FAQs for Worklink

Page last updated: Wednesday 10 June, 13:00

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. The FAQs on this page will be constantly reviewed and updated as the situation evolves.

Read the University's latest statement on COVID-19

The information on this page relates to Worlink Casual Workers and Hiring Managers. 

1) Will Worklink Casual Workers be eligible to receive pay whilst they are self-isolating, unwell or if their shift is cancelled in relation to COVID-19? UPDATED - 10 June, 13:00

Casuals Workers at the University of Birmingham are not normally entitled to occupational sick pay. However, the University agreed when it move to Restricted Campus Operations in March 2020 that as an exceptional measure, if a Casual Worker was absent from work due to either self-isolation or sickness as a result of COVID-19, or if their shift was cancelled due to restricted operations, they would receive pay for any work that has been agreed and scheduled up until 9 April 2020.

Hiring Managers were asked to confirm details of any casual work agreed and scheduled beyond 9 April 2020. This scheduled work has been considered for the furlough scheme and Hiring Managers will be in contact with anyone who meets the criteria in due course. Please refer to the furlough question on this page for further information.

Casual Workers may also be eligible to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), further details of which are available here on the government website. 


2) How will Worklink Casual Workers get paid if they are self-isolating, unwell or if their shift is cancelled in relation to COVID-19?  UPDATED - 10 June, 13:00

As an exceptional measure, the University honoured and paid for any work scheduled through Worklink Casual Work assignments up until 9 April 2020. The deadline for Casual Workers submitting time under this commitment was 09:00 on Tuesday 5 May.

Guidance on the processes for Casual Workers and Hiring Managers to process time for payment has been published on the Worklink section of the intranet.

3) Do Hiring Managers need to view and check timecards for Worklink Casual Workers being paid for work that is not undertaken under the COVID-19 payment arrangements?  UPDATED - 10 June 13:00

Yes, a guide for Hiring Managers on the COVID-19 Casual Worker payment process is available on the Worklink Hiring Manager intranet pages.

4) Will Worklink Casual Worker absence from work be recorded?  UPDATED - 10 June, 13:00

Hiring Managers were required to record any work that was scheduled up until 9 April that a Casual Worker was unable to complete but was paid for and the deadline for this data collection has now passed.  

5) Do Worklink Casual Workers have to provide a sick note (fit note) if they have COVID-19 or if they are advised to self-isolate?  UPDATED - 10 June, 13:00

No, Casual Workers are not required to provide a sick note (fit note) if they have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate.

6) What happens after 9th April? UPDATED - 10 June, 13:00

The University has worked through government guidance and Casual Workers who have been identified as eligible for the furlough scheme have been contacted by their Hiring Manager. Please refer to the furlough question on this page for further information. 

7) I have a goodwill catering gift voucher but I can't use it due to restricted campus operations. Can I still use this when campus is fully open again? UPDATED - 02 April, 09:20

Yes, it has been confirmed that the expiry date on the goodwill catering gift vouchers has been automatically extended up to the end of April 2021.   

8) I have a different query, where do I find other information and how can I contact Worklink? UPDATED - 10 June, 13:00

For queries relating to furlough, please contact your hiring manager in the first instance. If you are not able to resolve your query with your hiring manager, please contact the HR advisory team at workerqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

For any other queries, please email Worklink at worklink@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Please note that this page covers FAQs only relating to COVID-19. For queries unrelated to COVID-19, please see our Worklink webpages and our general Casual Worker FAQs. Please get in touch via email if you have any queries.

The Worklink team are working remotely whilst the University has restricted opening, and our email is being monitored as normal. Please note that our phone lines are closed until further notice. 

9) I have a question about furloughing UPDATED - 10 June, 13:00

What exactly does it mean to be 'furloughed'?
Furlough means a temporary leave of absence. People who are furloughed must not work for their employer during the period of furlough.

How do I know if I have been furloughed?
You will have been contacted by your hiring manager if your role has been identified as one that has met the furlough criteria and you will receive a letter from the University confirming this.

How has my pay been calculated whilst on furlough?
You will receive 80% of the hours pledged to you during the furlough period for this assignment. This pay will be subject to the normal deductions for tax and national insurance and your pension contributions if you are a member of a pension scheme. Any salary sacrifice arrangements in which you participate will be unaffected.

You do not need to submit timecards for your assignment. Your pay will be processed within the normal timecard pay dates for 80% of the hours that you are being furloughed for.

When will I be paid for my furloughed causal assignment?
You will receive your pay on the University pay dates within the normal timecard pay deadlines. 

How long will I be furloughed for?
You will be furloughed for the duration of your agreed casual work assignment up until the maximum date of the 31st July 2020. The date of your individual furlough period will have been confirmed to you in a letter from the University. 

Am I able to work at the University whilst on furlough?
No, whilst furloughed, you are unable to work for the University in any capacity.

I want to undertake paid work or volunteering while furloughed. Is this allowed?
You are able to volunteer during your period of being furloughed. However, please ensure that if you wish to do so, you follow the University’s guidelines for volunteering and liaise with your manager.

You are able to undertake paid work for another organisation, but you cannot do any work for the University in any capacity, or under any contract whilst furloughed.

What if I do not want to be furloughed?
If you do not want to be furloughed for your casual work assignment at the University please contact irqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk as soon as possible and at the latest by 5pm on 18 June 2020.  Someone will then contact you to discuss this further. 

How has the University decided which casual workers to furlough?
Hiring Managers have identified casual workers within their respective areas who have work agreed and scheduled from 20 April 2020. This work has been considered against the following furlough criteria:

  • The work has been pledged to the casual worker and shifts have been agreed and scheduled for at least a three consecutive week period from the 20th April (this is the earliest date that the University is able to furlough casual workers from) with at least one hour of work scheduled in each of the three weeks and, at least one of the following factors applies:
  • Role cannot be delivered from home
  • The person is shielding (ie those who have been advised to remain at home for 12 weeks due to serious health conditions in line with government guidance) and unable to work from home
  • The person has caring responsibilities and is unable to work from home

Additionally the following criteria has to be met:

  • The individual must have been on the University’s payroll by 28th February 2020
  • Role is not funded through public funding (e.g. roles which take place within a College setting are classed as publicly funded)
  • Where an individual is not undertaking other work for the University in any other capacity.

I believe I meet the furlough criteria above and have not been furloughed. What should I do?
In the first instance, please contact your hiring manager with the evidence that you meet all of the criteria above, as they have confirmed what work has been pledged to you. Your hiring manager should check the work agreed and scheduled against the criteria, and will contact HR on your behalf if you meet the criteria.

If you are not able to agree this with your hiring manager and still believe you meet this criteria, please contact the HR Adviser for your area at workerqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk at the latest by 9am on Monday 22 June 2020.

Will any casual work opportunities be available in the future?
We would advise that you discuss with your hiring manager about potential future work opportunities. Should work become available in your current assignment after your furlough period your hiring manager will be in contact. You can also find out more about the phased reopening plan for campus through the University webpages.

If you are a student casual worker, you can view current work opportunities at the Worklink website.

Can I apply for other vacancies whilst on furlough?
Yes, you can apply for other vacancies whilst on furlough. However, if you are appointed to a role, you must notify us as soon as possible to confirm this at workerqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk  as this may affect your furlough status.

What support can I access whilst on furlough?
If you are a current University of Birmingham student, you will be able to continue to access all the student services. More information can be found at the student help website.

10) I am a Hiring Manager and have a question about furloughing UPDATED - 10 June, 13:00

How do I know which of my casual workers have been furloughed?
Based on the furlough criteria (please refer to the section ‘I have a question about furloughing’ which details the criteria), hiring managers have already been contacted if any of their workers are being furloughed.

How have you confirmed which casual worker/s meet the furlough criteria?
Each area of the University submitted data for any casual work that was agreed and scheduled after the 20th April. All of this data has been reviewed and checked against the furlough criteria above.

Are there actions I need to take as a Hiring Manager of a furloughed casual worker?
Direct communications have been sent to hiring managers who have casual workers who have met the criteria.

How often should I contact my furloughed casual worker?
You may contact your casual worker during the furlough period to check their wellbeing and answer any queries that they may have. They must not undertake any work for the University in any capacity.

What do I do if a casual worker contacts me to say they think they should be furloughed?
In the first instance, your casual worker should get in touch with you and you will need to look at the work you pledged (agreed and scheduled) to the individual, and check this against the furlough criteria stated above.

If you think the person meets the criteria stated above, or there is a dispute between you and your casual worker on the criteria, please contact the HR Adviser for your area at workerqueries@contacts.bham.ac.uk by no later than 9am on Monday 22 June.


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