Last updated: 27 March 2020 1.08pm
University advice and support
You should not come into work for any reason, unless you are in an essential category of worker and have been instructed to do so by your line manager.
Colleagues in this category include our Residences and Estates staff, and a small number of research and technical staff and postgraduate personnel. If you have any questions about this instruction, please talk to your Head of School or Unit, who should liaise directly with the Principal’s Office.
Essential workers are staff who are required to come into work to maintain and deliver essential services, keep our environment safe for work and study in those parts of our estate that remain open, and ensure that we meet our duty of care to students still in St Andrews.
The University has put in place precautions to minimise the spread of the coronavirus including remote working. However, parts of the University are still open, and if you are asked by your line manager to come into work you should do so, observing hygiene protocols such as social distancing and hand washing. If you have a genuine concern, please discuss this with your line manager or contact your HR Business Partner to discuss your concerns.
You should self-certify your sickness absence in the normal way for the first seven days and then obtain a Fit Note from your GP to cover your continued absence. You must contact Occupational Health in order that support can be offered during this time along with keeping in touch with your line manager.
If you live alone in self-contained accommodation and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started
If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
- Phone your GP or 111 if your symptoms are severe
If you have a cold or flu or symptoms of respiratory tract infection, we recommend you self-isolate until your acute symptoms subside.
If coronavirus infection spreads in the wider population, efforts to contain, monitor and manage it may be hampered if there are other seasonal infections spreading at the same time.
During self-isolation you should avoid, as far as is possible, any contact with other people. You should not leave your house, flat or room.
The NHS has published a comprehensive guide to self-isolation.
Those who are pregnant are advised to be particularly careful in following NHS Inform’s social distancing measures. If you are pregnant and considered an essential worker, you should contact your line manager and remain at home for the 12-week duration or until the government advises otherwise.
Your health, safety and wellbeing are our main priority. Employees with an underlying health condition, or who live with someone and/or are a carer of someone with any of these conditions, should ensure that social distancing measures are implemented immediately and home working undertaken, where possible. If, after discussion with your line manager, and in liaison with Occupational Health, home working is not possible, your health is our priority and you should refrain from attending work for up to 12 weeks, or until the government advises otherwise.
Conditions covered in this category are:
- those receiving a flu jab on medical grounds each year;
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease (MND), multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight - a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
There are some conditions which will require more stringent measures, and anyone with the following conditions should ensure they rigorously follow the social distancing advice:
- people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow, such as leukaemia, who are at any stage of treatment
- people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
- people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
It is vital that you comply with government instructions to slow the spread of the disease.
The only reasons you should now leave your house, flat or student bedroom are as follows:
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home
Public gatherings of any more than two people are no longer permitted, unless they are members of your own family.
Revd Dr Donald MacEwan and the Chaplains remain available to support all staff during these unprecedented times.
They are happy to be contacted to discuss in confidence any aspect of life and work, regardless of your faith or philosophy of life.
The Chaplains (of different faiths and humanism) are working from home, but are happy to support people by phone, FaceTime, a MS Teams video-call, by email and by other suitable means. Simply email Donald, the Chaplain, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Chaplaincy secretaries at email@example.com.
Pay and benefits
We’ll continue to pay staff and hourly-paid workers as normal.
In the first instance, you should discuss with your line manager whether there is alternative work that you can do to support other units in delivering key services. If no alternative work can be provided, you will incur no loss of pay.
Where individuals are absent from work due to sickness as a result of COVID-19 normal absence reporting and sick pay rules will apply. Individuals should self-isolate and alert their line manager in order that the absence can be recorded as COVID-19. You will be paid as normal during this absence and it will not impact future absences. A medical certificate will not be required. Contact should be maintained with your line manager in the normal way throughout any period of absence.
The University will pay casual workers for all work that has been agreed and scheduled, even if it is subsequently cancelled (e.g., lectures). Casual workers should work from home for any work that has been agreed and scheduled wherever possible and appropriate. The University is delivering all of its teaching and learning in an online format.
Postgraduate research (PGR) students who are delivering teaching in this format will continue to be paid for preparation, delivery and marking.
If a casual worker becomes ill with the symptoms associated with coronavirus, they will receive sick pay for any work that has been agreed and scheduled in accordance with the Flexible Workers Contract agreed with the Trade Unions in 2019.
Please note however that for payments to be processed, timesheets need to be submitted in the normal way.
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 discuss options to work from home. Human Resources will be in touch to ensure all relevant paperwork is in place to ensure payment can take place.
If you are currently carrying out work for the University, you will be paid as normal. If there is no need for the service you provide at this time, the services contract will not be renewed, and no payment will be made until services resume.
If your travel plans have been disrupted as a result of coronavirus and you would like to cancel your annual leave, you should discuss this with your line manager. You can cancel your annual leave and reschedule, however, we recommend that you still take annual leave during the present time to allow appropriate rest from work and for your own health and wellbeing.
Please note that the annual leave year will not be extended, but annual leave for the 2019-2020 leave year can be carried over for use until 31 December 2020.
You should also be mindful that when we are operational again, managers will have to ensure that the University can provide full service and therefore annual leave will, as normal, be granted based on operational need.
Learning and teaching are our top priority.
The University will deliver all of its teaching and assessment exclusively in online formats from the resumption of the semester after Spring Break (30 March 2020).
There will be no classes or face-to-face teaching in St Andrews for the rest of this semester.
Remote learning means that teaching will have to be delivered via the internet, either as a live-streamed version or a recorded version of your teaching in an environment where you can interact with students online.
Working remotely will be a challenge for all of us and we need to make a concerted effort to adapt to these new conditions. Please make sure you encourage feedback and share best practice. We will all be learning together!
We are now asking Schools to shut down all experimental work.
University buildings are being secured and locked down.
A number of our student residences are also closed, and students who have remained with us in St Andrews will be moved to ensuite accommodation which better supports social distancing or self-isolation.
Whilst you are working from home, any equipment belonging to the University that you take home (such as your laptop) will fall within the scope of the University’s insurance programme. In practice, the cost of a laptop or similar will fall within the University’s insurance excess, so the School or Unit would have to fund replacements from operating budgets, as would always be the case for any damaged laptop, whether within or outwith the office. However, no-one should add a University asset to their home insurance – it’s our problem, not yours!
Having said that, there are issues which you do need to consider. We suggest anyone working flexibly from home should make a quick call to their home insurer to let them know. Most insurers will not be concerned about this as long as you aren’t storing stock or having commercial visitors, but each insurer may have a different view of ‘homeworking’ and whether they need to be told about it, so please do let them know just in case.
Finally, please make sure you make full use of Microsoft Office 365 (OneDrive, Teams etc) to avoid storing data on your local device hard drive and creating unnecessary GDPR exposure. You can also use Shared drives and VPN, but the preference would be to use Office 365 to relieve the burden on VPN where it isn’t actually required.
See the wellbeing advice for staff for resources and guidance to help ensure your wellbeing when working remotely.
School and nursery closures
Yes. These are unprecedented times and the University understands that if normal facilities cease to operate, family members may have to remain at home. In these circumstances staff should notify their line manager and discuss potential options to continue working as far as possible. It may be possible to work more flexible hours to accommodate any childcare requirements.
Whilst homeworking would not normally be permitted when staff have childcare commitments, it may be an appropriate option in light of the exceptional circumstances and depending on the role and/or available technology.
As a last resort, if there are no other alternatives, the University will permit time off with full pay in light of the exceptional circumstances faced. The University would expect that, where both parents are employees of the University, the caring responsibilities are split to allow both to undertake work as appropriate.
All overseas travel has been suspended in line with government guidelines. No expenses for overseas trips undertaken from 17 March, until notified otherwise, will be processed or reimbursed. The University will monitor the situation and advise, in line with guidance, on when overseas travel can re-commence.
With regard to business travel, colleagues contemplating travel within Scotland, England and Wales should postpone or avoid travel.
University travel insurance will usually respond to changing Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice ‘against all but essential travel’ to a specific territory. However, insurance is highly unlikely to cover situations where we are, in insurance policy terminology, ‘disinclined to travel’ (ie, where there is no such FCO advice).
In the current situation, this means that many costs are uninsured. However, there may be other circumstances associated with a trip that could trigger insurance and our insurance office will review the situation with you on a case-by-case basis.
If you wish to discuss a University trip which has been cancelled, please email details of the trip, including costs, to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will log your request and call or email you back. If a destination has closed or a conference has been cancelled, please include that level of detail in your email, as it could be relevant. Please bear in mind that there is already a high volume of queries about insurance right across the country, and whilst our team will do their best to respond quickly, they have been experiencing some delays where they need to liaise with the insurer.
We are unable to advise on personal travel insurance.
Employment policies and support
If you are on a fixed-term contract (FTC) the University will follow the existing process with regards to the potential termination of your contract. You will be forwarded an email from Human Resources (HR) notifying you of your end date and your manager should have a consultation meeting with you.
While the current workplace restrictions are in force it is unlikely that you will be able to meet with your line manager in person, however, you should make every reasonable attempt to meet to discuss the impending expiry of your FTC by utilising Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, telephone and/or email.
Your line manager is your first point of contact for all matters relating to the expiry of your FTC. You may also wish to email email@example.com who can provide you with an application to be placed on the redeployment register.
You should also check for current vacancies on the University’s vacancies website.
If the redundancy process concludes and no alternative to redundancy has been identified (e.g., additional funding or an alternative role) you will be informed, in writing, by HR of the termination of your employment, the reason for this, your right to appeal the decision, and any statutory redundancy pay due (if you have over two years continuous service with the University).
If you have any queries, please contact Human Resources.
You should contact your line manager or Head of School/Unit in the first instance. You can also contact your HR Business Partner.
For advice on CV and interview preparation, identifying transferrable skills and alternative job opportunities contact:
For support with mental health concerns contact:
For support at meetings and general guidance on process contact:
As the situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak continues to develop, we are taking steps to ensure the safety of our job applicants, staff and students.
Please refer to our latest information and guidance on recruiting staff, interviews and appointments.