UPDATE: Funding for COVID absence cover and Holidays and self-isolation requirements

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dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

We are sending you an additional bulletin this afternoon to update you on the implications of staff travelling abroad and having to self-isolate upon their return, along with further details on the reintroduction of the workforce fund to support schools with the costs of staff absences.

Please set aside some time to give both of these pieces a read.

Best wishes,

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Holidays and self-isolation requirements

You will be aware that guidance relating to travel is changing on a regular basis and therefore you should make your employees aware of the implications of any planned travel before they decide whether or not to travel abroad. 

Where an employee has travel planned you should discuss this with them in the first instance, for awareness and to discuss the options outlined below, should the circumstances and guidance change, especially in relation to self-isolation.

Ultimately it is a personal decision if an employee chooses to go to a country where self-isolation will be required, and they will need to take into account any potential requirements for self-isolation on their return.

For those who are required to self-isolate on return you should discuss with them the following options:

  • take additional paid annual leave (from their usual leave allowance)
  • take unpaid annual leave
  • make up the 14 days’ leave over an agreed period of time
  • undertake redeployment to alternative duties, which can be carried out at home, but this will be subject to service requirements and cannot be guaranteed.
  • Work from home if possible

COVID-19 Workforce Fund – Staff Absences

The government have re-introduced the COVID-19 workforce fund to provide financial support to schools/PRUS with the greatest staffing and funding challenges. 

The fund helps eligible schools/PRUs cover the cost of workforce absences experienced from 22 November 2021 until the end of the term. 

As before, there are strict criteria for accessing the fund. Before making a claim schools should explore all other options available to manage absence but if these are exhausted schools can claim cover for teaching and support staff absences such as employing agency or supply staff and increasing hours of part-time staff. 

Certain costs not covered by the fund include training or other incidental staff-related costs such as, increasing pro-rata pay (unless there is a commensurate increase in responsibilities associated with the work), capital costs to support staff delivering education remotely and costs which enable schools to maintain their reserves above the 4% of annual limit set out in the criteria. 

Further details of the grant can be accessed here:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) workforce fund to support schools with costs of staff absences from 22 November to 31 December 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Schools will need to make the payments from their existing budgets and will able to make claims for costs eligible for reimbursement through the fund in Spring 2022 when further details will be published.