Information and answers to frequently asked questions for Direct Payment users

In these unprecedented and changing times, we will be keeping this page up-to-date with information and guidance to assist both Direct Payment users and Personal Assistants (PAs). We thank you for your continued co-operation and support during these challenging times. 

This information has been put together to help answer some of the most common questions we are receiving.

This is based on the information as of 23rd November 2020 and may be updated several times in the coming days and weeks. (Updated Sections: SSP Enhancement Scheme, Free Flu Vaccine, COVID-19 Testing & Employee Assistance Programme).

The information covered is:

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Enhancement Scheme

Free NHS Flu Vaccine for Personal Assistants

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Carer’s Bonus - Social Care Workforce Special Payment Scheme

Clarity of Social Distancing, Shielding and Self-Isolation

General Resources

Current Care Arrangements

Risk Assessment Tools

Good Hygiene Practices

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

COVID-19 Symptom Tracker

COVID-19 Testing

Letter to Carers from the Welsh Government

Essential/Key Worker Travel Document

Key worker Childcare Support

Social Care Worker Card

Parking Permits

Frequently Asked Questions

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Enhancement Scheme

The Welsh Government have introduced a scheme that ensures PAs will receive full pay when they take time off work when they have symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested positive for COVID-19 or because they need to self-isolate. This scheme applies to PAs who would normally only get statutory sick pay (SSP) when absent or are not eligible for SSP. Please click here for further details.

Free NHS Flu Vaccine for Personal Assistants

PAs are recommended to have annual vaccination to protect themselves and those in their care. Vaccinating also helps reduce the level of sickness absences and contributes to keeping the NHS and care services running. With PAs having regular client contact they are eligible for a free NHS FLU vaccine at a community pharmacy as shown in these video clips

Visit the CAVUHB website here to search for your nearest community pharmacy.

As confirmation of your eligibility status, you will need to take your Key Worker letter (as emailed to you previously on behalf of Cardiff Council) together with ID bearing your name and photo to the pharmacy. If you require a Key Worker letter, please complete the request form located in the Essential/Key Worker Travel Document section below.

It is important to protect ourselves and those we care for, let’s beat flu together and keep Wales safe.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

A Welsh Government-funded employee assistance programme, (EAP) will be in place from 4 December, offering a range of well-being support to those employed in the social care workforce in the private and voluntary sectors in Wales, including Personal Assistants. The EAP will be offered by CareFirst who employ professionally qualified counsellors and information specialists. They are experienced in helping people deal with all kinds of practical and emotional issues related to well-being, family matters, relationships, debt management, the workplace, and much more.

To help people better understand the services on offer, there will be a webinar on the 2 December 2020 at 3.30pm (for an hour including an opportunity to ask questions). This webinar is open to all those employed in social care in the private and voluntary sectors in Wales. The link to book a place on the webinar is

Carer’s Bonus - Social Care Workforce Special Payment Scheme

The Welsh Government have introduced a scheme which recognises and rewards those who have worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reward is a one-off payment of £500 which is subject to tax and National Insurance. Please click here for further details.

Clarity of Self-Isolation, Shielding and Social Distancing


You must self-isolate and PAs must not come to work, if they have the following most common symptoms of COVID-19. These are the recent onset of: 

  • new continuous cough - this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual,
  • high temperature (above 37.8 °C) - where you feel hot to touch on your chest or back,
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you have noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

If you are a PA, as a key worker, you should seek a COVID-19 test immediately. PAs will be tested through the key worker testing arrangements - details are available in the COVID-19 Testing section below.

Anyone with a suspected COVID-19 should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days. Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on-hold to 111.  111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you are sick and must self-isolate. You should stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started. After 10 days:

  • If there is no high temperature, you no longer need to self-isolate.
  • If there remains a high temperature, you should continue to self-isolate until your temperature returns to normal.
  • A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone but this does not require continuation of self-isolation after 10 days.

If you live with someone who has symptoms, you will need to self-isolate at home and not leave the house for 14 days.

  • The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill even if others household members starts displaying symptoms.
  • If you get symptoms within the 14 days you need to stay at home for 10 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
  • If you do not get symptoms, you can stop self-isolating and return to work after 14 days.

Click here for Self-isolation: stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus.

Social Distancing

Social distancing is about limiting face-to-face interactions. If you are over 70 years old (regardless of medical conditions) or under 70 with an underlying health condition listed in the government guidance, ‘Social Distancing for everyone in Wales’ here you should take social distancing measures as outlined in the guidance. You should work from home where possible, avoid non-essential use of public transport and stay more than 2 metres/6 feet away from people.

If you employ a Personal Assistant (PA) you are required to take all reasonable measures to ensure the 2 metre/6 feet social distancing where possible. Please read this guidance on social distancing which contains a template Risk Assessment – click here  


Some conditions put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and these are called ‘extremely vulnerable’ people. If you fall within this category, you should take more stringent measures (‘shielding’) and you will also receive an letter from the government advising you to shield for 12 weeks. This means staying in your home, not going out at all whether for shopping, leisure or medicine. Do not have any visitors, except people who provide you with essential care. Social distancing should also be carried out where possible. The criteria for ‘extremely vulnerable’ can be found here.  You are advised to shield for 12 weeks.

Importance guidance for care workers on delivering care to individuals who are shielding or where a member of the individual’s household is shielding can be found here.

Guidance on Personal Assistants Returning From Shielding (Wales)

General Resources

For general advice and links to government resources - click here

Current Care Arrangements

Assuming staff are fit and willing to attend work, they should carry on fulfilling their duties. It is essential that they take very seriously any new health and safety procedures you implement. However, to prevent the unnecessary spread of COVID-19 Cardiff Council recommends that only essential personal care/support and social respite care calls are carried out.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to those employed as a PA which needs to be used in line with our guidance (available here).  An initial risk assessment should also take place by phone prior to entering the premises or at 2 metres social distance on entering to establish whether full PPE is required. Social distancing of 2 metres should be practiced whenever possible throughout the visit.

Although routine non-essential visits are not recommended during these challenging times, these visits could be used to enable the carer to collect any shopping or medication (by themself) whilst maintaining social distancing. Non-essential social care calls could in some cases be carried out from the PA’s home e.g. by telephone or video call. Those providing essential respite calls for informal carers should still visit and could distract or entertain the care recipient while the informal carer has a break in another room, garden or takes daily exercise. For those employing PAs, where any normal hours are not worked payment will be dependent upon the reason they were unable to be worked (see Frequently Asked Questions below). Please ensure all PA hours are noted appropriately on submission to payroll.

Risk Assessment Tools

The All Wales COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool has been introduced to the NHS and social care. It is a two-stage risk assessment, which is suitable for use for all staff who are vulnerable or at risk of contracting coronavirus, including people from BAME backgrounds. It has been designed to be a sensitive and supportive process. People can complete the self-assessment and then have a supportive and structured conversation with their line manager/employer to discuss their level of risk to put in place actions to ensure they are protected as far as possible. These may include additional protection, changing working practices or working from home. Please click here for more information.

The Risk Assessment Tool form is available here. 

A Social Distancing Risk Assessment is available here. 

Good Hygiene Practices

All care workers coming to an individual’s home should wash their hands and exposed forearms upon arrival and leaving an individual’s house, and often while they are there. They should use soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. The appropriate hand washing technique is available here.

Additionally, they should:

  1. Minimise the time they spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas with the individual and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
  2. Aim to keep 2 metres away from the individual, if this is feasible.
  3. Make sure they use separate towels from the individual for hand-hygiene purposes.
  4. Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve (not their hands) when they cough or sneeze and the wash their hands immediately.
  5. Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash hands afterwards.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.
  7. Not visit or provide care if they are unwell.

Where PAs support individuals with laundry:

  • Do not shake laundry (minimises the likelihood of dispersing virus into the air)
  • Items should be washed as normal, in accordance with manufacturer instructions
  • Dirty laundry that has been in contact with a symptomatic/confirmed COVID-19 case can be washed with other people’s items
  • Items heavily soiled with bodily fluids such as vomit or diarrhoea, or items that cannot be washes would be disposed of, with the owner’s consent. All soiled items should be placed in rubbish bags and tied securely. This can be put out for general waste collection but should not be put until at least 72 hours after the last item was added.

More information on protecting extremely vulnerable (shielding) people is available here and here.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Cardiff Council is committed to safeguarding PAs and extremely vulnerable people against the risk from potential exposure to COVID-19. We recommend that only essential care/support calls are carried out with appropriate use of PPE and social distancing measures (ensuring 2 metre/6 feet distancing where possible). Routine non-essential visits are not recommended and should be restricted.

PPE will be provided free of charge by Cardiff Council to those delivering these essential care calls. It is important that PPE is used in line with the guidance (available here) to ensure use of the correct type of PPE for the visit. Please view this video demonstrating how to put on and remove PPE - available here.

To request your COVID-19 PPE packs, please click here to complete the request form. For safety reasons, distribution will be carefully managed and Dewis CIL will contact the PA regarding these arrangements.

If you are caring for an individual who is symptomatic or confirmed to have COVID-19 and you require emergency additional PPE, please contact Dewis CIL on 02922 40 50 60 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 4.30pm).

COVID-19 Symptom Tracker

It is clear that data and intelligence is key in the country’s efforts to tackle the pandemic. A number of organisations, including the Welsh Government and NHS Wales, are supporting the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker App that has been developed by Kings College London and healthcare science partners. Please download the app (here) and log daily symptoms to help build a clearer picture of how the virus is affecting people. The app is for everyone, not just those who are experiencing symptoms. It only takes a few seconds of your time each day. Over 38,000 people in Wales have already signed up to the app, but we need as many as possible to make the data most useful.  

COVID-19 Testing

Testing is available for Personal Assistants (PAs) who believe they have symptoms of COVID-19. Testing takes place at Cardiff City stadium car pack (Leckwith) CF11 8AZ.  You MUST have access to a vehicle to attend a mobile testing appointment, and remain in the vehicle for the duration of the test. Please contact Dewis CIL on 02922 40 50 60 to request a test. You will need to provide the following details to Dewis CIL:

·       Name of PA to be tested

·       PA’s address

·       PA’s date of birth

·       PA’s car registration number

·       PA’s email address

·       PA’s mobile number - The NHS are likely to contact you by telephone to confirm a test appointment, please ensure any calls to the mobile number provided are answered, NHS caller ID is likely to be withheld.

·       PA’s reason for referral i.e. symptoms and the date of onset of symptoms

Tests can be arranged within 24-48 hours. You will receive a text message informing you of the result within 48 hours.

Please note that requests for testing of care recipients should be directed to the care recipient’s social worker.

Letter to Carers from the Welsh Government

The Minister and Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services recognises the all-important care carers deliver to people of all ages across Wales. Please click here to read their letter.

Essential/Key Worker Travel Document

Personal Assistants are classed as essential/key workers and need to move freely around Cardiff to provide vital care to our vulnerable people. Travel documents are currently being prepared in readiness to be emailed to all Personal Assistants.

Travel documents have been sent to all PA's with an email on file. If you have not already received your letter via email, you can request your key worker letter via the form at this link: Click Here

Key worker Childcare Support

Cardiff Council have released an update on Keyworker childcare support, available from their Newsroom at

If your employer deems your role to be essential, that critical parts of your role cannot be performed from home and you have no safe alternative childcare available to you, then childcare support can be applied for. This provision is only for children who absolutely need to attend. Eligibility Criteria and the application form can be found at

Social Care Worker Card

Social Care Wales have produced a card that identifies social care workers and confirms they are key workers in fighting the current pandemic. It is not a registration card. Benefits of the care include priority shopping in selected stores. It is hoped that the card will provide social care workers with useful benefits to help make things a little easier at a time when so much is being expected of them. Further details can be found here. To request your card, please click here to complete the request form and instructions will be emailed to you. Please make sure you show your social care worker card, along with a form of photo ID, if required.

Parking Permit

If you are a Personal Assistant who is currently experiencing parking difficulties when at work during this COVID-19 outbreak, please contact Dewis CIL on 02920 40 50 60 to request your free parking permit. The permit is not intended to replace any existing permit that you have already been issued and are using for COVID-19 parking concessions.

The British Parking Association (BPA) has launched an online search site ( which enables you to search for parking locations and see what care workers need to do to show eligibility. This will help identify any private car parks and driveways who have agreed to offer the same concessions, some will require pre-registration which the site will inform you about. 

Frequently Asked Questions.

Please click here for Cardiff Council’s answers to FAQs. Employers can also view comprehensive guidance from Mark Bates Ltd, employer’s liability insurance provider here

For local lockdown guidance for each local authority - click here

Here you will find useful information and links around the Direct Payment Scheme in Cardiff.

If you are personal assistant working for a direct payment service user in Cardiff this handbook will provide you with a summary of working conditions and policies affecting your employment.

The Employer Toolkit below is designed to help you support your Personal Assistants to gain the skills they need to carry out their roles effectively. It also aims to assist you with your responsibilities as an employer to support your Personal Assistants’ learning and personal development.


Training courses are available for Personal Assistants who are looking to enhance their career in the caring profession.

Cardiff Council can provide free learning resources, eg.

  • Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA)
  • Manual Handling
  • First Aid

Please speak to your employer if you wish to attend a training course.

Access to the free learning pool can be accessed via the link below:

This link will provide you with details of the training courses available and directions on how you can enroll.

Useful Links:

Local Authority



Direct Payments Web Page

Social Services Direct Payments Team

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 02920 873617


Social Care Workforce Development Partnerships

Cardiff Council

E-mail: [email protected]

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)

Aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment

relations. They help with employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance.

Free advice is available from:

Telephone 08457 47 47 47

Minicom 08456 06 16 00

0300 3033444

Disability Wales provide useful information about rights, social model of disability and independent living

Telephone: 029 20887325

Learn from Learning

A free comparison website providing information about a range of learning available. It includes an online evaluation tool to help you manage your learning and make sure you are getting the best value for money.

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) improves the lives of people who use care services by sharing knowledge about what works. They have a range of information, guides, e learning material and films on a variety of useful topics.

Telephone: 020 7535 0900

Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)

Telephone: 0800 2888 329

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

Stay in the UK after it leaves the EU ('settled status'): step by step

EU Settlement Scheme: Employer Toolkit

Telephone: 0300 1237 379