General Coronavirus guidance for staff
University information and guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for staff - including quarantine arrangements
This page contains general University information and guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for staff. For more staff advice, as well as advice for students, visitors and our local community, please visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage.
We continue to work closely with the campus Trades Unions in developing this guidance for how we support our staff to carry out their roles in these challenging times.
University campus and services during COVID-19
Please see the latest information on campus facilities
We have continued to operate essential services (such as retail, catering, cleaning, security and estates) on campus throughout the lockdown period during which time a significant group of our international and UK students continued to live on campus as their home.
Other services have continued to operate through staff working from home with much increased use of online delivery. This has enabled the University to continue to function and to meet the key needs of its students and other stakeholders.
Where staff have been unable to carry out their duties as a result of COVID-19, the University has utilised the UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS") by placing staff on 'furlough' where they and their role meet the requirements of the CJRS. More information on furloughing can be found in the Guidance for Staff on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The UK Government has confirmed a series of changes to its requirements and guidance to gradually ease the restrictions and lockdown. The University has been reviewing how it provides its services in the light of these changes. More information on how the University is planning for this can be found at indication of the way the University will operate under each UK Government alert level. In line with reduction in the alert level this will enable more staff to return to work on campus with carefully planning to ensure a COVID-secure environment.
Working arrangements - during COVID-19
Our aim is to enable our staff to work safely and effectively, both where this needs to be on campus and where this can be from home, using online resources and other adjustments where needed. Through this we can protect ourselves, our colleagues and our students.
Through the work of many of our managers and staff we have been able to positively reconfigure our work and how it is delivered to fit around current circumstances with COVID-19. This has been vital to the University continuing to function and to meet the needs of our students and other stakeholders. We will need to continue to review and reconfigure our work as the situation and guidance around COVID-19 continues to change.
Following our summer restart programme and as we plan for the start of the new academic year 2020/21 we expect more staff to return to work on campus where their role requires it. This return will be undertaken after the careful planning of their working environment. Guidance for staff on returning to work on campus can be found here.
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
If you think you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 it is critically important that you:
- follow the NHS guidance, get a test
- follow the UK Government on guidance on self-isolating for 10 calendar days and test & trace
- report your sickness to your line manager without delay - and discuss how you are and what to do while self-isolating
If you are fit to work and your role can be undertaken from home then you can continue to work while you are self-isolating.
If however you are not fit to work or your role cannot be undertaken from home then you be placed on sick leave for the whole 10 calendar day period.
Travel and visas - including quarantine / self-isolation
We have suspended all travel on University business, other than commuting to campus and University buildings.
You should read the GOV.UK guidance to find out if your visa will be automatically extended or whether you need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Helpline (0800 678 1767, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, calls are free of charge) or CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Arrangements for staff needing to quarantine or self-isolate
If you are planning to take leave or have already booked to take leave outside of the UK then it is important that you contact your line manager prior to leaving for your holiday. If the situation for the country you are going to, or are already in, changes (as has recently occurred for Spain) you should contact your line manager straight away. This is to agree arrangements for what will happen when you return and to ensure that you 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. You 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 are returning from a country which requires you to self-isolate: • You must follow the current Government / FCO guidance on how to self-isolate
• Working from Home: If it is possible for you to work efficiently from home on your return, then your line manager can agree for you to work in this way while self-isolating and to continue to be paid your normal pay.
• Not Working from Home: If it is not possible for you to work efficiently from home (e.g. your work can only be carried out on campus) you must self-isolate for 14 calendar days and not work during this period. Unless you 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 manager how these days will be covered. The options available to you are as follows:
i. If you have sufficient annual leave, you can take additional annual leave to cover both your trip and the required period of self-isolation on your return (exceptionally you may be able to agree with your line manager to bring forward some of your 2020/21 leave allowance to cover this period);
ii. If you do not have sufficient annual leave, you may apply 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 your required period of self-isolation on your return;
iii. If there are particular and extenuating circumstances and you have taken the first full week (7-days) of your required period of self-isolation on your return through annual and / or unpaid leave (i or ii above) then your line manager may agree to give you exceptional paid leave for the remaining period up to a maximum of 5 working days (pro-rata for part-time staff).
Should you develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point, you must follow the relevant government guidance with regards to getting tested and report this to your 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.
Staff with caring responsibilities
If you are affected by the confirmed closure of a school, nursery, care home etc. due to the COVID-19 outbreak and are unable to arrange alternative care arrangements, you should contact your Head of Department or line manager to agree one of the three options below. With the changes to restrictions and guidance issued by the UK Government as a result of the gradual easing of lockdown we would hope to see fewer staff being affected by this, particularly with the planned re-opening of schools for year groups planned from early September 2020.
a. Working from home - If your role, time and IT arrangements enable you to work effectively from home, your HoD / line manager can agree for you to do so. To enable this to work, it may be necessary to consider if you can work during different hours if these can be accommodated to allow you to fit your work around your caring responsibilities. If home working is agreed, you will receive normal pay and should follow the University’s guidance on working from home.
b. Furlough - If you are unable to carry out your role remotely / from home then you may be considered for being placed on furlough in line with the UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
c. Taking Leave - If you are unable to carry out your role from home and have not been placed on furlough before 10 June 2020 then you would need to agree a period of leave - using annual leave, TOIL and unpaid leave to cover the days when you are unable to attend for work. Your manager will also work with you to be as flexible as possible in your working arrangements to maximise the opportunities for you to work.
Other related questions - working from home and deductions
Will the University pay my additional costs for working from home?
We recognise that working from home requires a number of adjustments, both physical and mental. While the current public health advice doesn’t have any fixed timeframes, it is possible that we may need to work differently for several months, so getting these adjustments right is important.
It is possible that you may occur some additional costs when working from home such as phone and utilities. Of course, you may also be making a saving by not travelling into work and having access to your own catering facilities. Also, it has been decided to withhold car-parking charges since the beginning of lockdown (and this continues to be reviewed on a month-by-month basis). As a principle, the University is not intending to make additional payments for homeworking, however if there is a demonstrable case of hardship, you can make a case through your line manager to the Director of Human Resources.
Are there changes to payroll deadlines?
Payroll has made some changes to its operations, including deadlines for submitting payroll claims, please see the Payroll: FAQs for staff.
Further questions, advice and support
If you have any other concerns or questions that about Coronavirus that are not covered here or on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage, please contact your HoD or your line manager, email the Coronavirus enquiries email email address. This will pass your question to the most relevant individual to answer it.
If you are seeking emotional support and counselling at this time please contact our staff counselling services; EAP and the Education Support Partnership. Both of these services are free, confidential and providing their services remotely.