Information for staff

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic we are putting in place emergency measures to protect staff health and wellbeing as far as reasonably possible.

This is a temporary position and we will be continually assessing the situation over the coming weeks with a formal review being undertaken by 24 April 2020. Line managers will review any temporary working arrangements every two weeks and will formally review any arrangements prior to the review date of 24 April 2020.

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 government announced on 23 March that everyone should stay at home and leave their houses only for essential shopping, daily exercise, medical care and "absolutely necessary" work. We are not classed as key workers and therefore our interim Vice Chancellor has stated that we will all be working and studying from home for the foreseeable future.

You can find out more about working from home in our interim homeworking policy.

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. If you are not required to work on campus at the moment and your manager does not feel you can work from home, you will be treated as if you are on special leave and will receive full pay.

What is social distancing and how do I do this if I am required to work on campus?

There are only a few staff who have been identified as being needed on campus. Government guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK states that ‘social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).’

They are:


    • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
    • Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
    • Avoid gathering or meeting more than two people at a time
    • Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
    • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
    Everyone should be following these measures.

Can I use DMU equipment at home?

You will be allowed to take home key equipment such as your chair, keyboard, screen, etc. as required, to enable you to work from home safely and effectively. It will 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.

Before removing any equipment from your office, you will need to inform your line manager of the type of equipment you are planning to use at home and your manager needs to agree to this. Your manager will make a note on the asset register of the equipment you will be taking home. You can view the asset register, along with guidance on how to achieve the best possible workstation set-up, here.

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 once you have taken any equipment from the office to enable you to work at home.

Please consult the manual handling guide when you are transporting and setting up your equipment.

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?

All Unitemps workers in a current assignment will be paid their normal anticipated working hours up until Friday 1 May 2020, or the contract end date, whichever is soonest. Please continue to submit a timesheet via the Unitemps website for the hours you would normally work. This applies whether or not you are able to work from home. Timesheet deadline dates and pay dates will remain the same.

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.

We will be contacting those this applies to individually, and a letter will be issued to the temps effected via email. During this period, you will not be expected to submit weekly timesheets via the Unitemps website. Those this applies to will have received an email by 10am on 18 April. If you are not working from home, and have not received this email, please contact Unitemps.

It is very important that furloughed temps do not submit a timesheet after Friday 1 May 2020, nor will furloughed temps be able to work for Unitemps during the furlough period.

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. With your manager's agreement you are to submit timesheets as normal up until 1 May 2020, or the contract end date, whichever is soonest. You can read the current NHS advice on self-isolation at this link.

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


Self-isolation

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 record it on the hub for you.

If you are feeling ill and are not able to work, please contact your manager as they will need to record this on the hub also.

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’ve been asked to self-isolate but I don’t have any symptoms?

If you feel well enough to attend work (i.e. if in normal circumstances, you would come into work) but are following advice to self-isolate and are able to work from home, your manager will support you to work from home.

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).

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.

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 not ill but have concerns about working

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

We have closed the campus, apart from essential services. If you are involved in these services, 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 have 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 now.

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 all annual leave must be used within the current leave year, with the normal maximum of five days’ carry over applying.

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 that leave could be ‘re-imbursed’ in these circumstances. However, it is now 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.

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

The Government have 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. We are not classed as ‘key workers’ and therefore we expect that most colleagues will be able to take their annual leave as normal. Annual leave is a very important element of work life balance and we need to ensure we are all getting 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 all annual leave must be used within the current leave year, with the normal maximum of five days’ carry over applying.

Business queries

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

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have now 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 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 0116 250 6366 and we will provide help however we can.

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.

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 Skype, phone and via emails, rather than face-to-face.
 
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