Coronavirus – lots of useful links for practitioners, organisations and individuals
We’ll be adding to and updating this post as new information and new resources become available so please do check back regularly. If there is something you want to know that we haven’t covered please let us know and we’ll update with relevant resources. Please let us know if you’ve found a good resource we can add too and PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR NETWORKS – together we are stronger!
We also have a guide to free online CPD that may be useful and one on return to work during and post Covid-19 and the lockdown.
Key government information
  • 29/5 update on the extensions to the self employment and job retention schemes are here.
  • The latest information from the government about the virus is here
  • NHS responses to common questions about the virus are here
  • The Government’s advice for employers and businesses is here 
  • Public Health England resources are here, Health Protection Scotland here, Public Health Wales here, Public Health Northern Ireland here.
  • Face to face health assessments for benefits suspended, details here
  • SignHealth has translated some information from Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care into BSL here
  • Register yourself or another vulnerable person here
  • Register to volunteer for the NHS here
  • Support for the self-employed is here
  • Supporting disabled people through the coronavirus outbreak is here
  • Business support is here

A brief summary of financial support for businesses and individuals, our thanks to Johnny Timpson for preparing this for a VRA webinar – it was correct at 5 May but extensions to some schemes have since been announced.

Mental health and wellbeing

  • Coronavirus and your wellbeing from Mind here
  • Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak from the mental health foundation here
  • Managing your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak from Rethink here
  • What to do if you’re anxious about coronavirus from Young Minds here
  • Coronavirus and self-isolation: how to look after your mental health and wellbeing from BACP here
  • Coronavirus and how to protect your mental health from the BBC here
  • Wellbeing for healthcare workers from Dr Alys Cole-King and Dr Linda Dykes is here
  • Talking to children about coronavirus from the BPS is here
  • Managing an anxiety disorder in the midst of coronavirus – a blog from the Centre for Mental Health here
  • Coronavirus anxiety: advice for chronic illness patients from health psychologists here
  • Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing of coronavirus from the government is here and easy read guidance to looking after your feelings and body is here
  • A recorded webinar on the psychological wellbeing of healthcare staff as a result of the coronavirus pandemic from the BPS is here NB first 3.56 minutes are silent!
  • Free Guide To Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty from Psychology Tools is here.
  • ‘Face Covid’ How to respond effectively to the Corona crisis by Dr Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap is here and there is a youtube clip about the guide here.

Disability and health-related information

  • Coronavirus anxiety: advice for chronic illness patients from health psychologists here
  • Coronavirus and disability, what you need to know from the Business Disability Forum here and their guide to Covid-19 and disabled employees here
  • Wheelchair and assistive technology users precautions for Covid-19 from Peter Axelson here
  • Informing risk assessment of those more vulnerable to infection by Covid19 from SOM and Council for Work and Health slides here and webinar recording here
  • Disability coronavirus and international human rights from Oliver Lewis Doughty Street Chambers here
  • Online resources for people living with pain from the Pysiotherapy Pain Association are here
  • Managing your bone, joint or muscle pain from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy here
  • Guidance for carers from CarersUK is here

Condition-specific information

  • Coronavirus and cancer from Macmillan here
  • Coronavirus for people with heart and circulatory disease from the British Heart Foundation here
  • Advice for people living with diabetes from Diabetes UK here
  • Health advice for people with asthma from Asthma UK here
  • UK CF medical associations statement from Cystic Fibrosis Trust here
  • Handwashing techniques for people with eczema here
  • Advice on coronavirus for people impacted by primary immunodeficiencies from PID UK here
  • Easy Read guidance on coronavirus for people with learning difficulties from Mencap here
  • Coping with isolation if you have a brain injury from Bolt Burden and Kemp here
  • Individual health action plan for people with autism from Jessica  Doyle here
  • Assessing your risk for rheumatology patients from Versus Arthritis here
  • Covid 19, helping brain injury survivors understand the crisis by Krysalis Neuro Occupational Therapy here
  • Coronavirus and multiple sclerosis what MS patients need to know by Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis here and lots of wider resources some of which will also benefit those of us without MS here
  • Covid 19 Information for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis from the Psoriasis Association is here
  • Novel coronavirus information for our community from the Scleroderma and Raynauds Association is here
  • Guidance for people with learning disabilities including easy read from Mencap is here
  • Information and advice for people with spinal injury is here

Resources for organisations and the self-employed – business, HR, tax etc

  • ACAS guidance for employers and employees is here
  • Pinsent Mason legal Q&A dealing with HR matters is here
  • Organisational resilience and pandemic planning from Zurich here
  • Risk assessment and coronavirus from Crams is here
  • HMRC tax helpline for affected businesses here 
  • Employer response guide from CIPD is here and example plans, policies, letters to employees and a checklist are here
  • Guide to disability leave from NHS Employers is here
  • Coronavirus and disability, what you need to know covering furlough, home working and sickness absence from the Business Disability Forum here and their guide to Covid-19 and disabled employees here
  • Self-employed coronavirus scheme from Paul Lewis Money here
  • Coronavirus job retention scheme from Paul Lewis Money here
  • Advice for IPS services but potentially useful for other VR services from IPS Grow here
  • Can employers force their staff to go to work during lockdown? from People Management here
  • Recording of webinar considering employer obligations and good practice around staff health, safety and well-being in the context of COVID-19 from CIPD with VRA Friend Stephen Bevan here

See also the information from DWP below.

Resources for individuals

  • Benefits calculator (updated for recent changes) and other information about financial support (may be useful to check SSP eligibility) from Turn2Us is here
  • Some of the everyday questions people have been asking about travel and other personal concerns are covered here
  • Mutual Aid Community Facebook Groups for supporting people self-isolating are here
  • Coronavirus and your money from the Money Advice Service is here
  • Site for people to volunteer and be connected with those offering assistance – Volunteers for Pandemic 2020 is here

Home and remote working resources

  • Some really helpful articles on home and remote working from OT and VRA Trustee Sue Godby are here
  • Free home working policy from Daniel Barnett is here
  • CIPD preparing for homeworking or flexible working questionnaire is here
  • HSE homeworkers guidance for employers on health and safety is here
  • ACAS guidance on homeworking is here
  • Remote work survival kit crowdsourced in response to coronavirus and packed full of useful information and links is here
  • Coronavirus: how to work from home the right way from the BBC is here
  • Working during COVID-19: How to be good at video meetings is here

  • Basics of online meetings by Full Circle Consulting is here

  • A free half-hour course on best practises for working remotely from Udemy is here

  • How to embrace remote work including suggested software tools from Trello is here
  • Local Trust digital toolkit is here
  • Work from home ergonomically and safely, a podcast from the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors is here
  • Supporting disabled employees to work from home from the Business Disability Forum is here
  • Check which expenses are taxable if your employee works from home due to Coronavirus from HMRC is here

We’ve added details of a number of free and inexpensive options for remote meetings at the end of this page

Information from DWP for employers, benefit claimants and businesses

Following announcements in the Budget, the government is making temporary arrangements for those impacted by coronavirus.

Information about coronavirus and claiming benefits is available on Understanding Universal Credit.

For people already claiming support

Special arrangements will be in place for people in receipt of benefits who cannot attend reassessments or jobcentre appointments because they are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus.

  • Claimants who cannot attend a reassessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit will continue to receive their payments while their assessment is rearranged.
  • People who need to claim ESA or Universal Credit because of coronavirus will not be required to produce a Fit Note.
  • When claimants tell us in good time that they are staying at home or that they have been diagnosed with coronavirus, they will not be sanctioned. We will review their conditionality requirements in their claimant commitment, to ensure they are reasonable.
  • Claimants who are staying at home as a result of coronavirus will have their mandatory work search and work availability requirements removed to account for a period of sickness.
For people who need to make a new claim for financial support

We understand people who are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus may need financial support.

  • Those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive an advance without physically attending a jobcentre.
  • The seven waiting days for Employment and Support Allowance for new claimants suffering from coronavirus or required to stay at home will not apply, so it will be payable from day one.
Employees and self-employed people

To make sure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread, changes have been made to Statutory Sick Pay and how Universal Credit supports self-employed claimants.

  • People who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness. We intend this measure to apply retrospectively from 13 March.
  • Statutory Sick Pay will be payable to people who are staying at home on Government advice, not just those who are infected, this measure will apply from 13 March. Employers are urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for.
  • If employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from NHS 111 Online instead of having to get a Fit Note from their doctor. This is currently under development and will be made available soon.
  • Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected.
Businesses

The Government wants to ensure businesses are supported to deal with the temporary economic impacts of an outbreak of coronavirus.

Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for employees unable to work because of coronavirus. This refund will be for up to two weeks per employee.

For more information visit the following websites:

 

Remote meeting platforms – there are more though!

  • Using Zoom (as we do at the VRA) – unlimited 1-1 video meeting calls, 40 mins limit on hosting group video meetings (3 to 100 people) with the Basic/Free package. To host a longer meeting, you have to pay for a Pro subscription. Anyone with an invite can join a Zoom call (without having to pay or upgrade their account – only the “host” needs to have a premium account) – see: https://zoom.us/pricing – at the moment a Pro account is £11.99/mo
  • Using Google Hangouts – Video calls can include up to 10 people for free (on Gmail, G Suite Basic packages) or 25 people (using Business, Education packages). Everyone who wants to join a group conversation must use Hangouts / have a Google account. – at the moment a Gmail account is £0/mo & G Suite Basic is £4.14/mo
  • Using Google Hangouts Meet – “Meet” is the premium version of Google Hangouts, available to you if you pay for a G Suite Basic package + above. This allows you to set up unlimited video conference calls for up to 100 participants. Anyone with an invite can join a Google Hangouts Meet call (without having to pay or upgrade their account – only the “host” needs to have a premium account) – https://gsuite.google.com/pricing.html – at the moment G Suite Basic is £4.14/mo
  • Using WhatsApp – unlimited 1-1 video meeting calls, and group video calls for up to 4 people with Free package. Only available via WhatsApp mobile app (not desktop/web version) – at the moment a WhatsApp account is £0/mo
  • Using Skype – unlimited video meeting calls for up to 50 people with Free package. Everyone who wants to join a group conversation must use Skype / have a Skype account – at the moment a Skype account is £0/mo
  • Using Discord – All-in-one voice and text chat, with video calls for up to 10 people for free. Everyone who wants to join a group conversation must use Discord / have a Discord account. – at the moment a Discord account is £0/mo – https://discordapp.com
  • Using Whereby – unlimited video meeting calls for up to 4 people via the Free account. Pro versions allow up to 12 people & Business version is unlimited – at the moment a Free Whereby account is £0/mo & Pro is $9.99 /mo https://whereby.com/information/pricing/