Information for staff

If you have coronavirus symptoms or have tested positive:

Leicester lockdown

General

When will the campus re-open?

In light of the Leicester lockdown our plans for re-opening the campus had been put on hold and reversed in some areas. As the Government has now commenced the easing of the local restrictions, the University will now look at re-introducing the phased return to campus previously communicated. Phase one will return to pre lockdown levels, and we will commence the phase II research return program in a controlled manner on the 3rd August. This will be in line with health and safety guidelines and risk assessments.

We are working hard to ensure clearing can and will operate on campus. Room preparations are well advanced. Again this will follow health and safety guidelines and risk assessments.

In addition, we are looking at the feasibility to commence limited face to face teaching commencing in September / October 2020

Activity on campus

I have booked a slot to come onto campus and collect things from my office. What should I do?

Please book a slot to visit Campus. Please note there are limited number of appointments available each day, so please be flexible with your planning. You will need to have undertaken the return to campus training accessible via this link Return to campus e-learning training and be registered on SafeZone.

I have booked a slot for a team meeting on campus. Will this still be able to go ahead?

As the Government has now commenced the easing of the local restrictions, the University will now look at re-introducing bookable meeting rooms on campus.

Meeting rooms at Stamford Court and venues in Oadby Village are now available to book online. This is in addition to booking teaching spaces to record lectures to prepare for next year. We have set up a safe environment so you can meet in small groups in a careful and controlled way. Guidelines are made clear as you go through the booking process.

Will I be able to access IT Support on campus?

As more staff return to campus to work, we will continue to work to resolve issues without needing to meet face to face. Where this isn’t possible, an appointment will be made to provide appropriate support.

For staff who are shielding or who are uncomfortable coming to campus, we will discuss other options that avoid the need for a visit.

When will the Library reopen?

The Library has started a click and collect service for academic staff and postgraduate researchers and is working to expand this to other users. There is currently no entry into the Library building for study or browsing. During next week they are introducing more services:

  • From Monday 10 August, 10am, book returns via the external book drop at the front of the David Wilson library will be available for all University staff and students.
  • On Wednesday 12 August, Archives and Special Collections will start a consultation and appointment service for academic staff and postgraduate researchers needing to access their collections.
  • During the week commencing 17 August, bookable study spaces for University staff and postgraduate researchers, expansion of click and collect and restarting postal loans for our distance learners will start to be phased in.

Further details will be available from Monday on the Library website.

Research

How do I find out if my research is able to resume on campus?

Schools and Departments have identified priority research activities for access to research facilities on campus, balancing need against building capacity and safety. This includes research which is essential to our financial and reputational sustainability, funded research which is coming towards and end and where final results must be generated and research which underpins the completion of academic qualifications where this cannot be further delayed (largely postgraduate research). Individual researchers, including postgraduate researcher students, should contact their Head of School or Head of Department for advice in the first instance.

Health and safety

How are we ensuring that staff are able to work safely?

The University are implementing the following personal safety steps with immediate effect:

  • The 2 metre social distancing rule will continue throughout our campus. In some teaching spaces, social distancing will be at 1 metre plus other measures including the use of face coverings and high quality ventilation.
  • The wearing of face coverings inside buildings, unless there is a medical indication not to wear one, you are in a single occupancy office or you are eating or drinking, is mandatory. The University will provide a reusable face covering but you may need to supplement this with your own, to account for washing days.
  • Wearing a face covering around campus and during travel to campus is advisory but not mandated (unless for example, using public transport where it is mandated by the government).
  • Those staff that are required to wear a PPE mask for their work should continue to do so following existing procedures.
  • Room layouts and capacities have been reviewed
  • Hand sanitiser, signage and (in some cases one way systems) have been implemented in all open University buildings
  • This guidance has been reviewed in light of the changed local arrangements and following advice from our public health academics. We will regularly review this position.

Will it be mandatory for staff and students to wear a face covering?

Unless there is a medical reason why an individual cannot wear a face covering, they are in a single occupancy office or they are eating or drinking, it is mandatory to wear them when inside University buildings.

Whilst it is not going to be mandatory at this time, we strongly recommend staff and students wear a face covering when they are traveling to campus and when they are around the external parts of the campus.

Staff required to wear PPE masks for their work should continue to do so following the procedures already in place.

Will the University provide face masks for staff coming onto campus?

Your wellbeing

I am currently shielding. What should I do now?

The Government has written to those who are extremely clinically vulnerable to inform them that from the 1st of August, (or the date determined by your location - if notified that this is different) they will no longer need to shield and can return to work, though if they can work from home, they should continue to do so.

If you are "extremely clinically vulnerable", you will not be expected to return to work on campus.

If however you wish to return to work on campus, you must discuss this with your line manager to ensure appropriate clinical risk assessments are undertaken and a referral to occupational health is made.

Please note, this will only apply if your School or Department has been given authority to recommence working on campus.

I am classed as an essential worker but I am also clinically vulnerable. What should I do?

Clinically vulnerable staff can only return to work after the completion of an Individual Clinical Vulnerability Assessment.

What should I do if I think I have symptoms of Corona Virus?

For staff or students who live in Leicester there are four test centres and appointments can be booked nationally nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or call 119. We encourage anyone who has symptoms or if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has had symptoms, to get tested as soon as possible. You must also follow Government Guidance regarding self-isolation.

I have been subject to harassment. What support is available from the University?

The University takes a zero tolerance approach to racial harassment, discrimination and hate incidents, and will not tolerate this behaviour. When such incidents occur, we will take strong, direct and immediate action to address them. Anyone who experiences or witnesses racial harassment, discrimination or any other form of unacceptable behaviour, on or off campus, is urged to contact the University about this. For students, please contact report and support and staff should email the Equality Diversity and Inclusion team or call 0116 373 6420.

Campus closure

When will the University be re-opening?

We will review this position based on Government advice and we will send regular updates to you via email and through The Citizen when we know more. 

How can I collect something from campus during the closure period?

This service has been paused due to the new Leicester Lockdown restrictions. 

We have now introduced a ‘click and collect’ service where you can book a slot to collect items from campus. Timeslots are available online, with more dates being added all the time. Timeslots for each day will close for bookings 72 hours before. We will use this time to check through bookings to ensure people will be visiting the site safely and ensure access to the relevant locations is reinstated to your staff ID for the time you will be on campus.

If you have any queries please contact securityoffice@le.ac.uk or call +44 (0)116 252 2023. We also have a set of FAQs available online which may answer your question.

I have been identified as delivering a critical activity. What do I need to do?

If you are required to attend site in order to deliver critical activities, it is now mandatory for you to download and use the University’s security app, Safezone.

Once downloaded, you will need to sign up using your University of Leicester email address. You will also need to check in each time you arrive on campus. The app has an auto-check in facility and we would advise you to turn this on.

In addition, if you are normally required to clock in, please do so as normal at the start of your shift  Using Safezone in this way will enable us to understand how many people are on campus and where they are. By having this information, it will be easier for us to fulfil our obligation to limit the risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading, and undertake our duty of care to our staff and students.

What will happen to post deliveries whilst the University is closed?

This services has been suspended due to the Leicester Lockdown restrictions.  

We will still be receiving the Royal Mail post for as long as it is delivered. We will not be delivering post to departments. If you are expecting anything specific, please contact the ECS Service desk.

Will Attenborough Arts Centre remain open?

The Attenborough Arts Centre closed on Saturday 21 March for the foreseeable future. We took this decision to protect the users and visitors of the centre, many of whom have underlying health conditions.

Is the gym open?

The Roger Bettles Sports Centre opened again on 1st September 2020. The Danielle Brown Sports Centre will reopen on 21st September 2020.

Critical workers

What is a critical worker?

There are two main categories of ‘critical worker’, as articulated below:

  1. The first category is where the work is required to fulfil Home Office responsibilities in respect of animal welfare, essential research work including maintaining cryogenic storage, supporting NHS activity, and ongoing research in relation to COVID19.
  2. The second category is where they are part of the team required to support the above activities and to reduce the burden of need on the emergency services. These services include: on site security; providing wellbeing support and services, including the provision of food for students and any key workers who are living in our university accommodation; ensuring our buildings remain safe and compliant for other critical workers to continue their work as detailed above; attending to any emergency situations (eg loss of buildings or IT).

A large number of these staff are in Estates and Campus Services and include Security; Porters and Facilities Assistants; Cleaners and Domestic Assistants; the Accommodation team; Reactive Maintenance; Planned and Preventative Maintenance.

What rotas are we running?

Where possible we will be adjusting rotas to reduce the total number of staff on site each day and to allow for best practice in terms of social distancing and safe working. In some cases we have already been able to do this. As the closure continues, we may be able to further streamline the numbers of staff on site and we will continue to review the position based on the latest Government advice.

How are we ensuring that staff work safely?

We have undertaken an extensive review to ensure that the only staff that are asked to attend work are those that are providing critical support. Where staff are unable to attend work due to underlying health conditions, caring responsibilities, illness or are required to self-isolate (themselves or members of the same household), arrangements have been put in place to support them. We will continue to keep in touch with all such colleagues on a regular basis.

We have regularly reminded colleagues that they must practise social distancing, wash their hands regularly, not touch their face and use appropriate PPE as required. We will continue to emphasise the importance of this over the coming days, weeks and months.

We have also made it a requirement for all critical workers to download the University’s security app, Safezone. Staff must also check in via the app whenever they arrive on campus. Using Safezone in this way will enable us to understand how many people are on campus and where they are. By having this information, it will be easier for us to fulfil our obligation to limit the risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading, and undertake our duty of care to our staff and students.

Health, safety and wellbeing

Our staff health and wellbeing pages have been updated and we have redesigned the Staff Health and Wellbeing Support Toolkit with more resources to ensure that staff feel supported during this time. These updated resources include fitness plans, mindfulness apps, learning ideas, general home-working advice and more.

Occupational Health are continuing to receive management referrals and hold consultations with staff albeit virtually over the phone or via Microsoft Teams if preferred.

In relation to health surveillance regimes, the Team are following HSE advice and have developed their paper screening form to ensure that staff are still reporting any changes to their health even if they cannot attend a planned a face to face health surveillance appointment.

What can I do to protect myself from contracting coronavirus?

Read the World Health Organisation (WHO) advice on protecting yourself. Read more about signs and symptoms from the WHO, from the Public Health England and NHS 

University of Leicester Professor Mike Barer, Professor of Clinical Microbiology – who is leading pioneering work on virus detection – has shared his top tips to stay healthy:

  1. Wash your hands. If you touch a contaminated surface your hand picks up the virus. Even then you can eliminate the risk of infection if you wash your hands properly. Do this frequently, particularly before eating or after hands may have been contaminated; the Government advice to repeat ‘happy birthday’ twice is a good way to wash for long enough.
  2. Alcohol based hand-rubs can substitute when hand washing is not available. Infected people may cough, sneeze or breathe out the virus that can contaminate exposed surfaces and be moved around on our hands.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. These areas are most vulnerable to infection. As far as we know, infections are only transmitted when the virus contacts the mouth nose or eyes, or is breathed in.
  4. When phones are exposed, they can be contaminated. Wiping down any phone you use with an alcohol-based wipe will help eliminate contamination.
  5. What about handshakes and masks? As cases of coronavirus grow, avoiding handshakes will reduce your risk – stick to fist or elbow bumps instead. Masks can stop you touching your nose and mouth but have little effect on breathing in virus unless specially designed.

I am worried about a pre-existing health condition and contracting COVID-19, what should I do?

If you are worried about your health and the impact of contracting Covid-19, you should speak to your GP and/or NHS111 as a priority.

Existing advice remains unchanged in that those who are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable, or who have a shielding letter should continue to work from home where possible. 

If there is a need to return to work, you should not do so until the relevant risk assessments have been carried out. Please find our Health and safety COVID-19 resources and risk assessments.  Please also refer to our Occupational Health advice.

Should I self-isolate and what are the guidelines for doing so?

Follow the advice provided by Public Health England to decide whether you need to self-isolate. If you do self-isolate, please contact your line manager to let them know.

If you have been advised to self-isolate at home by NHS 111, your local health team or GP, please follow the NHS advice whilst in self-isolation.

What is an Isolation Note?

Isolation notes will provide members of staff with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work. The notes can be accessed through the NHS website and NHS 111 online. After answering a few questions, an isolation note will be emailed to the user. If they don’t have an email address, they can have the note sent to a trusted family member or friend, or directly to their employer. The service can also be used to generate an isolation note on behalf of someone else.

Do I need to produce an Isolation Certificate?

No, there is no requirement for staff members to produce an isolation certificate at this time. We do ask staff members to declare if they have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or displaying symptoms by completing an on-line form for reporting purposes.

What should I do if I’m worried that someone else has contracted coronavirus?

If you are concerned about someone who feels unwell encourage them to visit one of their local testing stations, or to contact the NHS on 111 or use the NHS 111 online questionnaire. They should not go to their GP, hospital or pharmacy.

Reporting absence and self-isolation

What do I do if I  think I have Coronavirus?

  1. If you develop symptoms, you are required to self isolate and request a test. Visit the NHS Covid-19 testing site for more information.
  2. The University have developed an on-line form for members of staff to complete if they have symptoms or a confirmed case of coronavirus.  The online form can be found here.
    Please note that should you require a period of sickness absence please inform your line manager and report your sickness on ‘employee self-serve’
  3. If you have been on campus, notify your line manager that you have symptoms and are awaiting a test. Let your manager know of any other staff members or people that you have been in contact with at work.
  4. If you test positive, use the NHS test and trace service. Notify your manager that you have tested positive.
  5. If you have been in contact with someone who has the virus, follow the guidance set out on the NHS site.

 

Remote working

Can I work from home?

Please refer to the following documents for guidance on how you can work from home:

I do not have a University laptop - can I request one?

While we do not have additional stocks of laptops available, if you need a University staff laptop to work remotely, contact the IT Service Desk (preferably by phone), who will discuss options with you, your line manager, Head of School or Director of Operations.

How do I access university files or systems from home?

If you have a University staff laptop (Windows 10) use University Remote Access (VPN). All of Office 365, including online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint can be accessed from office365.le.ac.uk. Your Personal Z: drive is available through MyFiles. You can store files using OneDrive or using a Team Collaboration Space. If a member of staff is identified as critical to running their department, but doesn’t have a University laptop, they will be provided an alternative option, such as University Remote Desktop to access University files (e.g. Shared Departmental X: drive) and systems (e.g. SITS and SAP).

How can I hold an online meeting?

You can hold an online meetings in the Microsoft Teams app. Install the Microsoft Teams app on your mobile phone or laptop/desktop computer. Microsoft Teams is the University’s recommended video conferencing tool. The University will not reimburse personal subscriptions to other video conferencing tools, for example Zoom. For teaching activities use Blackboard Collaborate or Reflect lecture capture.

Can I forward calls from my University phone to personal mobiles/landlines?

Yes, you can forward calls from your University desk phone to another number. Contact the IT Service Desk if you need your phone to forward your calls, but you are not able to access your University desk phone. If you have been provided with a University mobile phone, you must include your University mobile phone number in your email signature, so that people can call you on your mobile.

Can I take home equipment to use whilst I’m away from campus?

It is University policy that staff should not take equipment home except for University staff laptops and mobile phones. This is to satisfy the University insurance arrangements, however there may be some flexibility in these circumstances that needs to be agreed on a local basis.

How can I access my University email off campus?

You can access your University email from any modern web browser. Go to webmail.le.ac.uk. Enter your full University email address (username@leicester.ac.uk)

How should I conduct a PhD interview?

All interviews should take place by phone/skype or other digital platform; interviews should not be conducted in person. Remember to keep a written record of the interview and include a copy of the interview record with the decision sheet if an offer to be made.

How can I edit files off campus?

All of Office 365, including online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint can be accessed from office365.le.ac.uk. Your Personal Z: drive is available through MyFiles. You can store files using OneDrive or using a Team Collaboration Space.

I am increasingly struggling with my home work station set up, what should I do?

All staff working at home can complete the ‘Help with Temporary Homeworking Training’ and in the guidance staff are presented with 3 options to enable them to set up their home work station to meet ergonomic requirements. If you are experiencing any discomfort or feel you need additional equipment, please report these issues to your line manager immediately to enable appropriate measures/action to be taken.

Your work life

What is the reporting procedure if I have COVID-19, am displaying symptoms, or I am required to self-isolate?

Follow NHS guidance on self-isolation, inform your line manager as soon as possible and complete an online reporting form.

Will University employed staff continue to be paid?

All University employed members of staff will continue to be paid, whilst the campus is closed and staff are working from home, absent due to ill-health, self-isolating, caring for dependents or unable to work from home due to the nature of their role. We will keep this position under review as the national position and guidance evolves.

I am on a fixed-term contract or an open ended contract that is subject to funding. Will I be paid?

All staff members on fixed-term contracts and open-ended contracts subject to funding will continue to be paid up until the end of their contracted period, unless notification is received to extend the contract due to the requirement for further work and funding is confirmed.

I have a UNITEMPS contract, will I be paid?

We will continue to pay Unitemps workers where there is a requirement for contracts for services and planned work is in place. Should a worker be scheduled to work with Unitemps but due to unforeseen circumstances the work is no longer required, the University committed to honour the agreement and pay the worker up until 8 April 2020.

Will the University be supporting staff who cannot work during the pandemic with the Job Retention Scheme?

We can confirm that the University has accessed the  Government’s job retention scheme for staff members during this period.

Can Unitemps requisitions be processed as normal during this period?

Yes, if there is a requirement for a Unitemps worker you are required to complete a requisition form. Any new requests will be considered by a Head of Division or Director of Operations in conjunction with their respective HR Business Partners.

What happens if a Unitemps worker becomes unwell?

The worker is required to report their absence and the reasons for the absence by contacting their manager. The worker will receive Statutory Sick Pay subject to the worker meeting the statutory requirements.

Will I be paid if I am unwell?

You need to report your sickness. Contractual sick pay will be payable for the period of your sickness absence.

Will I be paid while I am self-isolating?

If you are self-isolating, you will be entitled to special leave with pay. Where possible you are expected to work from home during this period. If you become unwell during the self-isolation period, please inform your manager. This will then be recorded as sick pay.

Am I able to work from home during the self-isolation period?

If you are required to self-isolate, you should discuss the practicalities of working from home with your line manager.  Where working from home is possible and agreed with your line manager you will receive normal pay, as opposed to sick pay.  However, the time will be recorded as self-isolation for our monitoring and reporting purposes, and recorded as working time for pay purposes.  For some areas of the University, where home working is not an option, staff will be permitted to take special leave of up to one working week.  Should you develop COVID 19 symptoms during your period of isolation you are required to inform your line manager and complete the reporting form.  The absence will then be classed as sickness absence.

Are further closure days likely?

The University have a number of bank holidays and closure days scheduled in a leave year which is in addition to a staff member’s leave entitlement. These will remain in place. In addition and in recognition of the extraordinary efforts and contributions from University staff during the Covid-19 crisis, the University will extend the August bank holiday weekend, by awarding all staff with an additional university closure day on Friday 28 August 2020.

Will graduation be cancelled?

Regrettably, we now have taken the difficult decision to postpone our graduation ceremonies which were due to be held on 14 to 17 July 2020.

We know that this will be disappointing news for our final year students but the safety and wellbeing of graduands and guests is our primary concern. We have also taken into account in this decision the ongoing uncertainty around how long restrictions on travel and large gatherings will remain in place, and the impact of this on our ability to prepare for graduation ceremonies and on your ability to plan to attend with your guests.

Please be assured that all students will still be given the opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony. These will be held during the 2020/21 academic year, and further information will be available in due course.

What is the Admissions policy for offer holders/imminent arrival of students?

All new students will be automatically deferred to September 2020 and the PGR admissions team will be in touch with them accordingly. April-July DL PGR offer holders can be permitted to register before September if this is their preference provided the Academic Department and the PGR supervisors are able to support the student with all the required remote access and supervision they would have in normal circumstances.

I have a visiting PhD student who wants cut their visit short and return home, what do I need to tell them?

All students who wish to return home can do so and you should recommend them to check all FCO guidance as well as direct them to the FAQs for applicants and future students on the website.

If someone contacts me about PGR, how should I respond?

  • Please pass all enquiries regarding starting study during April, May, June and July to pgradmissions@le.ac.uk
  • Do not provide visa/ATAS or immigration advice, refer these enquiries to pgradmissions@le.ac.uk
  • Do not offer to pay costs already incurred by applicants due to delayed start

Be sensible and realistic with start dates for forthcoming offers – we will default to September 2020 unless the start date required is after September.

If people enquire about ELTU, how should I respond?

Refer all enquiries regarding ELTU study to pspadmissions@le.ac.uk so that the correct advice is given. Please allow PGR Admissions to automatically defer PGR offers if an ELTU offer is also deferred to align start dates. We will advise you of the revised start date.

I am a Unitemps worker but the work is no longer available because of COVID-19, can I benefit from the Government’s furlough schemes?

The University acknowledges that these are unprecedented times of uncertainty and anxiety for all. Understandably many temporary workers, are finding themselves in financial difficulty as a result of the Covid-19 situation. We are sure that you can appreciate that the same level of temporary work normally required at this time by the University is not the same.

Many of you have asked about Furlough which as you are aware is a Government initiative. The University is working very hard with key people to review the situation to be able to provide you with a definitive response to this scheme. A further communication will be sent as soon as possible.

I work part-time and not scheduled to work on Friday 28 August (the additional closure day awarded to all staff) will I lose out?

All staff are entitled to a pro-rata equivalent of the ‘total leave allowance’, which is made up of bank holidays, closure days, and bookable leave days.  Therefore, everyone’s ‘overall’ entitlement increases as a result of the extra day being awarded.  For those staff that work a Friday, it makes no difference to the bookable leave, as they can’t come into work that day, so have to use part of their ‘total quota’ to account for them not being in, whereas for those who don’t work a Friday, the additional day is subsumed into their bookable figure because there is no other away to allocate it (proportionately, depending on their FTE and working pattern).  This ensures that part-time staff who are not scheduled to work on a Friday are not placed at a detriment compared to a full time staff member. The on-line annual leave calculator has been adjusted to take into account the additional closure day awarded in August 2020.   Staff should visit the on-line calculator and reinput their working pattern, and their leave will be adjusted proportionately.

Your home life

What is the University’s position for parents/carers who would be required to stay at home if schools/nurseries were to close for a prolonged period of time?

Many of us are adjusting to working from home (as well as home schooling our children and/or looking after dependants). We recognise this is a challenging time for everyone with many staff balancing working from home with other important personal commitments. The President and Vice Chancellor in his messages to staff has offered reassurances and expects staff to do only what is possible. We request that staff members discuss and agree with their manager the work and priorities that can be completed whilst working at home, respecting that the normal pattern of working and hours may need to vary.

Will our on-site nursery close if the University closes?

Yes, the on-site nursery’s workforce are University employees, and as such we have a duty of care to them.

Am I classed as a ‘critical worker’?

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a list of “key workers” whose children will be prioritised for schooling during general closures because of coronavirus. Schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a number of children but will be closed to the majority from Monday 23 March.

The University have a number of staff members who meet the definition of a “key worker” set out by the Department of Education. The DfE confirmed that "the intention is for ‘specialist education professionals’ to be a sufficiently broad definition to cater for business-critical staff in higher education settings.

The government has also published guidance which states: If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

I am not a critical worker covered in the Department of Education (DoE) guidance but the work I do has been identified as ‘critical’ in the contingency plan. What should I do?

There are certain key critical activities that will be required to be maintained during the University closure period. Plans have been developed locally to resource these critical areas. Staff will be required to work in these areas unless they are unwell, self-isolating, have caring responsibilities or a pre-exiting health condition (covered in the Government guidance).

Will the university contribute to the cost of heating, lighting, broadband or any other equipment if I am working from home?

At this time the University will not be making a separate financial contribution for staff working at home during this period for normal household expenses such as heating, lighting, or Council Tax costs. The rationale for this is:

  • The requirement to work from home is being mandated by the UK Government
  • By supporting staff to work from home the university should be able to provide a flexible response for staff to cater to the ever changing situation
  • Any saving in travel to work and car parking fees would assist in mitigating the additional cost
  • Special Leave provisions and Sick Pay provisions have been amended to ensure staff are not at a detriment for following Government advice

However, you may be able to claim tax relief directly from HMRC for some of the bills you have to pay because you have to work at home on a regular basis at the current time.

The amount of tax relief you can claim will depend on your own personal tax position and as a result the University is unfortunately not able to provide any specific advice to individuals.

Further information on eligibility and how to claim is available on the HMRC website

Research and enterprise

What are the implications of coronavirus for research and enterprise funding and activities?

To find out what the implications of coronavirus are for research and enterprise funding and activities, visit the staff SharePoint pages.

Teaching and learning

Where can I get support with moving to Ignite (dual delivery of learning)?

Whether or not your students are learning wholly online, or partly on campus, the most essential thing you can do is to be responsive and provide clear communication about what you are expecting from your students and what they can expect from you. 

For 2020-2021, our online and on campus provision is guided by the principles of Ignite. You have a colleague in the LLI as a liaison contact to assist you and your colleagues in preparing your teaching. 

Refer to the copious advice on using the core digital technologies (Blackboard, Collaborate, Panopto, MS Teams, TopHat). Short tutorials and more information is in the self-enrolment Blackboard site:  Discover Your Digital Learning Environment.

What teaching/support/assessments are being offered to students through CITE in the Summer Term?

CITE has announced to current students and applicants that our summer PSP Modules B, C , D and E will be delivered online only. Last year around 750 students progressed onto degree programmes from these modules.

If students decide to defer their admission to January, they will have the alternative of studying Modules D and E in the autumn, the latter being offered exceptionally this year. Modules A, B and C will also be running in the autumn, the first time that the ELTU has offered all modules in a term. Delivery of PSP to support recruitment is and will remain our priority. All Modules will be delivered online and we are exploring the possibility of also delivering Modules D and E on campus too.

We also exploring providing additional in-sessional support this summer for Masters students who are writing their dissertations remotely.

Our EAP and EMI Teacher Development Programmes and eight International Summer Programmes have been cancelled but we are developing some short online taster sessions for students of key partners.

 

Guidance for managers

Where a member of staff reports a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus

Was the employee experiencing symptoms (in particular a cough) whilst at work?

If yes:

  • Inform immediate colleagues.
  • Identify anyone with whom the member of staff was in close contact (within 2m) whilst symptomatic and inform them. The risk increases the longer that someone has close contact with an infected person.
  • Those who have had close contact should follow the latest Government Guidance regarding self-isolation
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using standard cleaning products, as per PHE guidance

If no:

  • Advise the member of staff to stay at home and follow PHE guidance
  • Inform immediate colleagues that a colleague has symptoms and will be self-isolating, but that they did not have symptoms whilst at work. In line with current government guidance, if someone has no symptoms then they are not considered to be infectious.
  • Advise members of staff to be vigilant for symptoms.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using standard cleaning products.
  • Remind staff of the importance of regular hand washing/use of hand sanitisers as per PHE guidance.

Colleagues with underlying health conditions, predominantly lowered immunity or respiratory health problems may experience increased anxiety at this time. They should not be discouraged from social distancing.

Coronavirus reporting process

  1. Member of staff should speak to their Manager at the earliest opportunity to inform them of any of the following:
  1. A qualified health professional has confirmed they have COVID-19
  2. They are unwell, and displaying symptoms of COVID-19
  3. They are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19, but are required to self-isolate in line with the latest government guidance.
  1. Member of staff must then complete the on-line form.
  1. If the member of staff is unwell, the absence must also be recorded in the normal way in terms of sickness reporting (eg via ESS/MSS, etc).
  • Where a member of staff/manager is unable to access the relevant system for sickness recording (eg they are off site with no access to MSS), they should still complete the on-line form, and update the appropriate sickness system once back at work.
  • The absence will be treated as sick leave, with the normal sick pay appropriate to that individual being applied.
  • At this time, a ‘fit note’ will not be required, as per the Government’s current advice.
  1. The sickness reason for absence should be recorded on SAP as either:
  1. Coronavirus – confirmed by health professional; or
  2. Coronavirus – suspected in line with symptoms of fever and continuous cough.
  • If the status of the absence changes, eg the member of staff moves from a suspected to a confirmed case of coronavirus, the reason for absence must be updated accordingly (again, on return to work if this is not possible remotely, and on both the on-line form and sickness system).

The manager should maintain regular contact with the member of staff, and implement appropriate support, as required.

Employers

Can I still contact the Employer Engagement Team?

Our teams continue to maintain communications and engagement with our many employer, industry and other partners in the UK and internationally. We are encouraging employers to arrange virtual meetings with us over the phone, Skype or Microsoft Teams, and our advisers will be in touch to confirm any rescheduling of meetings or details of how to maintain contact. Our e-mail, website and platforms remain active and you can continue to reach us and utilise these resources.

Are any Careers Events taking place?

We have cancelled all on-campus activity until further notice.

We offer a range of virtual opportunities to continue engagement, including online workshops. We will work with you to suggest how we can engage students digitally. We are still planning our upcoming Festival of Careers in October 2020 - please see the website for updates on this. 

Can I still advertise opportunities?

Please use our online portal, which you can continue to advertise placement, internship and graduates vacancies through.

Can I still find placement students?

Employers still searching for placement students can continue to access our recruitment services support and attract candidates.

Business and Industry Partners

For help and innovation support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), please speak directly with the Leicester Innovation Hub Team by calling 0116 373 6471 or by emailing leicinnovation@le.ac.uk.

Our work at the Leicester Innovation Hub is continuing, with the team now operating remotely. We are doing all we can to support our staff, students and our network of businesses. We are using technology to ensure we can continue to collaborate - both internally and externally - without needing to meet in person. The team continues to deliver free or heavily-subsidised innovation support which is part-funded through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Please contact us:

Collaborative & Industry Research Projects

Consultancy, Facilities, IP & Professional Development

Whilst the university is physically closed, professional and academic staff will seek to operate as normally as possible from remote locations, accessing email and using video conferencing facilities. Accessing many research facilities and equipment will not be possible, and this will limit the progress of consultancy, research, innovation and technical project which require their use. Face-to-face training and education has ceased at this time; where possible we will be seeking to deliver this using web-based learning platforms.

Visitors and events

Are events on campus going ahead?

For the foreseeable future, all University of Leicester events are cancelled while campus is closed and lockdown is in place. Some will be rescheduled in due course, but nothing can be confirmed yet. Open Days and Offer Holder Days are being replaced with online events.

Job Retention Scheme

Please note: Government advice and guidance on the Job Retention Scheme/furlough leave is being updated regularly. Responses provided in the below FAQs may change in line with this.

What is furlough?

Furlough leave is part of the government's package of support for organisations affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. In this scheme staff who cannot perform their duties can be furloughed but their job will be retained such that when the crisis allows work to resume they can return to work. If applied the university will receive up to 80% of your salary from the Government, up to a cap of £2500 per month, and the University will cover the balance. Your contract will remain and your pension payments will continue. You will not be permitted to carry out any work for the University (your project) during the period you are on furlough leave. You will, however, be able to complete training relevant to your role and this is highly recommended.

Can I be placed on furlough leave now?

The rules for the Job Retention Scheme changed from 1st July 2020 and therefore only those individuals who have completed a period of 3 weeks furlough leave at some point between 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2020 will be eligible for future periods of furlough. Therefore if you are now in the position where you are unable to work you need to speak to your manager in the first instance about the options available

What should I do if my fixed term contract end date is up-coming?

The University understands that this will be an anxious time for many. As reassurance, the processes for reviewing of contract renewals has not changed during this shutdown period, and you should contact your immediate line manager in the normal way if you have any queries in respect of upcoming contract end dates, or visit the HR website for further information in respect of processes.

Would I lose my emails or other resources?

Whilst you will not be permitted to carry out work for the University you will retain email access and access to all other resources (e.g. university issued laptop).

I have received a letter saying I have been put on furlough leave - what does that mean?

The letter constitutes notification of a variation to your terms and conditions of employment setting out that you have been put on furlough leave due to you not being required to attend work for the stated period due to the COVID-19 crisis. If you accept this variation, you will not be able to carry out any work for the University during the period you are on furlough Leave.

You can however, undertake training or volunteering work provided you follow public health guidance and are not:

  • Making money for the University;
  • Providing services to the University.

How will this affect my other terms and conditions of employment?

Although you are not required to work during the period of furlough leave, your contract of employment will continue, which means your continuous service and employment rights are unaffected.

Will my pay be affected?

You will continue to receive your normal basic gross pay which will be subject to the normal deductions for tax, national insurance and pensions contributions.

Will it affect my pension?

There will be no impact on your pension as a result of being on furlough leave, and this is the case for in the USS, AVIVA and NHS Schemes.

I contribute to the USS investment builder - will I be able to continue doing that?

You can continue to make payments in to the USS investment builder in the usual way.

Will I be able to continue making additional contributions to the investment builder?

You can continue to make payments in to the USS investment builder in the usual way. 

Can I refuse to go on furlough leave?

Furlough Workers will not see any change to their pay and terms and conditions, these will not be affected. Therefore we are seeking staff agreement to the period of furlough leave as this will enable the University to protect jobs longer term. The University plans for accessing the Job Retention Scheme have been discussed with all three of our recognised trade unions.

If however you have concerns, please discuss these with your line manager and/or HR in the first instance.

I had booked leave during the furlough period - what will happen to that?

We actively encourage staff to take annual leave, and guidance on this was issued by the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer on 2 April 2020 and 3 April 2020 respectively. If you have leave booked which falls during a furlough period, you can take this as planned. However, if you wish to cancel and rearrange within the guidelines issued, then please discuss this with your line manager.

Can I be asked to undertake any work whilst on furlough leave.

You will not be permitted to carry out any work for the University during the period you are on furlough leave. You will, however, be able to complete training relevant to your role

Can I access my emails whilst on furlough leave?

We recognise that some people use their work email for personal matters so you will still be able to access your emails as this will enable you to keep up to date with the regular communications from senior management. However, you must not send or respond to any work-related emails while you are furloughed.

Can I still work on my laptop whist on furlough?

You are not permitted to work while you are furloughed but you can continue to use your laptop. 

Can I undertake voluntary work during furlough leave?

You can undertake training or volunteering work provided you follow public health guidance and are not:

  • Making money for the University;
  • Providing services to the University.

Training could include undertaking mandatory training courses for PDDs which are online.

Can I be taken on and off furlough leave?

Furlough leave must be for a minimum period of three weeks. At the end of the three-week period, if work becomes available the University can require you to return to work. This could be on a temporary basis, after which you could be put back on furlough leave again for a minimum period of three weeks.

I have another job outside of the University - will this be affected if I am put on furlough leave by the University.

If you have a job with another employer, each job is treated separately, and you can be put on furlough for each job.

What happens at the end of the furlough period - will I return to my substantive role?

You will have the right to return to your substantive role at the end of the furlough leave period. If as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, there are any proposed reductions in service or staffing, you will be consulted in the normal way and will have the same employment rights as you did prior to going on furlough leave. 

Can employees on furlough leave be made redundant?

You will not be selected for redundancy on the basis that you are on furlough leave. However, if there are any proposed changes to staffing then you will be consulted in line with the University’s policies and procedures in the same way as all other members of staff.

I am on furlough leave but other colleagues doing the same role are not - why is that?

There may be some areas where a reduced service is being run and therefore some staff are required to continue. In these circumstances, we will ensure that selection of staff for furlough leave is carried out in a fair and transparent manner. 

If there is a reduction in work once the COVID-19 situation is over will employees on furlough leave be automatically chosen for redundancy ahead of those that remained at work?

You cannot be selected for redundancy on the basis that you were on furlough leave. However, if there are any proposed changes to staffing, then you will be consulted in line with the University’s policies and procedures.

I am currently on unpaid leave, can I be put on furlough leave instead and be paid?

Members of staff on unpaid leave cannot be put on furlough leave unless the unpaid leave began after 28 February 2020.

I am currently on sick leave – can I be put on Furlough leave?

You cannot be put on furlough leave whilst you are off sick. In these circumstances, you will continue to receive sick pay to which you are entitled. 

Who should I contact if I have further questions on the Job Retention Scheme?

You can contact the dedicated email address with any queries.

Flexible furlough

What is flexible furlough and will the university be making use of it?

With effect from 1 July 2020, employers are able to furlough eligible staff for part of their working hours (known as flexible furlough). This means staff who have been placed on furlough leave can be working some of their hours and on furlough leave for the remainder.

The guidance surrounding flexible furlough is complex and HR and payroll colleagues have been working through this to establish a process for the university. Guidance on flexible furlough can be found in the below document and links to supporting paperwork are also included. A number of FAQ’s have also been developed to answer questions about flexible furlough however if you have queries that are not covered please contact furloughscheme@leicester.ac.uk

  1. Flexible furlough guidance (docx, 42kb)
  2. Business case template (docx, 30kb)
  3. Timesheet template (xlsx, 17kb)

What changes were made to Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme with effect from 1 July 2020?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was originally scheduled to finish on 30 June 2020. This has now been extended until the end of October with some changes to the original provisions.

Previously staff could only be put on furlough leave if they ceased work completely for the duration of the period they were designated as being on furlough – i.e. they were not permitted to undertake any work at all on behalf of their employer. In addition, the minimum period that an individual could be furloughed for was three consecutive weeks.

With effect from 1 July 2020, employers will be able to furlough eligible staff for part of their working hours (known as flexible furlough). This means they will be working some of their hours and on furlough leave for the remainder.

There are also changes to the amount of salary that an employer will be able claim back from the government which will be reducing on a sliding scale from August onwards.

I am currently on furlough leave, how will I be informed if I am required to resume work for some or all of my contracted hours?

If you are required to return to work (whether this is working from home or on campus), your manager will speak to you to explain the reasons why and discuss the detail of what hours you will be required to work. This will then be confirmed in writing to you.

I am currently on furlough ‘until further notice’ and have not heard from my manager. Does this mean I will remain on furlough?

Yes, unless you are notified otherwise by your line manager, your furlough arrangement will continue. Your manager will continue to maintain regular contact with you to ensure you are updated on any developments in the usual way.

I am currently on furlough due to caring responsibilities – can I be asked to return to work part-time?

If you are required to return to work your manager will discuss your specific circumstances with you and where possible agree measures that will enable you to resume work. If it is not possible to find a solution then your manager may agree for you to continue on full-time furlough.

I was on furlough leave during the period from March – June but have since resumed work – can I be put on furlough again?

Yes if needed your manager can put you back on furlough for some or all of your contracted hours. However if this is the case, your manager will contact you in the first instance to discuss this with you. This will then be confirmed in writing.

I have not previously been on furlough leave, can I be put on flexible furlough now if my circumstances have changed and I am not able to attend work or work from home?

No, only staff that have previously been on furlough leave for the minimum period of one three-week block are eligible to be put on furlough after 1 July 2020. The only exception to this is staff who are returning from statutory maternity/paternity/shared parental leave.

If I return to work part-time will this affect my pay?

You will continue to receive full pay for your contracted hours.

If I return to work part-time will this affect my holiday entitlement?

Your annual leave entitlement will not be affected as your terms and conditions will continue to be based on your contract hours

If I am sick on days when I was due to work – how will this be recorded?

Sickness absence should be reported and recorded in the normal way. You will receive sick pay to which you are entitled.

If I am asked to return to work part time on flexible furlough will my hours/days be fixed or can they vary from week to week?

The days and hours you will work will be agreed between you and your manager. Where possible the days and hours will be fixed for the period that you are on flexible furlough however there may be the need for some flexibility on how the hours are worked depending on an individuals circumstances

Can my manager ask me to do any work on the days when I am on furlough leave?

You will not be permitted to carry out any work for the University during any period you are on furlough leave.

I have two contracts with the University – can I be asked to return to one and remain on furlough for the other?

You may be asked to return to one of your posts and not the other under the flexible furlough arrangements however you need to ensure that you are keeping both managers up to date on your circumstances so that they are aware of any other commitments you have.

What happens when the furlough scheme ends – will I be required to return to work?

The purpose of flexible furlough is to allow some flexibility during the transition period of July – October 2020 when the UK government is planning to slowly ease the lockdown measures. It is also there to support staff who have been on furlough leave with the ability to start to transition to returning to work full time. The circumstances for individual employees will differ and should be discussed with your line manager in the first instance.

If I am asked to return to work on campus what arrangements are in place to ensure that it is safe to do so.

The health, safety and wellbeing of staff and students has been central to all plans to reopen the Campus. All staff required to return to campus should refer to the guidelines on Sharepoint (links below) which set out the measure that have been implemented to ensure that the Campus is COVID compliant. Any staff members currently shielding due to coronavirus risk or displaying symptoms of coronavirus should not attend campus under any circumstances without discussing in advance with their line manager.

Annual leave

I have read previously that I should take 60% of my leave by mid-September – is there a specific date?

Yes, we are suggesting this is Friday 18 September 2020. However, for those identified as critical workers within the University or who are supporting the NHS, this can be extended following discussion with your manager.

I have purchased additional annual leave through the University ‘ALPS’ scheme, do I need to take a proportion of this leave by 18 September?

In line with the Vice-Chancellor’s announcement, staff should work with their manager to identify when they will take the 60% of their total entitlement (including ‘ALPS’). In the event it is not possible to take all the annual leave entitlement the University in exceptional circumstances* has approved the carry forward of up to 10 days (pro rata for part time staff) from this leave year to the next leave year. Staff members who have purchased leave through ‘ALPS’ will not lose this leave, if there is not an opportunity to take in this year staff can defer some leave into the 2021 leave year.

In order to balance staff taking their leaving and operational pressures during this period the University will not be offering a second round for staff to purchase additional leave in May 2020.

Will there be an opportunity to buy leave for 2021 in November this year?

Whilst at the moment we expect there to be an opportunity to buy leave via ‘ALPS’ in the normal way in November this year, this will be kept under review and an announcement made should a decision be made not to proceed.

I have agreed with my manager that I can carry leave over into 2021, can I buy more leave if an opportunity is made available to do so later this year?

If you are carrying over leave into 2021, it is unlikely that you will be able to apply for ‘ALPS’. However, in line with the scheme rules this decision is subject to the agreement of your manager and will be considered alongside operational requirements.

Will there be any impact on annual leave? Can I cancel leave during a period of closure to take this another time?

The University encourages staff to use their annual leave as planned at regular intervals throughout the leave year, and all staff should ensure they are regularly taking leave to the amount broadly proportional to the point in the year (e.g. halfway through the year, staff should aim to have taken broadly half their annual leave allowance, with agreement from their line manager). The University permits the carry over of 5 days annual leave from one leave year to another. Unless you are specifically requested by your line manager to urgently assist during this pandemic and postpone your leave, it will be assumed that booked leave will be taken. When the University reopens, arrangements for taking annual leave will be required to be discussed with your manager.

I wish to cancel my leave but my manager is not allowing me to do so, is this correct?

It has been reported that many colleagues have attempted to cancel leave over the coming weeks.  

We recognise that the current situation is difficult and it may continue for some time. For your own health and wellbeing, and to ensure you do have a break from work, you are required to take a proportion of your annual leave entitlement. 

In ensuring that leave is taken, and you do have time away from work, your manager will be in contact to discuss and agree a plan for you taking a proportionate amount of your total leave for the rest of the year (this includes ‘ALPS’ for those that have bought it), in line with operational requirements. The expectation is that 60% of their total entitlement (including ‘ALPS’) will be taken by 18 September 2020, unless there is a specific agreement to vary this approach. Any variation should only be in exceptional circumstances*.

We appreciate that staff may wish to cancel leave at this time, and we wish to offer flexibility to staff, where it is practical to do so.  Should the cancellation of leave be agreed in discussion with your manager, there is a requirement for you to rebook leave to both meet operational requirements, and the requirement to take 60% of your leave entitlement by 18 September 2020.

Will staff be allowed to carry forward more than five days leave?

The University will flex, in discussion with members of staff and their manager, the current annual leave carry forward arrangement of a maximum of five days, by allowing the carry forward of up to 10 days where operationally the leave cannot be taken this year.

*Key workers supporting the NHS, essential workers required to attend campus, those on long term family leave or long term sick leave. This is not an automatic right to carry over but managers in conjunction with HR will be able to review under these circumstances.

I am planning on going abroad on holiday, will I be required to quarantine for a period of time on my return?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues to advise against non-essential international travel, except to countries and territories which are on the exempt list and the University recommends that staff comply with this advice.

Before you travel you must ensure that your leave is approved by your line manager. Whilst you are away you should ensure that you review the FOC guidance regularly as it may change during your holiday and affect your ability to return to work as planned.

If you are travelling abroad, then when you arrive back in the UK, you will not be allowed to leave the place where you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK (known as ‘self-isolating’) unless you’re arriving from an exempt country.

Therefore, if you are due to come back to work after travelling home from a country which is not exempt, you should:

  • Work from home for any quarantine period required, if possible. If your role requires that you have returned to on-site working, you must discuss with your manager prior to travelling whether you can work from home for your self-isolation period (which may include different duties or tasks) and how any onsite duties may be covered;
  • If you cannot work from home, you will need to discuss the potential length and arrangements for your absence with your manager prior to travelling and, if agreed, you should either;
    • Book additional days annual leave to cover your quarantine period; or
    • Take unpaid leave for your quarantine period.

During my holiday abroad, the country status altered and it was no longer exempt, what should I do?

Please telephone or organise a ‘teams’ call with your manager on your return from your holiday to discuss possible options e.g work from home during the self-isolation period.

If whilst you are away the government declares that the county or territory you are in is no longer exempt you must contact your line manager at the earliest opportunity to discuss the options as detailed above. In this circumstance only, paid leave may be granted for the required period of isolation if you are unable to work from home.