Working for RGU

COVID-19

Working for RGU

How the Coronavirus arrangements will affect how you work as RGU staff.

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Latest guidance

WHAT ARE THE UPDATED ARRANGEMENTS FOR HOME WORKING / CAMPUS WORKING?

As Scotland moves away from legal restrictions around the wearing of masks, distancing and testing as part of an effort to “return to a normal way of life” and as we move forward and embed hybrid working, RGU is keen to maintain a protective environment to reassure staff and students that the campus is a safe and welcoming place to work and to study for our whole campus community. 

The University continues to follow Scottish Government advice which is based on public health information; therefore, this guidance will remain under review.

As such, the University, through its transition and move away from the previous Six Golden Rules will continue to encourage all staff and students to follow the below ‘Covid- Safe Behaviours’:

  • Full vaccination and to follow any local testing guidance.
  • Stay at home if suffering from symptoms of COVID-19 or respiratory illness.
  • Coughs and sneezes must be covered with a tissue and the tissue bagged and binned.
  • Exercise good hygiene, using facilities and sanitisers provided.
  • Face-coverings are recommended, especially in busy or crowded areas.
  • Show consideration for ‘Distance Aware’ badge wearers.

The Scottish Government has joined the Distance Aware Scheme, which is designed to help those worried about mixing with others as we adapt to living with the virus.  Distance aware badges and lanyards show others you need space and are available from libraries, Asda stores and online at Bevan Commission: Distance Aware (some charities may charge a small fee).

Although there is no longer a legal requirement for social distancing in the workplace, we urge all staff to continue to follow the ‘Covid safe behaviours’ and guidance above and to acknowledge that colleagues and students may still wish to maintain a 1 meter social distance and so it is important that staff don’t challenge colleagues or students or pass comment.

Staff are no longer required to use the RGU Check In app when working on campus.

With the ending of free-testing and formal self-isolation requirements, staff are no longer required to report COVID-19 cases or self-isolations to the Occupational Health & Environmental Safety team.

However, staff are encouraged to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection such as coronavirus and have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, as per the latest ‘Stay at Home’ guidance on NHS Inform. Stay at home guidance also applies if staff have access to testing and have a positive COVID-19 test result.

For more information and current guidance on community testing: 

The University will continue to ensure that on-campus spaces are well-ventilated, with a priority given to those spaces considered to be most at risk.

The University’s Estates team will continue to work to enhanced cleaning specifications, with a focus on common touchpoints and virucidal cleaning products will remain in use to reduce the risk of transmission from surface contact. Staff and students will continue to have access to supplies which enable the cleaning of shared surfaces.

HOW WILL RGU ENSURE MY HEALTH AND SAFETY if I am ON CAMPUS?

The University takes the health and safety of its staff and students very seriously. The Executive and members of the University Management Group are constantly monitoring the situation and ensuring any risk to the RGU community is managed and that the campus is a safe and welcoming place to work and to study for our whole campus community.

The University has developed a high-level risk assessment in line with Scottish Government guidance, with input from the trade unions, to consider all of the health and safety issues relating to the return to campus. A copy of the risk assessment, which includes information on the mitigating actions being taken to address the risks can be found on the Health and Safety web pages.

In addition to this, local risk assessments will have been undertaken, where appropriate, to address any specific risks associated with tasks/activities which take place in your School/Department. Where relevant, a copy of your local risk assessment/s can be obtained from your line manager. The Health and Safety team and Estates teams will also be available to provide advice and guidance as necessary.

WHAT MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO STAFF?

The health and wellbeing of our staff is of the upmost importance and we understand that staff may be concerned about this and can be reassured that we have numerous measures and risk assessments in place to ensure our campus is a safe place to work and study for all. If staff have any concerns they should speak with their line manager in the first instance so that appropriate action can be taken to support them.

Upon raising any concerns regarding having to work on campus, an HR Adviser may become involved. In some circumstances HR may arrange a remote Occupational Health referral where we will ask a qualified medical professional for advice and if any reasonable adjustments need to be considered specifically for the area of work that staff member is involved in.

The employee wellbeing page may be particularly helpful when staff are considering how to manage their health and wellbeing:

Beyond this, the University has excellent resources that support staff wellbeing:

Lifeworks includes the employee assistance programme which allows access to a free and confidential telephone counselling and advisory support service which is available to all staff. There is also an on-line chat facility, and self-support resources with programmes on stress, anxiety, coping etc.

The HR Professional Team are also available to support you with fair treatment advice if your concern is work related.

AM I REQUIRED TO WEAR A FACE COVERING ON CAMPUS?

No, in line with Scottish Government advice, staff will no longer be required to wear a face covering on campus, outside or within any of the University buildings, unless required by local risk assessments.

However, the University does recommend the use of face coverings in busy or crowded areas.  And asks that staff and students show consideration for any ‘Distance Aware’ badge wearers. 

We recognise that staff and students may wish to continue wearing a face covering at all times on campus so it is important that they are not challenged, even innocent comments or questions can be hurtful if taken the wrong way.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE DEPENDANTS TO CARE FOR?

Previously, the University allowed staff who could work from home to do so while also undertaking caring responsibilities when there was a local lockdown or a nursery / school closure and do what they could, in the same way they did during prior lockdowns.

Schools, nurseries and out of school care facilities are open and running so staff, when working from home, should not have caring responsibilities for dependents.  Caring for a child/dependant would not be a reasonable reason for not attending campus to work.

If staff have a child or dependent to look after then they may have to take annual leave, parental leave or unpaid time off as detailed in the dependants’ leave policy until they can resume their normal pattern of work. Staff should discuss individual circumstances with their line manager.  

If staff’s ability to work is affected because of continuing or additional caring responsibilities (as a result of COVID-19 or other changes in their personal circumstances), staff should discuss this with their line manager in the first instance and consider alternative working hours/patterns through the University’s flexible working scheme.


Employee Absence

How do I report a sickness absence when working from home?

Any absence related to COVID-19 will be treated through our normal sickness absence procedures and entitlements; whereby staff will be entitled to their normal sick pay entitlement.

Staff should continue to report sickness absence to their line manager on the first day of absence and continue to keep their line manager updated throughout the course of their sickness absence as per the universities sickness absence policy and procedure.  

Once staff have indicated that they are feeling well enough to return to work (either on campus or at home), a return to work meeting (as with any return to work from a spell of sickness absence) should be arranged with their line manager, and the self-declaration of absence form completed. 

CAN I WORK IF I HAVE COVID-19?

If staff are displaying COVID-19 symptoms but feel well and are able to work at home, then they should continue to do so following discussions with their line manager. 

If staff are in a role which requires them to work on campus and they are displaying symptoms related to COVID-19 but feel well enough to work, their line manager will discuss with them if there are other ways they can work productively from home until they are symptom free.

If staff are unable to work due to displaying symptoms and/or testing positive any absence will be treated through our normal sickness absence procedures and entitlements; whereby staff will be entitled to their normal sick pay entitlement.

WHAT SICK PAY WILL I BE ENTITLED TO DURING THIS TIME?

Any sickness absence from work due to having COVID-19 symptoms, including the condition referred to as “Long Covid” will be treated through our normal sickness absence procedures and entitlements, whereby staff will be entitled to their normal sick pay entitlement.  To support staff during times of ill health the University offers a generous occupational sickness pay scheme to help ensure staff who are unwell do not attend work if they are worried about not receiving pay.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY COVID-19 VACCINE APPOINTMENT IS DURING NORMAL WORKING HOURS?

The University acknowledges that there will be limited flexibility with the scheduling of the vaccine appointment. Staff should notify their line manager as soon as they receive details of their appointment so that cover (where appropriate) can be put in place. 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM REQUIRED TO SELF-ISOLATE BEFORE HOSPITAL ADMISSION OR SURGERY?

For those who have scheduled surgery arranged either through the NHS or private medical care, a COVID-19 swab test may be arranged for you 72 hours prior to your admission date. Once the COVID-19 swab test has been completed, patients must then self-isolate from the time of their test until their hospital admission. The guidance around self-isolating means anyone living in the same household as the patient must also self-isolate, or alternatively the patient must isolate away from other members of the household who are not self-isolating. 

Staff should discuss this request with their line manager and, where possible, those who can work from home should do so for this period of self-isolation. For those where it is not possible to work from home, or where alternative work cannot be sourced, they should be placed on paid leave for this duration.

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