Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information – Return to Work FAQs

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I’m concerned about returning work what are NCG doing to make sure it is safe?

The safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and learners is at the forefront of our mind and, to this end, we can confirm that no members of staff will be asked to return to work until we have completed a full risk assessment. This process is now at an advanced stage and we will be sharing them with TU representatives shortly. The specifics of our return to work arrangements will be shared by the Principal of your college prior to any staff returning to work.

In the first instances we are only asking those who are willing to return to work to do so. We understand that there are colleagues who have concerns about returning to work due to their health, the health of those they live with, transport to work, childcare and other individual issues. As a result, we want to give you our assurances that as and when colleges are due to open, we will have open discussions with colleagues to try and resolve these concerns.

The situation with coronavirus is constantly changing and, as a result, we continue to update our plans, risk assessments etc. based on the latest guidance. We will continue to review the situation and ensure that we communicate with Union representatives and Individuals as further plans are agreed.

We are committed to going over and above what is expected to ensure we support all colleagues and if colleagues do have any concerns that they believe are not already being addressed (as part of a risk assessment), you should discuss these in the first instance with her line manager. If you still have concerns, please contact and we’ll be happy to discuss these individually with you.


I’ve received a shielding letter; how does this affect me returning to work?

If you have received a shielding letter your manager will work with you to ensure that you still work from home until your period of shielding has ended and it is safe for you to return to work. If you are unable to work from home, you will be put on sick leave following government guidance.


I’m in the vulnerable group – I have an underlying health condition / pregnant / over 70 etc; how does this affect me returning to work?

If you are in this group, ideally you should continue to work from home if it is possible.  If you are unable to work from home a risk assessment will be carried out looking at minimising any risks of returning to work in the college.  We will hopefully be able to put controls in place to support a safe return to work.


I live in the same house as someone who is shielding or classed as vulnerable; how does this affect me returning to work?

Current government guidance says anyone living with someone who is shielding doesn’t have to shield themselves. Instead, individuals are asked to minimise the time they spend together in shared spaces. If you are still concerned about this, we will look at whether you continue to work from home and complete a full risk assessment to ensure that you feel safe to return to work


I’m worried and believe it may not be safe to return to work; what should I do?

You should discuss your concerns with your line manager, who will explore your concerns and see what can be done to alleviate your concerns.  If this is not possible for you to continue to work from home and you chose not to return to work unpaid leave will be considered.


I’m unable to return to work as I have caring responsibilities; what should I do?

You should discuss this with your line manager. NCG has continued to act over and above the expectation placed on us and have continued to pay staff with caring responsibilities full pay. This will continue moving forwards over the next period of time although there will be an expectation that colleagues do work where they are able to do so around their caring responsibilities.


I’m concerned about how I will get work as I use public transport?

All other forms of transport should be considered prior to using public transport.  Are you able to walk, drive or cycle to work which will minimise contact with others?  There is a cycle to work scheme available to all NCG colleagues if you wish to purchase a bike.  If you must use public transport you should travel outside of peak times and follow government guidance regarding social distancing and the wearing of face masks. If you have any concerns please discuss with your line manager in the first instance


I have a foreign holiday booked. As the government is currently saying I need to self-isolate when I return to the UK what will happen about returning to work?

Current government guidance is that ‘you should not travel abroad unless it is essential as all countries may restrict travel without notice’. As a result, if you have a foreign holiday booked that is expected to go ahead, you should speak to your manager about this to see if you are able to work from home for the 2 weeks on your return where you would need self-isolate. If you are thinking of booking a foreign holiday you should discuss with your manager whether there will be ability to work if needed for 2 weeks prior to booking and, as always, you should seek agreement from your managers a head of booking.


I’m currently still on my probationary period, I understand that this was on hold; I now have over 6 months service is this situation going to change?

We have now been working from home for over 2 months, which is longer than first anticipated.   There has already been a review of colleagues whose probationary period were due to end up to the of April 2020.  We will now review those that were due to end up to the end of June 2020.  If a colleague has had any issues raised during their probationary period, their probationary period will remain on hold until the relevant support can be given, and the improvement plan signed off.


How will working from home and the fact that there are no exams impact my annual performance review?

Whilst some elements of the annual performance review will remain unchanged, there are some objectives that we will be unable to measure. As a result, should any of your objectives be based upon student results, these will be removed from your review as they cannot be measured in the usual way. If a colleague has had any concerns raised with them prior to working from home about their performance at work, or there had been a disciplinary process, these will be considered and may result in incremental pay progressions not being applied.