Last updated: 4 June 4.50pm
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, may have to take social distancing measures and undertake home working, where possible. If, after discussion with your line manager, and in liaison with Occupational Health, home working is not possible, then you may have to refrain from work.
Conditions covered in this category are:
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as Chronicasthma, 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 celldisease 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 tabletsor chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight - a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
There are some conditions which will require more stringent measures (shielding), and anyone with the following conditions should ensure they rigorously follow the shielding advice, from Occupational Health. People in this higher risk group include:
- those who have had solid organ transplants
- those with lung cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- those with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- those on immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- those on other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- those with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma and severe COPD
- those with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell
- those with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
- those on immunosuppression therapies that significantly increase risk of infection
- those who are pregnant with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired)
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. With your line manager's approval, 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.
No, the University’s expenses policy does not cover the purchase of items such as screens, laptops, desks and chairs. It is important to note that staff making purchases like these will not be reimbursed. If you are concerned that you do not have the appropriate equipment to enable you to work from home from either a health and safety or occupational health perspective, please contact your line manager in the first instance. Please note that any purchases made must be in line with the Expenses Policy.
The University will not reimburse any costs associated with working from home during the coronavirus outbreak. You can however claim tax relief from HMRC based on a flat rate of £4 per week for the tax year 2019/2020 and £6 per week for the tax year 2020/2021. HMRC will consider claims from employees working at home due to coronavirus measures if your usual workplace is closed.
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
We understand that the current context will add stresses to the uncertainties associated with the end of a Fixed-Term contract. Please be assured that we anticipate that all Fixed-Term contracts will run their full course. If you are concerned about your contract, you should contact your line manager or Head of School/Unit in the first instance to discuss your concerns. You can also contact your HR Business Partner.
We recognise that the end of a contract can be a difficult time and want to support colleagues who are currently in this position as best we can. The process to be followed towards the end of a fixed-term contract (FTC) includes points at which you can discuss your situation with your line manager and/or with the HR Business Partner for your School or Unit. Assistance is also available at any time from a variety of sources. For clear and helpful information about the process itself, you are advised to consult the main policies and guidance of relevance: the Redundancy Policy and the University’s guidance for conducting consultation meetings.
The University will follow the existing process with regard to the potential termination of your contract. You will receive an email from Human Resources (HR) notifying you of your end date and your manager should have a consultation meeting with you.
While you will not be able to meet in person at the moment, your line manager should arrange to discuss your contract with you using 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.
If you would like to remain in the University’s employment after the end of your FTC, you may wish to email email@example.com who can provide you with an application to be placed on the redeployment register. This means that you can be considered for any suitable new vacancies that may arise. 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 do not hesitate to contact Human Resources.
If you would like to access support for meetings related to your contracts and/or general guidance on processes related to Fixed-Term contracts, please contact:
If you would like further advice on CV and interview preparation, identifying transferrable skills and alternative job opportunities please contact:
If you would like to access more general support at this time, please consider the following contacts:
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.
No. Where possible, probation should continue as normal, with performance being monitored, with meetings or reviews conducted via Microsoft Teams or Skype, if possible. The HR Probation team will continue to follow each stage of the process and write to line managers accordingly.
If, due to some of the current working restrictions, it is not possible for performance to be monitored due to staff being furloughed, employees being unable to meet objectives or receive full training, we are recommending that the probationary period is extended to allow appropriate assessment to be carried out. HR will not amend dates automatically. Line managers should discuss any proposed changes with HR in the first instance. Please note: where a member of staff has been Furloughed, they must not carry out any work – therefore performance review meetings should not take place.
If a probation date is changed, no one will be unfairly disadvantaged. HR will inform employees and confirm that this is simply due to the current situation and to allow for the full probation process to be undertaken correctly and fairly due to the unique set of circumstances.
Line managers may feel there is no need to amend the probation date (even for furloughed staff) and be happy to confirm that probation has been passed successfully. They should inform HR of that decision.
No. Due to the different probationary periods, you must inform HR if you wish an employee’s probation period to be extended. In cases of probationary periods of 3 months, we would recommend an extension is considered. However, for all other probationary periods, there may already have been sufficient time to assess performance prior to Furlough or sufficient time after the furlough period ends to adequately assess performance without the need to extend the probation period.
Any queries regarding the probation process or amendments required should be directed to the HR Probation team.
No. The University has taken these exceptional measures in line with a government directive. For employees who are unable to work from home or are not rostered for essential duty, this does not entitle them to do private work whilst in receipt of a University salary.
The government has introduced a temporary new law allowing staff to carry over up to 4 weeks paid holiday into their next 2 holiday leave years. This law applies for any holiday leave not taken as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic i.e. key workers who are unable to take their leave due to their work in tackling the pandemic. The government has specified that the carry-over applies 'where it is not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled to, due to the coronavirus.' This will not apply to the majority of University staff, who remain able to take their annual leave.
We expect all staff to take leave to help ensure their wellbeing during this difficult period unless there are exceptional operational reasons why they are unable to. Only staff who are unable to take holiday leave because they are critical to delivering essential services during this period, or who are unwell with coronavirus for an extended period of time, will be eligible to carry over some statutory leave into the new holiday leave year and this would have to be following discussion and agreement with their line manager and their HR Business Partner. Please note: Annual leave for the 2019-2020 leave year can be carried over for use until 31 December 2020 any department with restrictions on carryover of AL still apply as normal.
If you feel that this applies to you, then you should speak to your line manager providing rationale as to why this law impacts on you and your holiday leave. All decisions on annual leave will be taken in collaboration with your HR Business Partner.
Furlough means a temporary leave of absence from work.
The UK government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to support employers during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Scheme allows employers to place staff who are unable to carry out their work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic on furlough, or leave. The employer can then apply for support from the government to fund the salaries of staff who have been furloughed. The scheme will reimburse the employer for 80% of the furloughed employee's pay up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
Yes, we have discussed and agreed these arrangements with the campus Trade Unions.
The University’s normal operations have changed significantly since the coronavirus outbreak. There are a number of roles, all of which are extremely valuable during normal operations, which are difficult to carry out while the current government restrictions are in place. This relates not only to the different types of role being undertaken but also those unable to work, for example due to caring responsibilities.
In addition, University activities have been scaled back considerably as a result of the majority of students studying remotely, the closure of commercial ventures and the cancellation of summer programmes resulting in many employees currently being unable to work.
By accessing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the University will be able to access much needed financial support for the payment of staff salaries at a time when there is an impact on our ability to work. To do this, the University needs to temporarily furlough the affected staff.
The decision to furlough roles is not in any way related to the value placed on the role by the University. The University is in the process of identifying which roles are appropriate to be furloughed at this time. The decision to furlough will depend upon whether the role can be carried out remotely and whether the employee in the role is able to carry out all, or a significant amount of, their duties from home. There may also be some roles where the work is still required as normal but there is a need for fewer staff at this time.
Under the requirements of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, there may be some occasions when it will not be appropriate to furlough due to the nature of funding for that role.
You will be contacted by your line manager if your role is identified as one that is appropriate for furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
If you have concerns about being furloughed or any individual circumstance that you wish to be taken into account, you should raise this with your line manager in the first instance.
It is in the best interest of the University and all its staff to apply for furlough arrangements where it is appropriate to do so. This is a very difficult time for everyone and the University has a duty to act in a way that protects the interests of all its employees. Therefore, decisions on which roles to furlough have been driven by operational need. Where there is some discretion about who should be furloughed, people’s individual circumstances are taken into account as much as possible.
It is important to remember that you will remain an employee of the University during furlough.
Being furloughed has no impact on your employment status at the University. Your continuous service is unaffected and at all times you will remain employed by the University. This also means that you should continue to adhere to any obligations placed on you as an employee, e.g., in relation to confidentiality.
It is important to remember that while you will remain an employee of the University during furlough, you should not undertake any work for or on behalf of the University during any period of furlough that applies to you.
No. You will be expected to return to work on your contracted hours and your existing working pattern when furlough ends. The decision to furlough roles has been taken as a short-term measure to deal with the immediate operational and financial challenges that the University is experiencing.
No. The decision to furlough is based on the specific circumstances created by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the ability for certain roles to be carried out at this point in time.
The minimum amount of time that someone can be furloughed for is three weeks. The Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was initially available until 31 May 2020 but has now been extended to 30 June 2020.
Your furlough letter will confirm the initial duration of your furlough period. However, you should be mindful that your furlough could be ended earlier if operationally necessary and, while we would give you as much notice as possible, you may be required to return to work at short notice i.e., within 24 hours.
Your pay will be unaffected by being furloughed. The Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will enable the University to apply for a grant to cover 80% of the pay of furloughed staff (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, per individual) but the University has decided that it will top up employees’ pay so that they will continue to receive their contractual pay as normal.
Your pay will be subject to the usual deductions for tax, national insurance, pension contributions, salary sacrifice and any other relevant deductions. Your pension arrangements will continue as normal.
Your pension contributions will continue during the furlough period and the University will also maintain the employer contributions.
You will continue to accrue annual leave while you are furloughed. In order to maintain equity and fairness with other colleagues not on furlough, staff should continue to take leave as normal. Any pre-booked annual leave during your furlough will not be cancelled.
Please note that the annual leave year will not be extended. Annual leave for the 2019-2020 period can be carried over for use until 31 December 2020 but not beyond this point.
No, you cannot take that day at another time. Staff who are on furlough when a public holiday falls, on what would have been a normal working day, will be allocated that public holiday at that time in the same way as applies to all other staff who remain at work, i.e., it cannot be moved to a point later in the year. Part-time staff will continue to receive pro-rata entitlement to annual leave to be deducted in line with normal leave rules.
The normal rules for these types of leave still apply. If you are already on leave, your manager may discuss with you the potential to be placed on furlough leave on your return. If you are furloughed but due to commence such leave, this will still happen in the normal way (e.g., at the point of childbirth or other pre-agreed date).
You will be expected to return to work on your contracted hours and your existing working pattern.
We will endeavour to give you as much notice as we possibly can, but it is important that you are aware that the response to coronavirus is changing rapidly and so you may be asked to return to work with very little notice, i.e., a minimum of 24 hours.
No, you should not do any work for or on behalf of the University while you are on furlough unless you are part of a rota system (separate details will be provided to those impacted by this). Please be aware that the University may ask you to return to work at short notice if required.
You will continue to have access to emails and IT systems whilst on furlough as we understand that you may wish to remain in contact with colleagues from a social and wellbeing perspective. However, you must ensure that you do not undertake any work during your furlough, which includes refraining from reviewing or responding to emails relating to your role.
You are not permitted to work while you are furloughed but you can continue to use your laptop.
Yes, maintaining social contacts with work colleagues is absolutely fine while you are furloughed.
You are still an employee of the University and if you wish to take on additional work, you must seek approval, as per current policy, from your line manager. In addition, you must not take on any paid work during your normal working hours.
No, you don’t need to be available for work while you are furloughed, unless you are part of a rota scheme (those impacted will be notified separately). However, you should bear in mind that we may need to ask you to return to work at relatively short notice as guidance on dealing with coronavirus changes regularly.
If you are unwell during your furlough, you do not need to formally report this to the University. If you are unwell when you are due to return to work or if you are required to self-isolate, you should follow the standard reporting procedures for sickness absence or self-isolation.
Your line manager will maintain contact with you, as appropriate, during any periods of furlough to keep you up-to-date on a likely return to work and any changes that have occurred.
Yes, you can undertake volunteer work during furlough providing it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, the University.
The University will let your training provider know that you are on furlough and they will provide you with advice about how to continue the programme using online resources. You should carry on studying while you are on furlough.
If your contract has come to a natural end, as stipulated in your contractual arrangements, furlough will not apply. As mentioned above, anyone eligible and considered for furlough will be contacted by their line manager.
Yes. We suggest that it would be helpful to others if you put up an out-of-office message on your email.
We suggest you base your message on the following form of words:
'Thank you for your message.
I am currently on 'furlough' under the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
I am due to return to my role on 1 June 2020, or earlier, dependent on developments. In the meantime, please contact [name and contact details of most appropriate contact] if your message is urgent.'
While furloughed, staff may still access professional and personal development resources offered by the University. Furloughed staff may browse the available training and book places via PDMS and can use their work laptop to participate in any University-provided training.
Furloughed staff who are booked onto scheduled online training events will therefore still be able to participate. Many courses have waiting lists, so furloughed staff not able to attend training on which they are already booked should cancel their place by accessing their Training Record on PDMS. This will allow the place to be reassigned to another colleague.
Staff are encouraged to take the opportunity to invest time in their professional development and to use the training and professional development resources that are available. More information can be accessed from the Organisational and Staff Development (OSDS) webpages.
Furloughed staff may access staff wellbeing resources while furloughed. Furloughed staff are still eligible for relevant offers, can attend wellbeing activities advertised in the monthly staff wellbeing newsletter ‘Well Now’, and participate in supported external wellbeing activities, such as the Step Count Challenge.
Furloughed staff can continue to participate in mentoring and coaching partnerships while they are furloughed, and are positively encouraged to do so, as there will be benefits to maintaining contact with a coach or mentor during the period of furlough. However, if your coach or mentor has themselves been furloughed, please contact your coaching or mentoring scheme coordinator to discuss suitable options.
Furloughed staff who do not already have a coach or mentor and are interested in learning more about available options, may access coaching and mentoring programmes by completing the relevant on-line form on the Staff Coaching & Mentoring webpage. Alternatively, they can contact OSDS at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and support.