FAQs for staff

Page last updated: Friday 27 March 11:45

This page is being regularly updated to reflect the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), World Health Organisation (WHO) Public Health England (PHE) and other sources including local partners. We are monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and its impact, and doing all we can to make safe and reassure our staff and students.

Read the University's latest statement on COVID-19

This page contains information including:

Questions for staff

1) Questions relating to employees supsected or diagnosed with Covid-19 UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

I have been diagnosed with Covid-19 (coronavirus) – how should I inform my line manager?
Do not come into work.  You should inform your line manager by telephone or email as soon as possible and agree how you will keep in touch.

I am being tested for Covid-19 (coronavirus) – what should I do?
Do not come into work.  Telephone or email your line manager to inform them as soon as possible and make arrangements to update your line manager by phone or email as soon as you have the test results.

I have am self-isolating – what should I do?
Do not come to work. You should inform your line manager by telephone or email as soon as possible about the fact that you are self-isolating and the reason for this. 

What should I do if I become unwell at work?
If you become unwell at work with coronavirus symptoms you should go home and refer to current NHS guidance, available via the links below:

How can I find out more about Covid-19 and self-isolation?
You can find out more on the following websites:

2) Questions relating to employees with underlying health conditions:UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

I have an underlying health condition and I am worried about attending work – what should I do?
The government has issued guidance for those with underlying health conditions. You should discuss any concern regarding attending work with your line manager as soon as you can.

3) Questions relating to sick pay and payment during self-isolation UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

Will I be paid whilst I am self-isolating?
Yes – the University will pay any member of staff who is self-isolating, due to Covid-19.

Will any Covid-19 related absence count towards my sick pay entitlement?
No - the University will need to keep a record of absence related to Covid-19, including absences related to self-isolation.  However absences related to the virus will be discounted for the purposes of sick pay entitlement and absence management. 

I am employed on Support Staff terms and conditions of employment and I am still on probation.  Do I qualify for Sick Pay? 
Yes - the University has agreed a temporary change to policy allowing Support Staff who are on probation to qualify for sick pay if the sick leave is related to Covid-19.

Do I have to provide a sick note (fit note) if I have Covid-19 or if I am advised to self-isolate?
The University recognises that due to the particular current circumstances relating to Covid-19 it may not be possible for you to provide a sick note (fit note), particularly for self-isolation. However, if you do have a sick note (fit note) please ensure that you send this to your line manager as soon as you are safely able to do so.

I am due to start working at the University and have been told to self-isolate – will I still get paid?
Yes – your employment with the University will be effective from the date specified in your contract of employment. However you should liaise with your line manager to ensure that your details (and in particular your bank account details) are entered onto University systems to ensure payment can take place.

Will I be asked by the University not to attend work and if so will I still be paid?
You may be asked by the University not to attend work, for example, if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or if you live with someone with Covid-19 symptoms. If you are asked not to attend work it is important that you do not do so. You will continue to receive your usual pay.

4) Questions relating to payment for essential workers during restricted campus operations UPDATED - 27 March, 11:45

What is the payment for essential workers during the restricted campus operations?
In recognition of the groups of staff who will be required to support essential services across campus during the period of restricted campus operations, an exceptional, special payment of £75/week (£15/day) subject to tax and NI, will be paid to this group of staff.

Who is eligible to receive this payment?
All staff up to and including grade 8, regardless of terms and conditions of employment will be eligible to receive this payment if they are required to work on campus during the period of restricted operations.

Is the amount subject to tax and NI deductions?
Yes – the amount is subject to tax and NI deductions.

Will the amount be pro rata for part time staff?
Yes – the payment is a flat payment of £75/week or £15/day for those staff required to work on campus during restricted campus operations regardless of the number of hours worked each day.

Can the amount be paid on a monthly basis in the normal pay run?
No – as the University will be operating in a period of restricted campus operations, processing exceptional payments of this kind will create additional pressures on the payroll team. There will be one total payment made for the weeks applicable from 30 March – 31 May, paid in June salaries.

5) Questions relating to recording general sickness absence or sickness absence relating and to Covid-19 UPDATED - 27 March, 11:45

Will absence from work be recorded?
Yes - the University will need to keep a record of absence related to Covid-19. However absences related to the virus will be discounted for the purposes of absence management and sick pay entitlement. 

How do I record my sickness absence related to Covid-19?
Please do not record this sickness absence in Core Systems. 
Instead you should advise your line manager of any Covid-19 related absence and they will inform their designated point of contact. The University will be required to report to government bodies on absence related to Covid-19 so it is important this information is fed through in a timely manner.

Do I need to notify my manager if my reason for absence changes? 
Yes, if your Covid-19 related reason for absence changes because you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus you will need to contact your line manager and inform them of the change.

Do I need to contact my manager each day?
No, you are not required to contact your line manager every day but you should keep in contact frequently to keep them updated on your situation.

What should I do if I cannot get in contact with my line manager?
If you are unable to contact your line manager you should contact their designated representative or your HR Adviser.

Should I report absence related to Covid-19 even if I am not due to work on that day?
Yes, you should inform your line manager of any Covid-19 related absence even if you are not due to work for some or all of that period.

If I am working from home do I still need to notify my manager if I have to self-isolate or if I have confirmed Covid-19?
Yes, if you are working from home you must notify your line manager of any change in your circumstances related to Covid-19.  You must also inform your Line Manager if you need to take sickness absence for any reason other than Covid-19. 

How should I report sickness absence that is unrelated to Covid-19?
If you have any sickness absence unrelated to Covid-19 symptoms and you are unable to work, please report this as you normally would to your line manager who can then record this on Core Systems.  Please also continue to advise your line manager if you are unable to work for any reason whether or not it is Covid-19 related. 

6) Advice and support for staff who are worried about their wellbeing and Covid-19 UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

I have an underlying health condition and am worried about attending work – what should I do?
If your health condition is identified by Public Health England (PHE) as putting you at higher risk if you were to contract Covid-19 then you should discuss this with your line manager as soon as possible. Detailed PHE guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults.

What support is there for staff who are worried about their wellbeing and Covid-19?
The University wellbeing services – Workplace Wellness provides a 24/7 helpline for immediate emotional support, debt management services, general advice and information. The helpline access number is: 0800 1116 387.  

In addition the University’s wellbeing services are available remotely (by Telephone or Skype) for Employee Advice and Listening, Disability and Occupational Health Management Referral appointments. Staff with existing appointments will be contacted directly.

The charity, Mind, has provided information and support in relation to coronavirus and your wellbeing.

Are Occupational Health appointments still available to staff?Occupational Health clinical appointments (for vaccines, blood tests and health surveillance) are for the moment suspended following the latest PHE guidance.

7) Questions relating to employees working from home UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

How should I work from home?
The University has transitioned to a remote working and restricted campus operations. Please refer to detailed guidance online for more information.

The Remote Access Service allows you to access your University files and data wherever you are. The service can be accessed on any computer running Windows, macOS or Linux.

For off-campus access, you also require a smartphone that has a Two-Factor-Authentication (2FA) application installed such as Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator.

Information and guidance about working remotely from home is available on the Human Resources webpage and at KB14867 on the IT Service Portal.  

We are experiencing unprecedented use of the University's Remote Access solutions as a result of the current situation. Not every service needs you to use our Remote Access Service, and many are available via web-browsers over any internet connection. For guidance on which ones you can use without Remote Access and best practice ways to work with University systems, please refer to KB14883 on the IT Service Portal.  

Information provided on the IT Service Portal is regularly updated according to feedback received and identified IT issues. It is recommended that you check the IT Service Portal regularly for updates: itservicedesk.bham.ac.uk

If you need support or advice from IT Services, please make the IT Service Portal your first port of call:

  • Identified issues and current Service Desk opening hours are noted under IT Services Status.
  • Self-help is available for many topics.
  • If you can’t find the information you need using our self-help support Live Chat is now available during opening hours, or you can Report a Fault or Make a Request either by logging a ticket online or by calling 0121 414 7171.

I am self-isolating – will I be asked to undertake work from home?This depends on whether or not you feel well. If you are feeling well and self-isolating for precautionary reasons it is expected that where possible all efforts should be made for you to undertake some work remotely. This should be agreed between you and your line manager on a case by case basis.

8) Questions relating to employees taking leave to look after a dependent as a result of Covid-19 UPDATED - 27 March, 11:45

I am struggling to fulfil my contractual hours/duties during the period of restricted campus operations. What support is there for me?
The University has guaranteed full pay for all staff who cannot continue to work normally. In return, we anticipate that all those who are required to work on campus or have the facility to work remotely will use their best endeavours do so in line with the requirements of Schools and Professional Services functions. It is recognised that by doing so, staff may be working reduced hours or at different times of the day than they would normally work. These are exceptionally difficult circumstances and it is important that all colleagues work together on a ‘best endeavours’ basis to continue to support the University’s operations remotely as much as they can.

Do I need to tell my line manager if I am unable to complete my contractual hours/duties?
Please ensure that you are in regular contact with your line manager and discuss any particular issues you are experiencing either working remotely or on campus and any impact this is having on your ability to fulfil your hours/duties. This is a difficult time for everyone, regardless of home circumstances and the University asks that during this time everyone does what they can, when they can, on a ‘best endeavours’ basis to continue to support the University’s operations remotely as much as they can.

Do I need to take dependents leave if I am unable to work during restricted campus opening due to caring for a dependent?
No – you do not need to take dependents leave. As a result of the significant changes to the ways in which we are having to work, there is no longer any need for staff to record that they are taking ‘Dependents Leave’. This was introduced as an exceptional measure prior to the University’s move to restricted campus operations. The University recognises that the situation has changed considerably since that point and therefore with immediate effect there is no requirement for staff to record this form of leave if they are unable to fulfil their normal hours/duties due to caring responsibilities. However, we would ask that staff still maintain regular contact with their line manager to discuss what work, if any, they are able to undertake while caring for dependents.

9) Questions relating to restricted campus operations UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

What does restricted campus operations mean? 
In order to minimise the risk to staff and the wider community, we will be moving to a restricted campus operation model by the end of term 17:00 on Friday 20 March until Monday 1 June, at the earliest. During this time the majority of University staff will be required to work remotely and only essential staff will be on campus. 

Between 16 and 23 March 2020 the University will be transitioning to online teaching and by next Monday 23 March, we will move to online delivery for the remainder of this term which means that there will be no face to face teaching activity. During the transition week all programmes will move online, subject to College approval.

How will staff be affected during restricted campus operations?The University is working closely with Public Health England and will continue to follow the advice and guidance set out by the UK Government.

We anticipate that we will need to continue to deliver our education online when term resumes on Monday 27 April, including the delivery of online examinations and assessments due to commence on Monday 4 May.

During restricted campus operations, the majority of University staff will be required to work remotely and only essential staff will be on campus. In addition, only essential buildings and services will be open and operating.

Will I be able to access certain buildings during restricted campus operations? 
Buildings and facilities within them will have restricted access and unless you have pre-authorised approval to access a building you will be denied entry, even if a building appears to be open. All staff are asked to respect this position and to extend this respect to our whole community.

The majority of buildings will be closed and most staff will be working from home. However, a defined number of buildings that have been identified as essential will remain partially or fully open through the period of restricted campus operation but will only be accessible to specific staff for pre-agreed reasons. We also recognise that some buildings or facilities may require several days to fully close and line managers will advise staff if they are required on site after Friday 20 March to support this. If you are required to be on campus during the period of restricted campus operations please ensure that you are wearing your University ID.

While the majority of students have already returned home and will remain at home until campus returns to normal operations, we will be keeping the student residences open to support those students who are unable to return home. The Main Library will be closed from 17:00 on Friday 20 March but we are enhancing our online library services and will be identifying alternative study space on campus for those students who are unable to travel home. The Guild will also be closing from Friday 20 March.

Will the University closed days during the Easter holiday be affected? 
During the University closed days (Friday 10 – Wednesday 15 April inclusive) it is expected that staff will be on leave as normal, unless you are specifically requested to undertake essential duties.

How will restricted campus operations affect events? 
All events scheduled on campus involving external visitors from 23 March to 1 June will be moved to virtual provision, postponed or cancelled.

Staff considering attending events off campus during the 23 March to 1 June should explore with the organiser whether the event is still running or if there is alternative online option.

We will continue to keep this under review, monitoring any changes in public health advice.

During a period of restricted opening of campus will I still get paid?
Yes - you will still get paid during a period of restricted opening of campus.

I am unable to work from home due to the nature of my role and my role is not considered to be an essential service. What will happen to me and my role during the restricted campus opening? 
Please be assured that staff who cannot work remotely and whose role is not deemed to be an essential service will continue to be paid.

I am a member of staff based at the UoB Dubai campus, does this all apply to me?
The UK and Dubai campus are working closely together but the in country situation is different. For up to date information on Dubai, please go to the Dubai FAQs.

10) Questions relating to employees taking annual leave UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

If I am working from home during the restricted opening of campus, can I cancel and rearrange my annual leave?
Staff working from home during the restricted opening of campus are expected to be fulfilling the duties of their role as they would normally, but from an alternative location (their home). The normal provisions for taking annual leave which is provided for rest and recuperation therefore apply. However, the University is conscious that we are in unprecedented times and many individuals’ travel plans will have been disrupted.

If a member of staff wishes to cancel or rearrange their annual leave, they should discuss this as normal with their line manager. Where possible, the University will accommodate any requests to cancel or rearrange annual leave. However, it should be noted that as it is unclear when normal full opening of the University will resume, future requests for annual leave may will be subject to operational requirements.

Can I carry over unused annual leave to the next annual leave year?
No, the normal maximum limits of carry over of annual leave (a maximum of 5 days) to be taken within 3 months of the start of the new annual leave year will still apply. Any unused leave of more than 5 days cannot be carried over and therefore you are encouraged to ensure that you spread your annual leave throughout the leave year, regardless of whether you are working remotely or not.

Will annual leave still be taken as normal during the University’s period of restricted opening?
Yes, existing annual leave should still be taken as normal with advance agreement by your line manager, noting as outlined above, you will not be able to carry more than 5 days into the next annual leave year.

I have bought additional annual leave which I cannot now use. What will happen to this?
Any bought additional annual leave which is unable to be taken in the current annual leave year, will be carried over on an exceptional basis to the next annual leave year.

11) Questions relating to volunteering UPDATED - 27 March, 11:45

Where can I find more information about volunteering?
We are currently working on further guidance which will recognise the different types of volunteering and provide a process for staff who wish to volunteer to follow.  We are aiming to publish this shortly and will also keep updating the FAQs.

12) Questions relating to government advice on social distancing, self-isolation and shielding UPDATED - 27 March, 11:45

Where can I find out more about social distancing?
Further information regarding social distancing is avaiable on the governement website.

Where can I find out more about self-isolation?
Further information regarding self-isolation is available on the government website.

Where can I find out more about shielding?
Further information regarding shielding is available on the government website.

English is not my first language, where can I find translated information?
The government has a dedicated webpage where full, up to date information can be found regarding Covid-19 which has been translated into many languages.

13) Questions relating to sponsored employees/researchers under Tiers 2 and 5 UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

I have been told by my line manager to work remotely/from home. Do I need to record this as an absence on the Core system?
No, as you will be working off campus within the UK, you do not need to record this as an absence on the Core system.

I wish to return to my home country – what implications does this have on my visa?
We may need to report this to the Home Office and/or withdraw sponsorship. Please contact the HR Immigration Team via the HR Service Portal for further guidance.

I am a Chinese national and have an absence due to Coronavirus – will this affect my visa?
The Home Office has confirmed that sponsors do not currently need to report employee absences related to coronavirus which have been authorised by line managers and will not take compliance action as a result of this. Such absences include those due to: illness; the need to serve a period of quarantine; or the inability to travel due to travel restrictions caused by Covid-19. 

For further information and the latest Home Office position in relation to this, please see the Covid-19 immigration guidance.

Where can I find further information?
Please also ensure that you keep up to date and monitor the current advice on the Covid-19 outbreak and self-isolation, particularly if you have recently entered the UK from overseas:

Does the Home Office have a helpline I can contact?
Yes, for further guidance please contact the Home Office Coronavirus Immigration Helpline:

  • Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 17:00)- calls are free of charge.
  • Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk 

14) Questions relating to apprenticeships UPDATED - 24 March, 15:15

I am an apprentice – does the employee guidance apply to me?
Yes, as an apprentice you are an employee of the University and therefore the FAQs for employees refers to you.

Will my one to ones with the Apprenticeship Scheme Manager continue?
During the period of campus restricted opening, one to ones with the Apprenticeship Scheme Manager will not take place face to face. However, alternative arrangements can be made via telephone or skype.

What will happen to my off the job training?
All of our providers are working rapidly to move to remote delivery of your training. As a minimum, you should by the end of this week (Friday 27th March) have been contacted by your assessor / coach to agree a phone call / skype meeting, if you do not have a meeting booked in by the end of this week please contact the Apprenticeship Scheme Manager.

Because apprenticeship off the job training must then link in with what you do in the workplace there may a requirement for some apprentices to take a break in learning. This would not commence until at the earliest late April. Should this be required the Apprenticeship Scheme Manager will discuss this with you.

The Apprenticeship Scheme Manager will continue to pass on information to managers and apprentices as and when this is available.

What will happen to my end point assessment?
It is likely that there may be a delay to this. This will be deterined with your training provider and on a case by case basis. Further advice will be provided once the University is clear how long the restricted period of campus operations will last for.  

How will I continue to get experience in the workplace?
Speak to your line manager in the first instance about what you can do to support the team during the restricted opening of campus and ensure you check your email regularly.

15) Questions relating to Worklink UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

Where can I find out more about Worklink queries related to Coronavirus? 
Worklink have a separate set of FAQs relating to contractual queries for their workers, which are available on the Worklink section.

Questions for line managers

1) Questions for dealing with members of staff who have been diagnosed with Covid-19, are being tested for Covid-19 or are showing symptoms of Covid-19 UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

What do I do if a member of staff is diagnosed with Covid-19?
If a member of staff informs you that they have a confirmed diagnosis please escalate immediately to the relevant Senior Officer or Head of School (as well as your HR Business Partner), who will alert the University’s Strategic Emergency Response Team (SERT).

What do I do if a member of staff informs me that they are being tested for Covid-19?
If a member of staff informs you that they are being tested for Covid-19 (Coronavirus) please escalate immediately to the relevant Senior Officer or Head of School (as well as your HR Business Partner), who will alert (SERT).  

What should I do if someone becomes unwell at work?
If someone becomes unwell at work with coronavirus symptoms they should go home and refer to current NHS guidance, available via the links below:

What should I do if someone with Covid-19 comes to work?
You should contact your relevant Senior Officer or Head of School immediately and they will liaise with you to ensure appropriate action is taken.

If someone with coronavirus comes to work, the workplace does not necessarily have to close.

The local Public Health England (PHE) health protection team will be in contact with the University to:

  • discuss the case
  • identify people who have been in contact with the affected person
  • carry out a risk assessment 
  • advise on any actions or precautions to take

2) Questions for dealing with members of staff who are self-isolating UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

How can I find out more about Covid-19 and self-isolation?
You can find out more on the following websites:

If a member of staff is self-isolating – can I ask them to undertake work from home?
It is expected that where possible (providing an individual is feeling well and the responsibilities of their role enables working from home to take place), all efforts should be made for them to undertake some work remotely and this should be agreed between you and the member of staff on a case by case basis.

A member of my team does not want to come to work because they are worried about catching Covid-19 – what should I do?Some employees might feel they do not want to go to work if they're afraid of catching coronavirus. You should listen to their concerns.  If they have an underlying health condition follow the advice outlined below. If they do not have an underlying health condition identified by the Government as putting them at higher risk, if they do not have such a health condition and it is operationally possible you could allow them to take some annual leave or unpaid leave. However if the member of staff has no valid reason why they should not attend work, you cannot accommodate annual leave or unpaid leave you should make them aware that a refusal to attend work could be considered as a failure to follow a reasonable management request.

3) Questions relating to sick pay and payment for members of staff during self-isolation UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

Please refer to the sick pay section outlined in the staff FAQs.  

4) Questions relating to recording staff sickness absence relating to Covid-19: UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

Will absence from work be recorded?
Yes the University will need to keep a record of absence related to Covid-19, including absences related to self-isolation. However absences related to the virus will be discounted for the purposes of absence management.

How do I record Covid-19 related absence for members of staff in my team?
Please do not record this absence in Core Systems. Instead you should provide this information to the designated point of contact within your College/Department as soon as possible. The University will be required to report to government bodies on absence related to Covid-19 so it is important this information is fed through in a timely manner.

What is the key information I need to collect if a member of staff contacts me to report a Covid-19 related absence?
You need to record their reason for absence, the first date of absence and a potential return to work date if known.

What should I do when the member of staff returns to work?
You will need to inform your designated point of contact as soon as possible that the member of staff has returned to work and the date they returned.

Do I need to report changes in the reason for absence? 
Yes, if the Covid-19 related reason for absence changes because of suspected or confirmed coronavirus you need to report this to your designated point of contact as soon as possible.  

5) Questions relating to wellbeing UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

For questions relating to wellbeing and those members of staff with underlying health conditions, please refer to the Wellbeing section of the staff FAQs.

6) Questions relating to recruitment UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

How do I complete right to work checks during restricted campus operations?
Guidance on right to work checks by skype can be found on the HR section of the intranet.

Please contact the Recruitment team for further guidance if you cannot conduct the right to work check via Skype.

Will there be a delay with pre-employment checks?
The majority of pre-employment checks are conducted online and these should continue as normal. For roles where face to face appointments or ID is required for verification such as DBS, a risk assessment should be undertaken with advice from the Recruitment team.

I have a new starter joining the University shortly, should I delay their start date?
Employment with the University will be effective from the start date already confirmed in the individual’s contract of employment. Line managers should plan appropriate support and induction for any new starters.

I have a new starter joining the University soon and have planned a working from home schedule for them, how can they obtain remote access?
New starters are able to contact the IT Service desk on +44 (0)121 414 7171 to obtain their username, passwords and to request remote access whilst off site on or after their start date- this must be initiated by the employee. Recognising that the individual will be new to the University, line managers should ensure that they support the new starter as much as possible.

How do I support my new starter on their first day during restricted campus opening?
If you have a new starter joining during a period of restricted campus opening, please communicate directly with them as soon as possible prior to their start date to advise them of the need to work from home where this is appropriate or the role allows.

Hiring managers should engage with new starters working from home on a regular basis to ensure they are adequately supported.

Details regarding UOB induction can be found on the HR section of the intranet.

How will new starters get access to an ID card during restricted campus opening?
ID cards will not be available during restricted campus opening. However, these will be made available as and when normal operations resume and can be collected from HR Operations and Recruitment.

How can new starters access Core Systems?
Core systems can be accessed at: http://uobcore.bham.ac.uk
All canvas training can be accessed at: https://canvas.bham.ac.uk/courses/30113

7) Questions relating to Worklink UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

 Please refer to the Worklink section for further details.

8) Questions relating to annual leave UPDATED - 19 March, 15:00

Please refer to the annual leave section of the staff FAQs for further details.

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