Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • If you can't get alternative support because your personal assistant (PA) is absent, contact Gateway to Care as soon as possible.
  • If direct payment changes are expected to last for more than two weeks, contact Gateway to Care to seek further advice.
  • Always refer to your PA's contract of employment or seek support and guidance from your payroll company before agreeing to or making any changes to their terms and working conditions. If you do not use a payroll company and need employment advice you may need to seek specific legal guidance.
  • Ensure time sheets are correctly completed clearly identifying all periods of absence or sickness with reasons for any absence recorded.
  • Where possible stay in regular contact with your PA even if they are not currently supporting you.
  • To make sure sufficient funds are available to pay for any alternative or additional support, please contact Gateway to Care to agree any changes in advance.
  • Make sure your PA has access to the appropriate level of personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them and you safe while they are working.
  • Stay in contact with your day care provider, they are regularly reviewing the situation and may be able to offer alternative support if they are closed.

Be flexible, these are very unusual times and a one size fits all approach is not always possible. If in doubt about your particular circumstances, please contact Gateway to Care.

More information

Personal assistants

If you don't want to continue receiving support from your PA because you are self-isolating

It is important that your care needs continue to be met. If you do decide to make any changes to your support plan for more than a 2 week period, please contact Gateway to Care to discuss your situation with one of our team.

The current situation is likely to remain unchanged for some time so before you decide to put your support on hold think how you could use your personal assistant in different ways.

  • There may be some tasks that can continue to do, that involve less direct contact and can be carried out whilst observing social distancing.
  • Discuss options about how your support can be delivered differently with your PA.
  • Regularly review any changes agreed with your PA. Also review them as and when the COVID-19 situation changes.
  • Be flexible and stay in touch with your PA, so they are aware of any changes that may affect the support they provide.
  • Sontact Gateway to Care to tell us of any changes that may affect your direct payment.

To retain your PA services we advise:

  • You should continue to pay your PA in full during any periods where you have decided to put their services on hold.
  • Ensure time sheets are correctly completed clearly identifying all periods of absence or sickness with reasons for any absence recorded, even if the PA is being paid in full.
If your PA can't provide support because they are self-isolating
Follow the government's guidance to check if you have symptoms

Check your symptoms

It is likely that you will have to make alternative arrangements at very short notice. Your PA will be expected to self-isolate until they are fit to return to work. This is likely to be around 14 days.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

During this time they may be entitled to SSP.

  • If you are using a payroll company any SSP payments can be paid by them. They will support you with this.
  • SSP can be claimed from day one of at least a four day sickness. It is likely you will be able to reclaim this money,. Please discuss this with your payroll company.

More information: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide

Isolation Notes

Your PA may not be able to get a fit note in the usual way. If this is the case they can apply for an Isolation Note.

More information: Get an isolation note

Universal Credit

In some cases your PA's earnings may fall below the amount required to claim SSP, in which case they may be entitled to Universal Credit.

More information: Employment and benefits support

Alternative support

Your direct payment can be used to source alternative, temporary or additional support.

  • Contact your payroll company if you have any concerns about sourcing alternative support.
  • Alternatively a family member or friend may be able to offer some short term support.
  • If your support needs are more complex or if the arrangement is expected to be for longer, contact Gateway to Care as soon as possible.
If your personal assistant can't provide support because they are clinically extremely vulnerable or in a high risk group

This is likely to be a long term arrangement and you will need to make a decision whether you need to source alternative support.

They will have received a letter saying they are clinically extremely vulnerable and the reasons why.

They have been advised to self-isolate or shield themselves so will not be able to work.

More information: COVID-19 guidance for vulnerable people

  • Family and friends may be able to help in the short term but this may not be possible for longer periods.
  • Contact Gateway to Care as soon as possible, where one of our team will be able to advice on the next steps.
  • We advise you to review this situation at least every 12 weeks, or sooner if the situation changes.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

During this time they may be entitled to SSP.

  • If you are using a payroll company any SSP payments can be paid by them. They will support you with this.
  • SSP can be claimed from day one of at least a four day sickness. It is likely you will be able to reclaim this money,. Please discuss this with your payroll company.

More information: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide

If your PA can't provide support because they are shielding someone in their own household

If your PA is not ill nor required to self-isolate, they should still come to work.

  • If they choose not to, you do not need to pay their wages.
  • They cannot claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as they have chosen not to work.
  • You may be able to negotiate other ways they can be absent from work, like using annual leave or taking unpaid leave.
  • If they are shielding someone else this is likely to be a long term arrangement that will not be resolved in a few weeks.

Alternative support

Depending on what you agree with your PA, you may have to source alternative support in the meantime.

  • Contact your payroll company if you have any concerns about sourcing alternative support.
  • Alternatively a family member or friend may be able to offer some short term support.
  • If your support needs are more complex or if the arrangement is expected to be for longer, contact Gateway to Care as soon as possible.
If your personal assistant can't provide support because they can't get childcare

If they are not ill or required to self-isolate, they should still come to work.

PA's are classed as key workers (someone who is employed to deliver an essential service and must be supported to continue to work). This means if they are a single parent or the other parent is also a key worker, they can send their child to school or other childcare provision.

  • If they choose not to work, you do not need to pay their wages.
  • They cannot claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as they have chosen not to work.
  • Work with your PA to find the best possible solution for them to continue working and supporting you. Your payroll company can support you with this.
  • You may be able to negotiate other ways they can be absent from work, like using annual leave, taking unpaid leave or special leave for dependants.
  • You may want to negotiate different working times and patterns.

Alternative support

Depending on what you agree with your PA, you may have to source alternative support in the meantime.

  • Contact your payroll company if you have any concerns about sourcing alternative support.
  • Alternatively a family member or friend may be able to offer some short term support.
  • If your support needs are more complex or if the arrangement is expected to be for longer, contact Gateway to Care as soon as possible.
If your personal assistant can't provide support because they are worried about their and their household's health

If they are not ill or required to self-isolate, they should still come to work.

  • If they choose not to work, you do not need to pay their wages.
  • They cannot claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as they have chosen not to work.
  • You may be able to negotiate other ways they can be absent from work, like using annual leave or taking unpaid leave.

Alternative support

If your PA is still unwilling to return to work during the pandemic, you may have to source alternative support.

  • Contact your payroll company if you have any concerns about sourcing alternative support.
  • Alternatively a family member or friend may be able to offer some short term support.
  • If your support needs are more complex or if the arrangement is expected to be for longer, contact Gateway to Care as soon as possible.
If your usual arrangements for PPE have been affected by COVID-19

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that they protect the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.

If you employ care staff directly through your direct payment it is important to ensure that all of them are adequately equipped to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Some PA's have signed up with the council for additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. This support includes access to PPE, where their or your normal supplies have been disrupted.
  • If your PA is unable to get supplies of PPE or is experiencing longer than usual delays they can access an emergency supply from the council.
  • If your PA has not already registered for COVID-19 support please encourage them to.

The council's contact for the supply of PPE to PA's is:

Care agencies

If you received your support from a home care agency

You do not need to make any changes to your support plan or direct payment.

  • The agency will have contingency plans in place to cover COVID-19. In most cases you should see very little disruption to your usual service.
  • If you experience any disruption please discuss this with the agency directly.

Day care services

If you are paying for a day service you are not receiving

You should discuss your contractual arrangements and retention of service with your day service provider.

  • If you have cancelled your contract or the day service has closed, we do not expect you to contribute towards a service you are not receiving.
  • If the direct payment funded day service is offering an alternative support service, we do expect you to continue to pay a contribution.
If you have cancelled your contracted place because you are shielding or clinically vulnerable

You should speak to the provider of the service.

  • You need to let the council know if you have cancelled your contract and no longer require the direct payment funding because you are shielding.
  • Your care package may need to be reviewed and the direct payment funding suspended until you require the funding to start again.

Contact Gateway to Care to discuss your situation with one of our team who will be able to advise you further.

If you need your direct payment day service funding to pay for additional care and support while you stay at home

Contact Gateway to Care or your allocated social worker to discuss your situation.

Contact Gateway to care

Gateway to care is the contact for anyone that would like further information or advice on adult social care and support services available in Kirklees.

  • Contact Gateway to care
  • Phone 01484 414933
  • Opening times
  • Monday to Friday: 8am - 5pm
  • After 5pm - If your call is Urgent you can still telephone 01484 414933 as all calls are diverted to our Emergency Duty Team
  • Email
  • Address Customer Service Centre, Civic Centre 3, Market Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2YZ
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