Covid-19 HR Advice and Guidance Covid-19 HR Advice and Guidance

For information on sickness absence and pay arrangements please see our welfare section

The Government Job Retention Scheme (furlough)

The COVID-19 outbreak has had a huge and immediate impact on our organisation. We need to respond to the outbreak to protect staff wellbeing and the interests of the University both now and in the long term.

The University has decided to continue to operate with staff working from home wherever possible. This creates a difficulty where there is no work that can be carried out from home. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, announced by the Government on 20 March 2020, allows the University to retain staff as employees during this period, which involves placing people on period of leave that the Government is calling furlough. More information can be found in the Furlough FAQ

Annual leave

We appreciate that employees may not wish to take holiday during this uncertain period, although we would recommend managers encourage employees where possible to still do so.  We also have a duty of care to ensure that everyone takes the statutory minimum of 28 days per year.  However, we recognise that these are exceptional circumstances and in order to accommodate this and enable us to operate normally when the current restrictions are lifted we will allow employees to carry forward any holiday they have not taken (over and above the statutory minimum) for the holiday year 2019/20 over the next two holiday years. 

For clarification, the statutory minimum of 28 days per annum includes 8 bank holidays and 6 University customary days, therefore colleagues will need to book a minimum of 14 days annual leave (pro rata for part-time staff) to ensure the statutory minimum of 28 days is taken.

How should I calculate the Statutory minimum holiday for part-time staff?

Part-time staff should always receive annual leave on a pro rata basis to full time employees on the same terms of appointment. Further guidance and an Annual Leave Calculator can be found here: https://www.uea.ac.uk/hr/employee-information/leave/annual

In addition to the basic annual leave entitlement, full time employees receive a total of 14 bank holidays and customary days (pro rata for part-time staff). An S&C employee, for example, working 0.5fte would have a total holiday entitlement of 17 days comprising 10 annual leave days and 7 bank and customary holidays – the first 14 days taken from this holiday allowance would be considered as the Statutory minimum 14 days (pro rata to 28 days).

Please use link above to calculate basic holiday and bank/customary entitlements for non-standard/variable working patterns which may differ from the example above.

Additional arrangements for staff supporting Covid-19 related activity

Following new government guidelines, some colleagues who have been prevented from taking leave for reasons related to the Covid-19 epidemic, for example, those  who are undertaking, or  deployed into, full-time roles to support Covid-19 related activity may be able to carry over some more leave.  If this is the case, you should speak to your manager if you are prevented from taking the statutory minimum leave. Further guidance about when and how this might apply is available from your HR Manager.

Recruitment

As part of our business continuity plans we have taken the decision to postpone any scheduled recruitment interviews until further notice.  We are mindful that there are a number of interviews scheduled for this week;  if it is your intention to continue with these due to the appointment being business critical, please ensure you liaise with your HR Adviser/HR Manager immediately to discuss the feasibility of these continuing. We will be updating our vacancies page to reflect this.  Please note that candidates will not be able to attend the interview or assessment in person. The interview will need to take place via Skype (or equivalent) and arrangements for any testing will need to be modified accordingly. 

In addition, given the practicalities of making offers of employment to individuals when it is unclear when we will return to normal University business, we will also be putting in place a recruitment freeze with immediate effect until the end of June 2020.

Annual Review

Regrettably, we have also had to take the decision to suspend a number of Annual Review processes for:

  • Support staff
  • The Academic Related Review process for ALC staff
  • ATR, ATS and RA staff
  • The Professorial Review

Any submissions/applications made will be kept on file until such a time these can be reviewed.  Any cases of confirmation of appointment for academic staff should be discussed with you HR Manager.
 

Lone Working

In order to ensure the safety and welfare of people who may be lone working and working from campus who may need to use their offices please observe the social distance protocols please remember that:

If you are working after 7pm (or at weekends), please contact a friend or colleague to advise them that you are lone working, advise them of the time you intend to complete lone working and advise them when you leave the university.  This person should have available the contact number for Security (01603 592352) and details of the location where you are working.  If you do not contact them prior to the anticipated end time of your lone working they should contact Security to let them know you have not been heard from and your location.People with significant health conditions (e.g. risk of heart attack or stroke) should not work alone.
If you’re taken ill when working alone and it is an emergency, ring 999.  If possible, also ring Security on their emergency number 2222.  Also note, that the security staff are first aiders and can be contacted for first aid out of hours.

MyView

Please could we ask all colleagues to access MyView (from the Portal) and ensure that their contact details are correct?  This will aid our ability to contact you should we need to.

Purchase cards

Purchase card holders have already been advised that spending limits will be reduced to zero as soon as possible.  This is to help us preserve the university’s cash reserves.  Cardholders have been advised of the process to follow should they have a need for exceptional spend.

Staff expenses

We have previously advised that there should be no staff travel (domestic or international) on university business.  With immediate effect please do not book any new conference attendance with an expectation that these will be refunded through the staff expenses system.  Conferences should, in any event, be booked by purchase order or purchase card and not through the expenses system.

Some colleagues will have made bookings for travel and claimed reimbursement via the personal expenses system.  If you subsequently receive a refund from the travel provider, your credit card company or insurers please pass these sums to the university.  This may be done by sending a payment direct to our bank account (sort code: 20-62-61, account number: 30918202).  Please email cashiers@uea.ac.uk at the same time telling them that you have made a payment and what it relates to.

Can I travel overseas for work?

No work-related international travel should be undertaken by any UEA staff member effective immediately March 13 until the end of the current period of lockdown on 7 May 2020. The position will then be reviewed and further information provided. We ask anyone who is planning to attend international conferences within that period to contact your host and cancel these activities. Please inform your line manager of action taken on this and where possible seek refunds of any costs. No additional costs should be incurred from 16 March 2020 in respect of international travel during this period.

We advise all staff to adhere to the Government's instructions and not to undertake non-essential work-related travel. Please join meetings via video or teleconferencing where practical. If you are in any doubt please ask advice from your supervisor/line manager.

Volunteering

In these extraordinary times, it’s essential that we all pull together.  UEA has introduced a Staff Volunteer Bank, established in response to COVID-19, to match staff who have spare capacity with UEA services and activities that need additional staff. The NHS has also called for members of the public to sign up as NHS Volunteer Responders. More information on volunteering

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