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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: 

Status

Pay

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

 

TES and UPS workers and variable/zero hours employees 

TES workers and other casual workers paid via the UPS who have started or accepted an assignment on or before 16 March will receive normal pay until the end date of the agreed assignment. Employees on variable/zero hours contracts will receive normal pay for hours that have been agreed whether they have worked them or not.

The Government has made changes to Statutory Sick Pay. People who cannot work due to COVID-19 and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay now get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness.  Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

A summary of the pay arrangements and action required by institutions is provided below:

Status

Pay

Action Required

Diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or has symptoms

TES

Statutory Sick Pay, if eligible

TES workers should report sickness in the normal way via their timesheet. Departments must authorise these in the usual way. 

UPS

Statutory Sick Pay, if eligible

Line Manager or Department Administrator should email payrollenquiries@cam.ac.uk to report any sickness absence for UPS workers.

Variable/Zero Hours  Employees

Occupational Sick Pay

Line Manager of Department Administrator should record as sickness absence on CHRIS using the reason of “Covid-19 (Coronavirus)”.

Working from home

TES

Normal pay for the duration of current assignment

TES workers should continue to complete their timesheets regularly, whether they have worked or not.  Departments must authorise these in the usual way. 

UPS

Normal pay for the duration of current assignment

UPS2 claims should be entered on the UPS system, if the worker has a current assignment and whether the hours have been worked or not. Please ensure you have adequate cover for inputting and authorising on the UPS system.

Variable/Zero Hours Employees

Normal pay for the duration of current assignment

Line managers or Department Administrators should submit hours that have been agreed with staff on zero hours contracts, whether they have worked them or not.

Unable to work from home

TES

Normal pay for the duration of current assignment

TES workers should continue to complete their timesheets regularly, whether they have worked or not.  Departments must authorise these in the usual way. 

UPS

Normal pay for the duration of current assignment

UPS2 claims should be entered on the UPS system, if the worker has a current assignment and whether the hours have been worked or not. Please ensure you have adequate cover for inputting and authorising on the UPS system.

Variable/Zero Hours Employees

Normal pay for the duration of current assignment

Line managers or Department Administrators should submit hours that have been agreed with staff on zero hours contracts, whether they have worked them or not. Where hours have not yet been agreed, it may be necessary for departments to calculate average hours to reflect the typical working week.

Detailed FAQs relating to TES workers can be found below:

Please note that these provisions do not apply to temporary workers engaged through external agencies; those workers should contact their agency for details around support.

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.

Furlough

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: 21 September 2020