Information for staff

In response to the coronavirus pandemic we have already put in place emergency measures to protect staff health and wellbeing as far as reasonably possible and are now working to meet government requirements to ensure our campus is a safe place to work and study.

The health and wellbeing of our staff are our number-one priorities. To support DMU staff members during this uniquely challenging time we have produced some online resources to help support you both at work and at home.

The new wellbeing microsite provides advice and support for staff in a variety of different situations, there are links to external websites, information about home schooling and top tips for staying active. Click here to check them out.

Working from home

Why am I being asked to work from home?

The Interim Vice-Chancellor stated on 11 May 2020 that, while we are working towards making our campus a safe place to work and study, for now, the campus remains closed to all but essential workers.

My job means I can’t really work from home. What will happen?

Most roles can be performed remotely, but it may be that your role is one of the few that still has to be carried out on campus, e.g. you are a member of the security team. In this case, your manager will be able to explain how you will be supported at work to undertake your role in as safe a manner as possible.

It may be that your manager has spoken to you about being furloughed, in which case you will be provided with further details about what this means. If you are not required to work on campus at the moment, and you cannot work from home, but your role is not one that can be furloughed, you will be treated as if you are on special leave and will receive full pay.

Can I use DMU equipment at home?

You are allowed to use key equipment such as your chair, keyboard, screen, etc, at home as required, to enable you to work safely and effectively – and this should have been arranged by now. If there is something specific that you feel you require from the university, you must contact your line manager to discuss. It will normally be your responsibility to move the equipment from campus to your home as the university is unfortunately not able to assist you with this at this time. However, if you require particular support please talk to your line manager. Please consult the manual handling guide when you are transporting and setting up your equipment.

The Interim Home Working policy sets out the requirement for you to complete the Home Working Self-Assessment Checklist and even if you have already completed this, please repeat this checklist if you have updated your work station or are using any new equipment.

I am working from home, but my child’s school/nursery is still closed, how will this affect my working hours and my pay?

We recognise that many colleagues have caring responsibilities for young children and children of school age and we are grateful that colleagues are trying so hard to balance their caring responsibilities with work. The next few months will see many schools and childcare facilities re-open, however at present, our campus remains closed (except for those colleagues who are required for emergency/critical work).

If your child care provider remains closed and you do not have access to childcare, you will continue to be able to access extraordinary paid special leave, but you will be asked to balance this with your annual leave for this leave year (until 31 August).

How can I look after my mental and physical wellbeing?

We appreciate that the immense changes and measures for social distancing not only profoundly impact your working life but also your home and social life too. Isolation will present many challenges to mental and physical wellbeing so we want to offer you some support on this. One service that is available to all staff is the Employee Assistance Programme.

If you are either working at home, working in an 'essential services capacity' on campus or unable to work due to the type of role you have, the EAP offers you (and anyone living with you) immediate and free access to 24-hour telephone counselling, advice for physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. That's not all, the EAP also offers legal and financial information services. The EAP service is completely confidential and provided by an independent health and wellbeing provider, Health Assured. You can contact them in the following ways:

  • UK Freephone number: 0800 716 017 (if calling from a DMU Skype telephone, the quick dial is 0101)
  • Calling from overseas: +44 (0)1455 254 198
  • Minicom number: 0845 600 5499

For more info on how the EAP can support you please watch this video. You can also visit their website and enter 'dmu' in both login boxes.

To support DMU staff members during this uniquely challenging time we have produced some online resources to help support you both at work and at home.

The new wellbeing microsite provides advice and support for staff in a variety of different situations, there are links to external websites, information about home schooling and top tips for staying active. Click here to check them out.

What is the situation regarding Unitemps workers?

The following information has been provided by Unitemps regarding their workers and does not apply to DMU employees.

Friday 1 May onwards:

Temps who are currently working from home
If you are currently working from home then nothing will change, and you will continue to do so, submitting your weekly timesheets for the hours you are working via the Unitemps website up until your contract end date. Timesheet deadline dates and pay dates will remain the same.

Temps who are in a current assignment and unable to work from home
If, due to the nature of your role, you are unable to work from home, then from Monday 4 May 2020 you will be placed on furlough (if in agreement). This arrangement will be in place until Friday 29 May 2020. Following 29 May, we will be carrying out another review and will update you accordingly of our position.

Click here for further guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme.

Visa working restrictions
Any visa restrictions will still apply while working from home and will be monitored by the Unitemps office in the normal way.

Self-isolation due to housemate or family member showing symptoms of COVID-19
If you are able to work from home and are self-isolating due to someone within the household showing symptoms of COVID-19 you will need to let your manager and Unitemps know at the earliest opportunity. If you are unable to work from home and are self-isolating due to someone within the household showing symptoms, you will be able to claim statutory sick pay (SSP) from day one, provided that you meet the statutory requirements.

You can self-certificate for the first seven days by completing an online form and returning to Unitemps for processing. Alternatively, depending on your earnings, you may be entitled to Universal Credit.

Sick pay and reporting
If you are unwell and suspect this is due to COVID-19, you must contact your manager at the earliest opportunity. You will be able to claim SSP from day one, provided that you meet the statutory requirements.

Further advice can be found at the below links:

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

gov.uk: COVID-19: guidance for employees


COVID-19 related sickness, self-isolation and shielding

Now that we have been asked to work from home where possible – does it matter if I am self-isolating or sick? Do I need to do anything?

We still need to monitor and record what is happening within our workforce. If you are self-isolating, please inform your manager so that they can ensure this is recorded on DMUhub.

If you are feeling ill and are not able to work, please contact your manager as they will need to record this on DMUhub as sickness absence.

Will I be paid if I am self-isolating?

Yes, you will. If you are self-isolating, you must inform your manager.

What if I have symptoms and am too sick to work whilst self isolating?

If you do not feel well enough to attend work - whether you are self-isolating or not - you will be classed as being on sick leave and will be paid accordingly. Your 'COVID-19' related absence will not count towards any triggers.

I have received a letter from my GP to say that I need to shield myself/or someone in my household is shielding. What should I do?

We understand that this is a very worrying time for people and our main concern is your health, wellbeing and safety. If you have been advised to shield, or have someone in your household that is shielding, you may still be able to carry out your normal duties from home and should be discussing this with your manager. At the moment, we are not planning to return to the campus but when we have more concrete plans, your manager will contact you to discuss what this would mean for you. While you are covered by professional health advice, please rest assured that you will not be asked to do anything that might compromise this.

If you are not able to carry out your normal duties from home, you will continue to be able to access extra-ordinary paid special leave, but you will be asked to balance this with your annual leave for this leave year (until 31 August).

What if I am self-isolating and am not able to work from home?

If you feel well enough to attend work (i.e. if in normal circumstances, you would come into work) but you are unable to work from home, you will be able to take paid special leave. The special leave provision for staff has been extended to 8 May (in line with the government’s new review date).

Can I take leave if someone I live with is self-isolating? Will I be paid for that?

The government’s current advice is that if someone in your household is self-isolating then you too should self-isolate for 14 days. Please see the advice above regarding self-isolation.

I am a part-time lecturer; can I get sick pay or special leave?

Yes, you are an employee of DMU and will be entitled to the same treatment as other staff. If you are off sick or self-isolating, we will ensure your hours are submitted as if you were at work.

I am not ill but have concerns about working

What should I do if working on campus is concerning me?

At the moment the campus is closed, apart from essential and critical services. If you are involved in these services and are concerned, talk to your line manager in the first instance. The university is taking every step possible to ensure that it is safe for essential staff to work on campus, and that social distancing can be achieved at all times.

What underlying health conditions might be affected by COVID-19?

The government has issued advice regarding conditions that would place someone at greater risk due to the virus. The list can be found here.

Someone I care for or live with has underlying health conditions. Can I take leave and will I be paid for it?

We recognise that some people will have relatives or close ones who may have underlying conditions and can be at risk if they were to become ill with COVID-19. We are monitoring advice from Public Health England regarding these conditions and will support people to be at home with no impact on their pay.

In most cases you will be able to work from home. If you are not able to work, please contact your manager in the first instance. They may require advice and guidance from HR as to how best to support you. Please rest assured that your health and wellbeing of you and your family is paramount to us.

My child’s school/nursery is closed and I need to stay at home to provide child care. Is this ok?

Yes. Given the government’s decision to close all schools it is recognised that many colleagues may have additional caring responsibilities. Please let your line manager know as soon as you can. Depending on your specific circumstances, it may be possible for you to work from home and your manager may be able to support you in working more flexibly in order to facilitate this or to take some of your annual leave. If it is not possible for you to work from home and you had not ordinarily planned to take leave, you will be able to take paid special leave. The special leave provision for staff has been extended to 8 May (in line with the government’s new review date).

I am pregnant – I do not feel unwell but what should I do?

The government’s advice is to stay at home and to self-isolate. Please see the advice above regarding self-isolation. We hope that you will be feeling well during your pregnancy and that you will be well enough to be able to continue to work from home. If you do need extra support to do so, please let your manager know.

Annual leave

Am I able to take annual leave even though I am not required to work on campus?

Yes, you are able and encouraged to take annual leave as normal subject to your line manager approving it in the usual way. Annual leave is a very important element of work-life balance and just because we are not ‘visibly’ at work, does not mean we should not have regular breaks. Please ensure that you inform your line manager of your planned holiday arrangements and continue to book leave via DMUhub as you would normally. Please note that you are encouraged to use all annual leave within the current leave year.

I have had to cancel my holiday due to travel restrictions, can I have my leave back?

We understand that it is disappointing that holidays and trips have been cancelled. Previously, we were trying to support colleagues to be able to rearrange their family and personal trips within the current leave year and therefore we had agreed in the early stages of the pandemic that leave could be ‘reimbursed’ in these circumstances. However, it is clear that the current situation will continue for the foreseeable future and that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all non-essential travel. We must therefore ask colleagues to continue to take their annual leave during the current leave year. Annual leave is a very important element of work life balance and we need to ensure we are getting regular breaks. Therefore, unless there are extreme circumstances, employees will be expected to take their leave as planned. Requests for reimbursement will not normally be approved, and will only be given consideration if/when the same number of days are re-booked for a suitable alternative time (to be agreed with your line manager) during the current leave year.

Is there any flexibility for carrying over extra annual leave above the usual five days?

If an employee is prevented from taking their remaining leave between now and the end of August because of the need for critical COVID-19 related work, or where leave has been saved and formally approved for a special occasion that has now been postponed due to COVID-19, but that will be required at a later stage, they should be allowed to carry forward up to 10 days to the next annual leave year (2020/21). This extra leave must be taken over the following two years. If you feel you meet this criteria, please talk to your line manager.

I have heard that some workers can carry 4 weeks’ paid holiday forward – does this apply to me?

The UK Government announced that people who are unable to take their leave because they are contributing to the national COVID-19 effort in key industries, will not be penalised by losing their leave and would be allowed to carry forward up to four weeks’ paid leave. We are not classed as ‘key workers’ and therefore we expect that most colleagues will be able to take their annual leave as normal. We do recognise that some staff will be undertaking critical work related to the COVID-19 crisis and will not be able to take their leave. If you believe you are in this situation, please talk to your line manager and they will help you to work out a plan, which might involve carrying forward more leave than normal. We must emphasise that annual leave is a very important element of work life balance and we need to ensure we are all getting regular breaks.

Business queries

I’ve got an international conference planned, what should I do?

The university is not permitting any new travel bookings during this pandemic period. See DMUconnect for more information and contact details.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also stated that all non-essential travel to anywhere in the world is not advised. Please check the FCO website for the latest advice.

I’ve got some interviews planned for recruitment. How should I conduct those?

We are writing to all candidates advising them that interview panels will be in touch regarding arrangements. You have two options:
  • You can interview by Microsoft Teams or Skype if this is possible (and the candidate is willing)
  • You could postpone the interviews

Please bear in mind equality issues and, if you do change a process for different candidates, please seek advice from the Resourcing and Recruitment team.

I have been advised I still need to attend work, but I am concerned about public transport to attend work. What help is available to me?

If you are a Park & Ride permit holder or within the campus exclusion zone, then please contact the Estates Helpdesk on +44 (0)116 250 6366 and we will provide help however we can.

How should I interact with students, given social distancing advice?

There is full government advice available online and you should avoid any non-essential face-to-face contact with others. Only keep in touch with students using remote technology such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, phone and via emails, rather than face-to-face.

We are aware that some people prefer Zoom but the university has decided against the use of Zoom on security grounds and does not support its usage.

What should I do if a student reports they have COVID-19?

If you are contacted by a student who says they have COVID-19, please advise them to contact their GP service or emergency care if appropriate. Further information is available in the physical wellbeing section of the Healthy DMU Toolkit for staff on DMUconnect.

Make the student aware that if they have faced extenuating circumstances, they can apply for a deferral of assessments. Please also ask if the student needs any other support from DMU, such as being able to access to food or medicine (see Student Support and Wellbeing in the student information FAQ section).

Students can also be directed to the Healthy DMU student hub, which provides quick access to booking appointments, activities and hints and tips about staying well in body and mind.

 
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