Frequently Asked Questions and Advice for members
Official Sources of Advice and Information
Please follow the official NHS advice for your own and others’ safety. Beware of rumours and emails that may look official but may not be.
Sheffield Hallam University – Key Sources of Information
Use the following links for advice and information on homeworking, health and safety and management/HR issues.
SHU – Coronavirus impact: information for staff (the main gateway for staff)
Remote Working Guide (advice from DTS on working from home or remote locations, includes hints and tips, IT advice and information
https://sheffieldhallam.sharepoint.com/sites/3005/polproc/SitePages/Coronavirus.aspx (policies, procedures, guidance and health, safety and wellbeing)
Working from Home – DSE Guidance (important advice on how to set up your working space correctly at home)
Staff Wellbeing Resources (looking after your health while working from home)
Employee Assistance Programme (a range of services available online or by telephone)
Your Rights at Work
UNISON – Coronavirus: your rights at work (overview of employee rights from UNISON. Members should contact the Branch if you need support)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ADVICE FOR MEMBERS
Q: Will sickness absence trigger points apply if I am sick with coronavirus?
If you are sick – for any reason – while you are working from home, you should still report that to your line manager, as it still needs managing and support providing.
However, the University has confirmed that sickness due to coronavirus will not be counted against trigger points.
Q. Will PRF (grievance, disciplinary) cases continue during the lockdown?
It would not necessarily be desirable to suspend all PRF activity in a blanket way, for obvious reasons. However, there are clearly difficulties attached to pursuing and investigating issues. UCU and UNISON have asked for a case-by-case approach to be applied, and this has been agreed. UNISON nationally are checking the legal position on virtual representation. Please contact the Branch should any issues arise.
Q. Will casual and zero hours staff be paid?
The University’s current guidance states:
We would confirm that anyone employed by the university on the above basis will be paid for the hours they are scheduled to work in the remainder of March and for the month of April. You will therefore receive your anticipated income for this period. Any hours should be claimed in accordance with the normal processes.
This situation will be reviewed mid-April. Where it is possible and appropriate, you may be directed to undertake work from home. Your Line Manager will clarify this with you should this be the case.
Staff in this position include associate lecturers, sports coaches, and wellbeing practitioners.
For the avoidance of doubt, “scheduled hours” includes timetabled activity about which you may not have been informed yet.
Q. How are agency staff affected?
Because of the closure of the University, some agency staff will have been informed that they are no longer required. In some cases, expected end dates may have been brought forward.
Where this happens, the University will honour payment to the original end date if that is within a reasonable time period, even if no more work is required or expected.
Q. What is happening with annual leave?
Everyone should plan to use their annual leave in an appropriate way this year, although holiday plans may change. It is important that staff get their rest time, even if it has to be spent at home.
Where a planned holiday was cancelled before the end of the professional services leave year on 31 March 2020, staff were permitted to carry over an additional five days on top of the normal three day allowance.
Should you wish to change pre-booked annual leave from 1st April 2020, the advice is to discuss this with your line manager.
Note that the Government has amended the regulations on carry-over of untaken annual leave. See this page on the Government website. The new Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 specify that if “in any leave year it was not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some or all of the leave to which the worker was entitled under this regulation as a result of the effects of coronavirus (including on the worker, the employer or the wider economy or society), the worker shall be entitled to carry forward such untaken leave” for two years.
This regulation is aimed at key industries and public services where staff may not be able to take leave due to the nature of their work during the public health emergency.
In Universities it should in all but highly exceptional circumstances be “reasonably practicable” to take time off work and so the amended regulation will not apply. If you think the regulation does apply to you, please discuss this with your line manager in the first instance, and let the Branch know if you need any advice or support.
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