StaffLeave & pay arrangements

Yes, we expect staff to be paid as normal. In line with Scottish Government guidance to work from home where you can, many of our staff have transitioned to home and agile working and, with the support of their line manager, are able to contribute effectively from home. Some staff engaged in essential services and those roles that cannot be done from home including, but not limited to, security, estates, residences and some laboratory areas have continued to work on campus and the University is hugely grateful to them. At the current time, all those who can work from home should continue to do so. Regardless of your job type, the University’s aim will be to support you in undertaking your role and for you to continue to receive your regular salary during this period.

The University is maintaining vital support services and facilities and that has required some staff to continue to work on campus.  Our aim is to optimise the provision of our services and support for students who remain on campus, whilst ensuring the wellbeing of our staff.  We will maintain essential staffing levels whilst operating safely. We are very thankful to those staff who have continued to work on campus.

Where you cannot perform your usual role from home but you are unable to return to campus, either for legitimate personal circumstances or because your area of work is not yet operating on campus, the University’s aim will be to explore ways that would allow you to contribute to the University whilst continuing to receive pay.  If there are no other alternatives, you may be permitted to take paid leave for this period in light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19. The University may consider whether your role is one of the small number which qualifies for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the furlough scheme, whereby part of your salary will be funded by the Scheme. The University will make any necessary top-ups to ensure you continue to receive your usual pay.

Our colleagues’ health and safety is our primary concern. If you have received a formal shielding letter from NHS Scotland saying you have a condition that makes you at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, you will need to undertake a health self-assessment and an Occupational Health assessment now that the Government advice confirms that it is safe for you to return to normal work and activities. Many colleagues who have been formally shielding are able to work productively at home and should continue to do so.  The latest Government guidance on shielding is available on the Scottish Government website.

If you have a shielding letter and the in-force Government guidance requires you to stay at home at any time (in the case of a local lockdown), you must do so, but you should be available for a conversation with your line manager to discuss alternative duties and how we will support your return once Government advice confirms it is safe for you to be back on campus. You will continue to receive your standard pay until the Government’s shielding advice changes, after which time your line manager will discuss your return to campus with you.

However, you must continue to take annual leave during this period i.e. holidays for annual leave year 2019/20 should be taken before the end of September 2020.

If you are not shielding but have other health concerns, you may be able to return to work with the appropriate risk mitigation measures now in place in your workplace. Advice for those with specific health conditions and what steps you should take to minimise risk can be found on the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 website. Your line manager will contact you to ask you to complete a confidential Health Self-Assessment if you are being asked to attend any campus location to carry out all or some of their role. This will help you and your line manager plan for how best you can work in light of your own personal circumstances. Please see the Return & Resume Hub for more detailed guidance and support on both ways of working and staying safe on campus.

Our colleagues’ health and safety is our primary concern. If you have received a formal shielding letter from NHS Scotland saying you have a condition that makes you at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, the current Scottish Government guidance is that you should not attend the campus for work and you should stay at home. you must do so. You should be available for a conversation with your line manager to discuss alternative duties and how we will support your return once Government advice confirms it is safe for you to be back on campus. You will continue to receive your standard pay until the Government's shielding advice changes, after which time your line manager will discuss your return to campus with you.

However, you must continue to take annual leave during this period.

The latest Government guidance on shielding is available on the Scottish Government website.

If you are not shielding but have other health concerns, you may be able to work on campus with the appropriate risk mitigation measures now in place in your workplace. Advice for those with specific health conditions and what steps you should take to minimise risk can be found on the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 website. Your line manager will contact you to ask you to complete a confidential Health Self-Assessment if you are being asked to attend any campus location to carry out all or some of your role. This will help you and your line manager plan for how best you can work in light of your own personal circumstances. Please see the Return & Resume Hub for more detailed guidance and support on both ways of working and staying safe on campus.

Please speak to your line manager. We are happy to consider flexing start and finish times for any staff member who wishes to travel off-peak. Please see the Travelling to campus section of the Return & Resume Hub.

You should report your absence to your line manager as normal on day one, day four and weekly thereafter in line with the University’s Sickness Absence Policy.

In cases of ill health lasting more than seven calendar days and not related to Covid-19, staff should obtain a Statement of Fitness for Work (commonly known as Fit Note, formerly known as medical certificate) from their General Practitioner (GP). If you have taken all reasonable steps to obtain a Fit Note from your GP but are unable to do so, please speak to your line manager.  

If you are unable to submit the notification yourself, your line manager can contact covidnotifications@strath.ac.uk on your behalf. Please note that the notification is required irrespective of whether you have been in campus recently. It may be you have had a positive coronavirus test result however you are feeling well enough to continue to work from home during this period. Your Line Manager should be advised if this is the case so the information can be maintained for recording purposes. This will not count towards any period of sickness absence.

If you are unwell or otherwise unable to work for more than seven days due to COVID-19, (e.g. have been told to self-isolate by a test and trace service), you should obtain an Isolation Note from NHS Online and provide this to your line manager.

In addition to the usual sickness absence procedures mentioned above, if you have a confirmed positive case of Covid-19, have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS or you are displaying coronavirus symptoms, you must also notify the University via the online form as soon as possible.

Under current health and safety legislation, employers have a duty to protect the health of employees, anyone on their premises and anyone else affected by the business. We would therefore encourage all staff members to have their vaccine when invited to do so.

As your employer, we will support you by giving you paid time off to attend your appointment if it falls within working hours, as per your contractual terms you will receive sick pay if you suffer any side effects from the vaccination and need time off if you are not well enough to work either from home or your designated working area on campus and finally, ensure that your COVID related time off of work will not be used towards any triggers for disciplinary purposes.

We understand some people may have concerns for a number of reasons around receiving the vaccination. If this is the case, please advise your Line Manager and they will direct you to the support which is available to you from the University, be that Occupational Health or telephone and in-person counselling.

Although vaccines work very well, they are not 100% effective; therefore appropriate risk assessments and controls are still required. Social distancing and PPE requirements remain in place even after vaccination.

If you are feeling unwell, you should report your absence to your line manager as normal on day one, day four and weekly thereafter in line with the University’s Sickness Absence Policy.

Side effects of the vaccine can be found at NHS Inform.

If you are self-isolating, you should not attend work on campus. If you feel well and are able to work at home, then please continue to do so.  If you are in a role which requires you to work on campus and you are not available for work due to self-isolation but you feel well, your line manager will discuss with you if there are other ways you can work productively from home. If you are unable to work, any absence due to the need to self-isolate will be treated as paid leave rather than sick leave and will not affect future sick pay entitlement, result in disciplinary action or count towards any future sickness absence related action. This is in line with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) joint statement on fair work expectations at the start of the pandemic, which still applies now. As a people-oriented employer, the University has been consistently supportive of these fair work expectations, which are closely aligned to our People Strategy.

The University recognises schools or nurseries that have reopened may be closed again due to local outbreaks of the virus. This may mean that staff have difficulties arranging alternative care for their children.  We will therefore work flexibly with staff to support them during this time.   

If your ability to work is affected because of a school or nursery closure, you should discuss agile working or flexible working arrangements with your line manager. This will involve you agreeing with your line manager when and how you will undertake your duties including consideration of non-standard working patterns. This will require give and take on everyone’s part – the aim will be to continue with the business of the University in a way which is fair and appropriate to all parties, recognising the important role which parental care will play during this period.

For roles within the University where home-working is not an option, alternative arrangements will be agreed locally. It may be that you are able to change your work times to coincide with times when other adults are available and can care for your children. The University’s aim will be to recognise your situation and support you in contributing to the work of the University. If there are no other alternatives, the University may permit time off with your regular salary in light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding Covid-19.

Line managers and staff can contact their HR team for guidance on specific scenarios if needed.

If your ability to work is affected because of additional caring responsibilities as a result of coronavirus, you should discuss agile working or flexible working arrangements with your line manager. This will involve you agreeing with your line manager when and how you will undertake your duties including consideration of non-standard working patterns. This will require give and take on everyone’s part – the aim will be to continue with the business of the University in a way which is fair and appropriate to all parties, recognising the important role that carers play during this period.

For roles within the University where home-working is not an option, alternative arrangements will be agreed locally. It may be that you are able to change your work times to coincide with times when others can provide the required caring support at home. The University’s aim will be to recognise your situation and support you in contributing to the work of the University. If there are no other alternatives the University may permit time off with your regular salary in light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

Line managers and staff can contact their HR team for guidance on specific scenarios if needed.

As a people-oriented employer, the University wishes to support those with caring responsibilities.  Where a close contact such as a child or dependant has been deemed as needing to self-isolate, it may be that you will also be required to self-isolate. If this is the case and you are able to work from home, then you should continue to do so. If you are in a role which requires you to work on campus and you are not available for work due to self-isolation, this will be treated as paid leave rather than sick leave.

If you become unwell yourself, the question above (“I am unwell…”) will apply.

If you have caring responsibilities for someone who is isolating that mean you are unable to work but you are not required by current Government guidance to isolate yourself, speak to your line manager about options for taking time away from work. This could involve the use of holidays or a change to working hours but every scenario is different.  The University will always seek to support our people to make sure isolation instructions can be adhered to.

As the University campus gradually reopens, the health and wellbeing of our staff and students continues to be our first priority. If you are concerned that catching the virus will have a significant impact for you or for a close family member should you subsequently pass it to them, then discuss this with your line manager now. If your role does not allow for home working, then working at times when fewer staff/students are around or in areas where no staff/students are present will be considered. The University’s aim will be to support you in making a contribution whilst still recognising your situation.

If you wish to do this, you should agree on the changes in advance with your line manager, including the duration. See the July 2020 communication from the Chief People Officer on the range of flexible working arrangements available which you may wish to consider.

Reduce your working week

For those of you who would be interested in having a reduced working week (fewer days or fewer hours in each day) you can request a shorter working week for the coming year (commencing September 2020). This may help you to plan and manage the ongoing family demands you may have, or simply give you the opportunity to spend your time in a different way with a corresponding reduction in your working responsibilities. Were this change to be agreed for you, it could be made on a temporary basis, with a return to your current contractual hours after a year, or on a permanent basis. 

Please note that, following the summer, the University will continue to assist those with caring responsibilities in particular to work agilely – to undertake your duties at a time and place which suit your personal circumstances. The reduced working week option is for those who wish a contractual reduction in the level of outputs expected of them to support their circumstances.

If Friday is not a suitable day to take time off to recuperate due to essential duties that must be performed that day, may take this at another time agreed in consultation with your line manager to take time to recuperate. You should put your 'out of office' on so that other colleagues know that it is your recuperation day. You should only use an alternative day if you have Friday commitments that cannot be moved. It is important that as many colleagues as possible use the same day for rest and recuperation to limit the volume of emails on that day and to ensure productive work can be done on the other days of the week. 

The rest days are designed to allow staff who have continued to work on University business all week, time to reflect and recuperate away from work. For this reason, if staff are on annual leave or don’t usually work the rest of the week due to part-time working, then the rest and recuperation days will not apply.

If you are part-time and do not work Fridays but do work most of the rest of the week, you may choose another time in consultation with your line manager to take time to recuperate.

Please see the latest guidance from Finance on this topic.