Dear Colleague,

I know from my conversations with staff that many of you are concerned about the next few weeks, with safety being of great concern. I’ve also heard from many of our frontline staff in particular, that they would like clarity on the University’s approach to “furloughing” some roles and we have been working hard to address this. We are now in a position to outline what this means for members of our community.

As you will be aware, while many of our services have successfully moved online, the University has had to reduce a number of its operations as part of national efforts to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19), and in some cases to suspend them entirely. While these are all extremely valuable services during normal times, they are ones that cannot be carried out in the current situation as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

On 20 March the UK Government announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The Scheme is designed to avoid redundancies by enabling organisations to place staff on “furlough” for a temporary period of 3 weeks or more, where their roles are not currently required or cannot sensibly be carried out under the COVID-19 restrictions.

Since the announcement, we have been working on how the CJRS Scheme could be applied at the University and what it would mean for our staff. We are committed to protecting our staff and the University as much as possible, so have taken the decision to engage with the government’s scheme and to furlough some staff now.

Further details can be found in our online guidance, but key points to note include:

  • The University has decided that it will pay the full salary of all employees on furlough, going significantly above the 80% contribution and capped limit offered by the Government.
  • A number of posts are required to ensure that the University continues to run its services during this unprecedented period. This means that numbers of staff will not be selected for furlough and will continue to work as per their contract.
  • We reserve the right to recall staff from furlough, and indeed some teams may be furloughed on a rota basis (with a minimum period of 3-weeks on furlough) if this is possible.
  • We are currently in the process of identifying initial posts to furlough and we are committed to ensuring that this process is applied as appropriately and fairly as possible. Selections are made on the basis of role, not individual, so individuals will not be disadvantaged in the future if they are furloughed now.
  • There are particular arrangements for research-funded posts and separate guidance has been issued by RIS – please read the section headed Furlough Scheme if this applies to you or your staff
  • We have set up an Assurance Committee which will review the decisions made to furlough and have consulted with our trade union colleagues on the process.

How will I know if I am being placed ‘on furlough’?:

If your post is identified for furlough you will receive an email from the HR Operations team, to your University email address. This will explain the proposed change in moving onto furlough. The emails will be sent in a number of phases over the next 3 weeks as we work through this process. Your Head of Department or line manager may also contact you directly about this.

For more information please see the Staff Guidance page and additional Frequently Asked Questions for staff page.

As this process continues and develops, we will update our information, which we will post to the University’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage.

I understand that this is a worrying time, and hope this scheme gives further clarity and reassurance to staff members. If you have any questions please speak to your line manager about them, or raise them through our dedicated email

If you are interested in the background of the CRJS and UK Government’s response to coronavirus, more information is available at link and link.

With kind regards,


Richard Brooks

Director of Human Resources