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Human Resources


Below is guidance for institutions on HR operational matters relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. These webpages will be kept updated with new information, so please keep them under review. Institutions should also keep up to date with information provided on the University's main Coronavirus website,

The measures outlined below provides additional operational information and are intended to cover the predicted peak period of the outbreak. They may be modified of extended for a further period if necessary.

Please note that separate arrangements may apply to the School of Clinical Medicine and communications and details will be provided where relevant.

Managing coronavirus-related sickness absence  

Institutions should ensure that any individual who is absent due to ill-health as a result of coronavirus receives appropriate support. The normal principles in the Sickness Absence Policy apply with regard to pay and keeping in touch.

Please see a summary of action to take with regard to reporting the absence on CHRIS in the ‘pay and recording’ section below.

FIT notes

The University’s standard Sickness Absence Policy provisions will apply with the following temporary adjustments. 

  • If their Sickness absence is related to coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or a diagnosis, employees will not be required to provide a GP fit note after 7 days of sickness. However they should continue to keep their department informed and regularly updated about their health.  
  • If their sickness absence is not related to coronavirus (COVID-19), they should provide a GP fit note after 7 days of sickness in accordance with the University’s Sickness Absence Policy. However, in the current circumstances and with pressures on GP practices, it is recognised that it may not always be possible to provide this straight away. If this is the case, employees should continue to keep their department informed and regularly updated about their health and provide this documentation as soon as possible. 

Managing working from home 

The following resources are available to provide staff and managers with practical advice on working from home:

Institutions are asked to ensure that managers and staff utilise these resources.

For staff who occupy roles that would not normally be conducive to homeworking, managers should consider what other work could reasonably be undertaken from home, which may include alternative duties to those normally undertaken e.g. online training, reviewing local policies, procedures and processes. Consideration may also be given to furloughing (see details in teh Furlough Scheme FAQs)

Please see a summary of action to take with regard to reporting the absence on CHRIS in the ‘pay and recording’ section below.

Pay and recording absence 

The table below summarises the different types of absence and action for institutions: 



Action Required

Individual is diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or has symptoms

Sick pay in accordance with University’s Sickness Absence Policy

Line manager or Departmental Administrator to record as sickness absence on CHRIS, using the sickness reason of “Covid-19 (Coronavirus)”

Individual is required to self-isolate in line with government guidance, including where;   

  • they live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive; or 
  • someone in their support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive; or 
  • they have been told by NHS Test and Trace that they have been in contact with a person with coronavirus.  

Normal pay

Departmental Administrator to keep a record where this applies. This may include using functionality on CHRIS (see details on the HR Systems webpages). 

Individual is required to quarantine following travel to certain countries See further details about the arrangements here

Detailed FAQs relating to TES workers can be found below:

HR and payroll processing

To ensure all staff are paid in the usual way, please submit HR forms and requests electronically to the relevant HR email address at the earliest opportunity and on a continuous basis, rather than submitting them close to the payroll deadline. You are asked to prioritise submission of new starters details and processing of leavers. You will need to ensure that you have appropriate arrangements in place to do this from home, as well as have appropriate cover arrangements. Contracts of Employment and Amendment Letters will continue to be produced and will be issued electronically to both the individual and institutions.

For payroll forms, if it is not possible to scan in signed copies, Payroll will accept them unsigned providing they receive confirmation of the start date and job title in the body of the email which must be sent by a payroll signatory. During this period we will be unable to accept and process any forms received through the UMS.

Managing queries from staff about financial difficulties 

The following schemes have been put in place for staff who may be experiencing financial difficulty as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak (eligibility criteria applies):

  • The Employee Welfare Loan Scheme — available to support eligible staff facing short-term financial difficulties
  • The new Staff Hardship Grant Scheme — available to eligible staff who find themselves in hardship arising from the coronavirus but who are not eligible for the Employee Welfare Loan Scheme

Annual leave  

Please see the Coronavirus Annual Leave Protocol for guidance.


Please see details in the Furlough Scheme FAQs.

If you have an HR operational query not covered by this guidance 

If you have an HR related query that is not covered by this guidance you should: 

  • Review the University's main coronavirus webpages. Your questions may be answered there and details are updated frequently. 
  • Speak with your HR Business Manager or HR Adviser.  

We are reviewing queries received from institutions and will update this page with frequently asked questions. 


Last updated: 29 October 2020