1. Purpose

These pages set out the University's response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic for staff and your actions as line managers.

While the pandemic is ongoing, the arrangements on these pages are temporary and remain under constant review; they do not represent a substantive change to the underlying Terms and Conditions of employment. In the same way, the adaptation guides (see section 8 below) explain temporary changes in how we are applying our HR policies and procedures during the pandemic.

The guidance on these pages and the related General FAQs for staff and FAQs on self-isolation apply to all staff in the University. Advice and support is available from your HR Advisor or Business Partner (Chrome or Firefox browser recommended for this link).

This guidance continues to be updated on an ongoing basis in line with further national Government / public health guidance and in liaison with our campus Trade Unions.

2. Our Approach

We are very aware that this outbreak and its implications will feel worrying and challenging for many of our staff, students, other users of the University and their families. Our role as leaders and managers is to support and protect our staff and students while ensuring that we provide the best services possible throughout this pandemic both during lockdown and as it is eased. We write this as we now enter the second lock-down from 5 November 2020 until 2 December 2020.

The University is closely following the current UK Government / public health advice on Coronavirus to ensure that we are following the most appropriate approach in the circumstances on an ongoing basis.

Our aim is to enable our staff to:

  • work safely from home wherever they can do so efficiently and / or

  • work safely on campus in a COVID-safe environment where their role (or parts of it) requires this.

Managers and staff have been, and continue to be, expected to reconfigure and re-prioritise work to fit around current circumstances so that the University can continue to function. With the easing of lockdown we have been restarting services on site where these are needed within a COVID-safe environment but continue to use online resources and other adjustments wherever needed, to protect our staff, students, visitors and the wider community.

As leaders and managers, we all have a key role in supporting our staff to take this approach with advice and support from your HR and Safety, Health and Employee Wellbeing (SHEW) teams.

If you log-on to TOPdesk you and your teams will find guidance within both the COVID-19 tile and under Working from Home, tile including on all for remote-working arrangements that could be used in this situation and access to key University systems and folders.

Given the great variety of the roles that staff undertake and individual circumstances they may have, we will need to apply this guidance with appropriate flexibility as we work through the very different scenarios that may occur, depending on how the pandemic and the virus develops.

3. If your staff have symptoms or a diagnosis of Coronavirus

The University is strictly following the guidance from the UK Government and the NHS in order to protect our staff, students, visitors and the wider community. For this to be effective we need all our staff (and students and visitors) to follow the University's guidance as set out below at all times.

Please follow our guidance for line managers on what to do if my staff report COVID symptoms or are-required to-isolate.

Return to work

From the point that staff have completed their period of isolation in line with Govt. / PHE guidance (or have received a negative test outcome), they will be expected to return to work and sick pay will cease (if they have not been working from home).

Employees who are diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19) through a positive test must remain on sick leave until the completion of 10 calendar days of self-isolation or they are advised that they are fit to return by an authorised NHS practitioner.

4. What to do if a member of your staff is contacted by NHS Test & Trace and told to self-isolate

If a member of your staff has been contacted by NHS Test & Trace and informed that they have been in contact with a person who has coronavirus they must do the following as required by NHS Test & Trace:

  • stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days from the day they were last in contact with the person – it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear;

  • do not leave their home for any reason – if they need food or medicine, they must order it online or by phone, or ask friends and family to drop it off at their home

  • do not have visitors in their home, including friends and family – except for essential care

  • try to avoid contact with anyone they live with as much as possible

  • contact you as their line manager by phone (or Teams) on the day they have been contacted by NHS Test & Trace. They need to follow the same process of reporting as that set out in section 3A above and the same options (i) and (ii) in terms of working as set out section 3B above.

You will also need to follow this process if contact-tracing in the University identifies that a staff member has been a contact in line with the PHE definitions with a fellow staff member or student who has tested positive.

Report on iTrent

  • Working from Home - If the staff member is well to work and able to undertake their role from home while they are self-isolating they will continue to receive full pay. You should record their COVID status on iTrent straightaway as Other absence using the absence type COVID-19 - Working from Home - Required to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace.

See option (i) in section 3B above for instructions for recording this in iTrent.

  • On Sick Leave - If they are unable to work from home they are entitled to sick pay and you should record as sick on iTrent using the (sickness) absence reason COVID-19 / Coronavirus / Potential / Self-isolating.

See option (ii) in section 3B above for instructions for recording this in iTrent.

5. Arrangements for staff needing to quarantine / self-isolate on entry / return to the UK

If a member of your staff is planning to take leave or has already booked to take leave outside of the UK then it is important that they contact you as their line manager prior to leaving for their holiday.

They should contact you straight away if the situation for the country they are going to, or are already in, changes - as has recently occurred for France, the Netherlands and other countries. This is to agree arrangements for what will happen when they return and to ensure that they are following the UK Government’s current requirements to quarantine / self-isolate on your return to the UK.

Check the Government guidance: The government advice on individual countries and the requirement to quarantine is likely to be subject to change on an ongoing basis, particularly in relation to which countries are exempt from self-isolation. Your staff are required to act at all times in accordance with the latest government guidance on re-entering the country and should check the UK Government / Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel guidance and the Department of Health & Social Care guidance on returning to the UK and self-isolation

If they are returning from a country which requires them to quarantine / self-isolate they must do the following:

Follow the current Government / FCO guidance on how to self-isolate

Working from Home: If it is possible for them to work efficiently from home on their return, then you as their line manager can agree for them to work in this way while self-isolating and to continue to be paid their normal pay.

Not Working from Home: If it is not possible for your staff member to work efficiently from home (e.g. your work can only be carried out on campus) they must self-isolate for 10 calendar days and not work during this period. Unless they have symptoms and / or have tested positive for COVID-19 this absence cannot be classed as sickness absence (where sick pay would be paid) so the pay arrangements below would have to be applied.

Pay arrangements for not working during 14-day self-isolation period: As you will not be working or absent through sickness during this period you will need to agree with your staff member how these days will be covered. The options available are as follows:

i. If your staff member has sufficient annual leave, they can take additional annual leave to cover both their trip and the required period of self-isolation on their return (exceptionally you could agree for them to bring forward some of their 2020/21 leave allowance to cover this period);

ii. If they do not have sufficient annual leave, they can request for annual leave for your trip and additionally for a period of unpaid leave to cover the all or the remainder of the days of their required period of self-isolation on their return;

iii. If there are particular and extenuating circumstances and your staff member has taken the first full week (7-days) of their required period of self-isolation on their return through annual and / or unpaid leave (i or ii above) then you may agree to give them exceptional paid leave for the remaining period up to a maximum of 5 working days (pro-rata for part-time staff).

Should your member of staff develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point, they must follow the relevant government guidance with regards to getting tested and report this to you as their line manager without delay. From this period sick pay would be paid.

Government guidance in this area continues to evolve and may change at any time. The University will continue to review this guidance in line with it.

6. Staff with care issues caused by their child or other dependent having to self-isolate or the closure of a school / nursery / crèche / care home due to COVID

Where there a staff member needs to look after a child or other dependent who is having to self-isolate or because of the closure of a school, nursery, care home etc. and the staff member is unable to arrange alternative care arrangements, they need to contact you by phone to consider the two options for staff as below:

a. Working from home – As their Head of Department / line manager you can agree for your staff to work from home in this situation. We want as many staff as possible in this situation to work from home, while this will depend on them having sufficient time to do so and on their role and IT arrangements enabling them to work effectively remotely. To enable this to work, it may be necessary to allow staff to work during different hours wherever these can be accommodated to allow the employee to fit this around their caring responsibilities; we would strongly encourage flexibility in this area. They should follow the University’s guidance on working from home.

b. Not able to work from home - in these situations the University may consider if furlough would be appropriate under Government guidance. If this is not possible then the staff member will need to request annual leave, TOIL-taken and / or carer's leave (which is unpaid) to cover the period of absence.

Please note - if the staff member's child or dependent lives with them and has COVID symptoms or a positive test then the staff member will need to self-isolate (see section 4 above).

7. Staff confirmed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable or Clinically Vulnerable (or who live with someone confirmed as such)

These situations are likely to be sensitive to deal with, as those with an underlying health condition in these categories may be very concerned about the impact of Coronavirus on their health. Please do contact [your HR Advisor or Business Partner](https://www.bath.ac.uk/hr/calculators/hr-department-names/Index.htm] for advice and support.

The UK Government has changed its advice in this area in line with the second lockdown from 5 November and there is now very different advice for those who come under the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable category and the those identified as Clinically Vulnerable for which guidance is set out in section 9 of the New National Restrictions Guidance.

Staff with underlying health conditions should have been picked up through our return to work on campus processes from July to September with advice provided by Occupational Health for staff who have identified health issues on their return to work on campus form.

Individuals with other underlying health conditions that are clinically vulnerable but do not come under an extremely vulnerable definition should follow the UK Government’s / PHE advice on social distancing.

8. Adaptation Guides: Adapting how you manage staff under key HR policies to take account of the impacts of COVID-19

We have developed separate guides for line managers on how to adapt your practical application of our existing HR Policies and Procedures that are affected where staff are working from home / remotely or flexibly and by specific arrangements for COVID-19 that are in place on campus.

Please click on the link to access these Adaptation Guides to find the guide and advice that you need.

If you have questions please contact your HR Advisor or Business Partner (Chrome or Firefox browser is recommended for this link).