sickness related which should be recorded as normal.

[Coronavirus – Self Isolation] If a colleague is self-isolating and is unable to work from home as they are too ill.

[Coronavirus – Dependent] If you are required to look after a dependent and are unable to carry out any work from home

[Coronavirus – Confirmed Diagnosis] If it has been confirmed that a colleague has the coronavirus iTrent should be updated to reflect this

[Coronavirus – Self Isolation (Shielding)] This is to record if any colleagues that have been issued a letter from the government saying they need to shield for 12 weeks.

 

Who do I contact if I have a safeguarding issue?

You can find contact information for Safeguarding leads in each college  here.

 

Will I be paid on time this month?

Yes. Colleagues will be paid as planned on Tuesday 31 March.

We advise and encourage colleagues to have all claims completed and authorised at the earliest opportunity.

Please note – Moving forwards, the Payroll team will only be contactable by email at payroll@ncgrp.co.uk.

 

I am a colleague employed by NCG on an hourly paid contract. Will I still be paid?

Colleagues employed directly by NCG on hourly paid contracts will continue to be paid for planned hours or those hours it is expected that they would normally work.  Colleagues should claim for these hours in the normal way with all claim forms being authorised by their Line Manager.

 

Will I have to work from home if I am self-isolating?

If you are self-isolating, but are symptom-free and capable of carrying out your work, you should continue to undertake your normal duties. You should discuss and agree the specifics of this with your line manager.

 

Will I have to work from home if I am sick?

If you are sick and unable to work, you should ensure your line manager is aware that you are off sick. It is important to be clear whether you have received a formal written diagnosis / sick note. Where it has not been possible you should inform your manager as soon as possible.

Where you are unwell and unable to undertake your normal role in full you should be classified as sick.

 

Where can I access the systems I need to work from home?

We’ve collected links to the systems and resources that colleagues need at NCG here.

Read our Top Ten Tips for Working Well from Home.

 

Should I undertake business related travel?

No business travel should be undertaken at the current time. We ask that colleagues explore digital means of conducting meetings such as telephone, video conferencing or Microsoft Teams.

If this position changes, colleagues will be updated via local communications channels.

 

Will my planned college/business trip overseas go ahead?

No – NCG has taken the decision to cancel all business travel.

 

Will my planned college / business event go ahead?

Public events scheduled to take place before the end of June 2020 will be postponed where possible. Events due to take place before the end of June 2020 that cannot be rescheduled will be cancelled.

Colleagues will be informed of any extensions to this date if required.

 

I am a Trainer / Assessor. Will upcoming visits go ahead?

Visits to meet with learners in their workplaces should be suspended. Instead electronic contact should continue to be made. Colleagues should continue to maintain records of all interactions made with our learners.

 

Will I be paid when self-isolating?

If you are self-isolating and able to work from home, your pay will continue as normal.

If you are self-isolating but unable to work from home (due to the nature of your role) your pay will continue as normal.

If you are sick and unable to work, you will be paid occupational sick pay in the normal way and in line with your contractual rights.

 

Will any absence due to Coronavirus count towards the sickness absence trigger?

Any absence related to Coronavirus, whether you have been diagnosed or are self-isolating with no symptoms, will not count towards the NCG absence triggers.

 

What happens if I refuse to work from home?

An agreement may be made to allow you take annual leave or a period of unpaid leave. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, this may be considered as a period of unauthorised and unpaid leave which could become subject to disciplinary action.

 

What if I need to take time off because of school closure as a result of Coronavirus?

In the event of unexpected school closure because of Coronavirus, you would be entitled to take time off to look after your dependents with full pay. In these circumstances’ colleagues are requested to still engage in work activities as much as their caring duties will allow.

 

What if I need time off to look after others?

You are normally entitled to take a reasonable period of unpaid time off work to care for dependents in the event of unexpected events or in an emergency. However, if you are required to take leave to care for dependents affected by the Coronavirus, NCG will continue to pay you in full. In these circumstances’ colleagues are requested to still engage in work activities as much as their caring duties will allow.

 

What if I have an illness unrelated to the Coronavirus?

All absences from work that are unrelated to the Coronavirus will be treated in the normal way in line with your contract.