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Staff: frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak

This set of FAQs has been created to help and support you, either as a line manager or employee, with questions from yourselves or your teams regarding coronavirus. These FAQs are based on advice and guidance from ACAS and the CIPD and will be updated as required.

Throughout the FAQs are Line Manager Action and Employee Action points – please ensure that you act on these, as appropriate, to help the University manage and respond to the risk and management of coronavirus.

For information on teaching or working remotely, visit the SharePoint site.

If, after reading the below FAQs you have outstanding related questions, please contact us.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, such as MERS-CoV and SARS (Cov).

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, sever acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.

Learn more about Covid-19 at the NHS website.

The safety and welfare of our staff is our main priority and the University has processes in place for dealing with Covid-19 (Coronavirus). Where the University becomes aware of any confirmed cases of COVID-19, these matters are handled in accordance with government guidance.

As a University, we understand the level of concern that the current situation is causing. Please be assured that the health, welfare and safety of our staff, students and everyone involved with the University of Bradford, is our number one priority.

The University is holding regular meetings with key members of staff to review the risks and take appropriate action in response to any changes.

As of Tuesday 17 March 2020, we have temporarily suspended face-to-face teaching until further notice.

As of Friday 20 March 2020, we have moved towards maintaining a limited staff presence on campus, based around those essential services and activities that will be required to continue on-campus. 

Across the organisation we are advising managers that, where possible, they should identify team members who can work from home and make arrangements for this to happen.

We are monitoring official advice and information and will continue to make decisions in light of any new developments and announcements from Government.  Every effort is being made to keep employees and students up to date to reduce the risk of exposure in the University through the usual communication channels, and further information is available and this will be updated regularly.

  • Employee Action:  Please ensure that you regularly check the website, so that you are up to date on how the University is responding, and any action you may need to take.
  • Line Manager Action:  Please ensure that you regularly check website, and that your team are aware of this so they can keep themselves up to date with how the University is responding, and action they may need to take.
  • Employee Action:  Please make sure that you have updated MyView with your most up to date contact numbers and emergency contact details.
  • Line Manager Action:  Please make sure that you and your team have updated MyView with your most up to date contact numbers and emergency contact details.

The University has also provided hygiene guidance, which is available on the Health and Safety SharePoint pages and there are now additional hand sanitisers across campus and staff and students are encouraged to use these.

  • Employee Action:  If you are on site, please make use of the hand sanitisers on campus, however, regularly washing your hands with hot water and soap is highly advisable to help reduce/prevent the spreading of infection.
  • Line Manager Action:  If your team is required on site, please ensure they are aware of this, and that regular washing of hands with hot water and soap is highly advisable to help reduce/prevent the spreading of infection.

Remote working is new to many staff in the University. 

It is key that you discuss and agree with your line manager what work, if appropriate, you will be doing. 

It is important that you share with your line manager any change in your circumstances – for example, caring responsibilities or illness – and agree, if and how you will be able to work from home.

Below are some key pages that you will find useful:

Working Off Campus: this page has guidance and information on how to access our online applications and systems remotely.

Remote Working: this page provides useful advice and information on how to remote work effectively, including how to manage and support teams. This will also provide information on how to balance working from home with caring responsibilities for those staff who will be doing both.

It is very important that you balance your work life with your home life now that they are both in the same place – please check our wellbeing pages for more information and support.

Employee Action: 

  • Make sure you have agreed with you line manager what work you will be doing from home, if any, and how you will both keep in touch with each other. 
  • Make sure that you can access our online systems and applications as appropriate for the work you will be doing.
  • Keep your manager up to date with your circumstances – if something changes, let them know
  • Check the remote working pages above for useful information and tips
  • Looking after your wellbeing

Line Manager Action:

  • Make sure your team understand what work they will be doing and how you will all be keeping in touch
  • Be in touch with your team regularly, even if they are unable to work
  • Check the remote working pages above for useful information and tips
  • Look after your wellbeing

In the first instance you, or your employee, should follow the advice on the NHS website.

Please contact your line manager as soon as possible to discuss the symptoms that you are experiencing and whether or not you are well enough to be able to work at home.

If you or your employee are ill there is no expectation that you or your employee should work.  All sickness absence should be reported in accordance with the University Attendance Policy and Procedures (which can be accessed on HR ServiceNow). 

Where employees are sick, the University’s usual Attendance Management policy and procedure and sick pay entitlements apply.  The employee should report their absence in line with usual reporting procedures and an absence record opened in MyView.

If you or your employee are showing mild symptoms or are self-isolating and are able to continue working remotely then please continue to do. 

Some colleagues are better able to work remotely than others – we accept and understand this and would ask colleagues simply to operate the best as they are able.

Employee Action:

  • If you believe you have these symptoms you should contact your line manger as soon as possible.
  • You should discuss with your line manager the symptoms that you are experiencing and whether or not you are well enough to be able to work at home.
  • If you are unable to work because you are unwell or are self-isolating, please record your absence on MyView – see guidance below.

Line Manager Action: 

  • If your employee is unwell, please ensure that the attendance management procedures are followed, and that MyView records are updated.
  • If your employee is self-isolating and well enough to work, you should advise them that the University expects them to work remotely. In this circumstance, pay and other benefits will continue as normal. 
  • We do recognise that some employees are better able to work remotely than others, and so you should discuss with them how they will work from home and acknowledge that they will need to operate remotely as best as they are able.
  • You should also maintain regular contact with them during the period of self-isolation.
  • Make sure your employee has recorded their absence on MyView.

We understand that there are some groups of people who have been identified as being at higher risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus; please refer to the government guidance on this at www.nhs.uk

If you are a line manager you should have a one to one discussion with employees who have identified as, or you believe may be in higher risk groups or are pregnant etc, and discuss with them a risk based approach to supporting their health and wellbeing.

Employee Action: if you believe you are in a high-risk group you should discuss this with your line manager so that appropriate temporary arrangements can be put in place.

Line Manager Action: 

  • Have a conversation with those staff that are identified as in higher risk groups, and put in place appropriate temporary arrangements and keep these under regular review.
  • Please seek advice from HR as required.

Many employees are being impacted by the closure of schools and other facilities, or due to the illness of a family member, which means that you or one of your team may have sudden caring responsibilities for others. 

If this is the case then please contact your line manager as soon as possible to discuss the caring responsibilities and agree if and how you will be able to work from home, and how you will stay in touch.

In these circumstance, the University will assume that you are working remotely, and pay and other benefits will be maintained.  This is a variation to our current practice for the duration of the COVID-19 threat. 

You can find more information about balancing working from home with caring responsibilities here.

Employee Action:

  • If you have sudden caring responsibilities because of COVID-19, you need to report this to your line manager as soon as possible.
  • Discuss if and how you will be able to work from home.
  • You need to report your circumstances on MyView.

Line Manager Action:

  • Discuss with your employee their caring responsibilities, discuss and agree if and how they will be able to balance working from home with these responsibilities.
  • Make sure your employees record their circumstances appropriately on MyView.

The University will be tracking self-isolation and sickness using MyView and a new category for recording these types of absence has been created.

If you are working from home under normal circumstances, or as a result of the University’s decision to ask some staff to work from home for social distancing reasons, you are not required to record this.

If you are experiencing sickness for another reason, then you should record this as sick leave in the usual way. 

Please record any instances using the holiday/absence section of MyView and, under the ‘Coronavirus’ absence reason, select ‘request new’ action to record the reason and duration using one of the categories below:

 

  • Working from Home (WFH) – self-isolating for 14 days – after returning from overseas travel. Select if you have returned from overseas travel and are self-isolating in response to government guidelines, but do not feel unwell and are therefore able to work from home remotely.
  • Working from Home (WFH) – self-isolating for 14 days – due to experiencing mild symptoms. Select if you have a new continuous cough and/or high temperature and/or breathing difficulties and are self-isolating in response to government guidelines, but do not feel particularly unwell and therefore feel able to work from home remotely.

  • Working from Home (WFH) – self-isolating for 14 days – may have been exposed to COVID-19/someone in the household with symptoms. Select if you believe you have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 (suspected or otherwise), but do not feel unwell and are therefore able to work from home remotely.
  • Working from Home (WFH) – caring responsibilities – due to COVID-19. Select if you have caring responsibilities due to the impact of COVID-19 (e.g. school closures) and you are able to work from home remotely.

  • Sickness absence (SICK) – self-isolating for 14 days – after returning from overseas travel. Select if you have returned from overseas travel, feel unwell and are therefore unable to work.
  • Sickness absence (SICK) – self-isolating for 14 days – may have been exposed to COVID-19/someone in the household with symptoms. Select if you believe you have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 (suspected or otherwise), feel unwell and are therefore unable to work.
  • Sickness absence (SICK) – self-isolating for 14 days – due to experiencing symptoms. Select if you have a new continuous cough and/or high temperature and/or breathing difficulties and are self-isolating in response to government guidelines, feel unwell and are therefore unable to work.

  • Caring responsibilities (CARE) – due to COVID-19 and not working. Select if you have caring responsibilities due to the impact of COVID 19 and you are not able to work from home remotely due to the nature of your role.

  • Working in the NHS – this is for staff how may be asked to work in the NHS

Line Manager Action:  Please ensure your team are aware they record their leave on MyView.

Employee Action: Record your absence on MyView.

The University cannot prevent an employee from taking their annual leave, which may involve them travelling in their personal time, either within the UK or abroad.  However, we would strongly urge them to read and comply with FCO guidance on International travel.  If they do choose to travel to a destination with restrictions for personal reasons, they will be expected to take action to self-isolate on their return.

Yes, if any staff are unwell, self-isolated, have had holidays cancelled or indeed do not wish to travel at this time, you can cancel your annual leave in the usual way via MyView.

All staff are entitled to take their annual leave, and if you wish to book annual leave at this time, please book in the usual way via MyView and in line with your teams local arrangements for cover etc.

The University is aware that taking all of your annual entitlement may be more difficult in the circumstances, and will provide further clarity on how much can be carried forward in the coming weeks.

Following the government’s announcement to move to the ‘delay’ phase, the University Coronavirus Response Team has taken the decision to suspend all business-related overseas travel.  UK business travel should be only undertaken for business critical work and is subject to central approval in line with the University’s duty of care to both staff and students.  If you are affected by this decision, then please contact your line manager in the first instance.  We appreciate that this will cause some disruption but it was felt the best way to keep people safe and healthy.

We understand that some of you will want to support the local NHS and Social Care services by offering to work with them, where you are fit and able to do so and have the appropriate current professional registration. We want to support this where we can. Therefore, any member of staff wishing to do this needs to make a formal request via the Dean of the Faculty and should only be agreed following a discussion with their manager regarding essential work at the University during this period.

New temporary assignments will only be issued if they have been approved by the Dean/Director with confirmation that the work can be done from home.

Requests which were submitted prior to 13 March 2020 will be reviewed and may proceed with approval from the Dean/Director.

Existing assignments which include fixed hours will have payment honoured. Managers should submit timesheets electronically with electronic signatures to HR-timesheets@bradford.ac.uk

Existing assignments which include variable hours will have payment honoured, calculated on the average of hours already worked. Managers should submit timesheets to HR-timesheets@bradford.ac.uk

 

Requests to commence recruitment advertising

No new posts are to be advertised unless deemed business critical by the Dean/Director and HR Business Partner. A clear plan will need to be developed by the Recruiting Manager as to how the recruitment process will be conducted remotely and what will happen when a successful candidate is appointed.

Live adverts

Live adverts will remain live until the closing date.  Recruiting Managers should liaise with the Resourcing Manager as to next steps; options include notifying applicants the post is on hold or to proceed to shortlisting.

Shortlisting

All recruiting managers should speak with the Resourcing Manager to identify whether it is practical to proceed to interview or whether a holding email is sent to applicants

Interviews – already scheduled

Recruiting managers have been contacted to identify whether video conferencing interviews are appropriate (where all panel members and candidates are available and have video conferencing access) or if a holding email is sent to delay the interview process. 

Interviews – already taken place

Panel packs to be sent electronically to HR-Recruitment@bradford.ac.uk if possible.  As a minimum the scores and candidate identification to be sent electronically with verification original has been seen and it is a true likeness. 

Offers of employment – no start date confirmed

 

Where possible, start dates should be delayed until Campus re-opens.  If business critical and the Dean/Director and HR Business Partner agree, we will proceed to issuing unconditional offers and onboarding.

Offers – start date confirmed

We will proceed as normal and continue to on-boarding.  HR to liaise with the line manager to ensure they are briefed on how best to induct a new starter remotely and expectations are clear. 

New starter to commence

New starter will be set up on resource link and payroll will be notified.  The employee will receive an IT username and security code, so they are able to create an IT password for Novell access.  New starters are to use their own personal IT equipment during this period.

New starter appointments with HR

 

These will proceed via Skype video.  Employees will be asked to show evidence of identification via video and to follow up with sending a photo of the document via email.  Record to be kept of all new starters during this period to ensure on return to Campus, they can be invited into HR to provide original documents.

 

 

Executive Board have agreed that any deductions for gym membership and car parking will be suspended from April onwards, whilst the Campus is closed.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) are extending the duration of the ticket MCard holders have bought, so that any unused value can be used when things get back to normal.  As yet, they have not confirmed what the process will be for doing this but will confirm arrangements as soon as they are able to.

Should you wish to contact YYCA about your Annual MCard, email the Sales Team at prepayments@westyorks-ca.gov.uk

From Monday 16 March, Northern Trains have made a change to their refunds policy for customers who have Annual Season tickets through their company scheme. They will offer pro-rata refunds for unused portions, in-line with standard policy, but all admin fees will be waived. The refund will be calculated based on the number of days and months the ticket has been used up to 40 weeks usage. Any ticket that expires within 12 weeks of surrender, there will be no refund value left on the ticket.

If you wish to surrender your season ticket, you should do the following;

1. Email human-resources@bradford.ac.uk with your name and the date you will stop using the ticket. The Smart card will be deactivated from this date and the refund calculated accordingly.

2. Return the season ticket by post to the following address. This will apply to both Smart cards and paper tickets: Specialised Sales, Northern Trains Ltd, The Travel Centre, Leeds Station, New Station Street, Leeds, LS1 4DY.

3. The sales office will email the HR Service Centre with the card value details, and any necessary adjustments will be made to your salary.

Northern will not be able to freeze or extend the term of the ticket.