Frequently asked questions for staff members
We will keep updating this page as often as we can to keep you informed.
Please note that due to the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus, the University may need to review its position in respect of these matters and in line with any Government or other official advice or guidance.
Given the completely unique scenario we are currently facing, we are unable to address and answer every different scenario and question that may arise. If you have any further queries please contact your line manager or HR Business Partner in the first instance.
We urge colleagues to follow the guidance and good practice which is widely available in order to help safeguard both themselves and others. The health and welfare of our staff and student community is our immediate priority at this time.
The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. The government has now introduced three new measures as of 23 March 2020:
1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public
Every citizen must comply with these new measures.
The majority of buildings on campus are now closed and card access suspended, to help ensure safety and wellbeing.
Individuals should now work from home where possible. Managers will talk with staff and where possible implement home working arrangements with immediate effect, ensuring that all business critical activity continues.
Working from home
We understand that working from home is a new way of working for a lot of people at Warwick. There are a number of places where you can get guidance on what to prepare, plus on how to do it effectively, safely and in a way that enables you to continue to feel part of your working community.
We will be adding to this guidance over the coming weeks:
- Tips on getting the best from IT at home
- Advice and guidance to help you adapt to remote working
- Health and Safety advice for working at home
- ITS guidance on equipment, software and staying in touch
- Mind guidance on looking after your wellbeing at home
- Alternative guide to working from home – tips on how to stay happy and healthy - a perspective on Twitter
Accessing programmes remotely
You can do the following from any computer using a web browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge:
- Access your work email and calendar through Outlook
- Use Word, Excel and PowerPoint to create and edit files
- Work online collaboratively, instant message or chat, and have video or audio calls through Microsoft Teams
- Use Tabula, eVision, SuccessFactors, Concur for expenses, and the ITS helpdesk for requests and incidents as normal.
If you use Cognos or PSE, you will need special arrangements, and you should contact the helpdesk at helpdesk at warwick dot ac dot uk for training.
Make sure that your operating system for your computer is up to date, with password protection and antivirus software. If you do not know if your device is secure, please check with the helpdesk before you carry out any work on it.
Think of the environment
When you leave your office at work, please make sure you have turned your items of electrical equipment off, just like you would over the Christmas shutdown. If you believe that there is a large space where electricity could be significantly reduced, you can report this to bms dot schedules at warwick dot ac dot uk.
The Finance Office is working to provide additional help and support Heads of Departments, managers and all colleagues at this difficult time. We are continuing to provide the majority of our usual services remotely.
Unfortunately we do anticipate an increase in attempted fraud at this time. All staff are asked to be particularly alert to any unusual or suspicious activity or contacts purporting to be from customers or suppliers. Consider whether information from third parties is genuine and always check with Finance Office if you are unsure. Please also be mindful of information that you send by email. Please password protect all personal or otherwise sensitive information. We will be reminding our suppliers that we never change payment or delivery details by email.
There may be a continued need for some on-site presence to deliver business critical roles and sustained services on campus in some areas. Where this is deemed appropriate and absolutely necessary, then suitable arrangements will be put in place. Where a role cannot be undertaken remotely, individuals will be expected to remain available for work (unless other leave arrangements are agreed). In the event that an individual is unwell and unable to work, this should be reported as sickness absence in line with normal reporting procedures.
Managers will advise staff on changes to normal working practices.
The normal leave arrangements for annual leave still apply, and individuals can request other forms of leave as per normal. If during this time a staff member wishes not be available for work, then there is the opportunity to request paid leave or unpaid leave, to be discussed and agreed with your line manager.
As part of the Government request, there are particular groups who need to be ‘Social Distancing’ for a 12 week (or more in line with Government advice) period. These include individuals:
- Aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions)
- Under 70 with an underlying health condition (anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds)*
- Pregnant women
Staff who fall into one of these categories must contact their line manager as a priority, if they have not already done so. Line managers should then discuss with the individual about arrangements for home working and put these into effect as soon as possible. In the absence of having home working arrangements in place, or if it is not possible for the work to be done from home, you will be asked to leave work and remain at home with immediate effect. This absence from work will be classed as authorised paid leave and should be recorded on SuccessFactors.
If you are classed as being in a vulnerable group it is critical that you follow government advice, however we appreciate that this is a very challenging circumstance and encourage individuals to stay in contact with colleagues and line managers during this time. The University will be in touch with you in due course.
We appreciate that staff may have such concerns, and that these are concerns that are shared. Staff and student health and welfare is our priority and balancing this with maintaining essential University functionality has to be our main focus. Staff are asked to raise their concerns with their line managers and discuss the practicalities of working remotely in the first instance.
Where a role cannot be undertaken remotely, individuals may choose to request an alternative form of authorised leave. See What if my role isn't suitable to work from home?
We recognise this is an exceptional and unprecedented time for all. If you are able to work from home but are having to balance this with carer responsibilities, then we fully understand this may present you with challenges.
We are working with managers to ensure that there is clear guidance on how such situations should be managed. So please talk with you manager in the first instance so that they can understand your challenges and discuss with you your own particular situation and what working arrangements are feasible.
This may include an acknowledgement that your normal pattern of working hours will change and be variable, as well as your capacity to work, including on a daily basis, to provide you with more flexibility as carer demands arise. For example, you may be able to do some work in the evenings when dependants have gone to bed, instead of during day, or work around a partner with shared parental responsibility.
Your manager should also clarify the priority work you need to deliver to help you focus on this.
There remains the option during this time to take annual leave and this should be requested and booked in the normal way. In addition, there are other policies which may be accessed including time off for dependants, parental leave or unpaid leave; please contact your HRBP if helpful. Line managers may also be able to consider staff making up time at a later date, depending on operational needs and the availability of other staff.
We want to ensure staff are supported as much as possible during the current coronavirus situations, so please do speak up and let’s work through this together.
(We are linking directly to them rather than repeating their advice in case it changes.)
Staff will continue to receive their normal pay in line with their terms and conditions during a period of self-isolation.
Providing individuals remain well enough during a period of self-isolation they can continue to work from home. Should they become unwell they should notify their line manager and ensure this is recorded in SuccessFactors.
Use the online NHS coronavirus service to get advice,
Yes. Staff should notify the University in accordance with the normal sickness absence reporting procedures, whatever the nature of their illness.
If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus, you should report this immediately via the University helpline. Call 024 765 23111 from an external number, or 23111 from an internal number, to find out what to do next. (Please note, we cannot provide medical advice. The helpline is for reporting positive cases of confirmed coronavirus and for people on campus who need help and assistance relating to coronavirus.)
|Scenario||Absence type to select in SuccessFactors||Sickness reason||Pay situation|
|Working from home as agreed with your line manager (not self-isolating and not in the vulnerable group)||n.a.||n.a.||Authorised normal pay|
|Required to self-isolate in line with current government advice, but still well and able to continue to work remotely||Self-isolation - up to 14 days - continuing to work remotely OR Social distancing (in vulnerable group) - 12 weeks - continuing to work remotely||n.a.||As long as employee is able to continue working remotely, this type of absence continues with normal pay.|
|Required to self-isolate in line with current government advice, still well but unable to work remotely due to the nature of job||Self-isolation - up to 14 days – unable to work remotely OR Social distancing (in vulnerable group) - 12 weeks - unable to work remotely||Authorised normal pay|
|Unwell and unable to work (may also be self-isolating)||Sickness||Coronavirus symptoms (high temp/cough) OR Infection - tested positive for Coronavirus (Covid 19)||Normal statutory or occupational sick pay as per terms and conditions|
You can see more guidance for recording absences related to coronavirus.
As of Monday 16 March, the Prime Minister has asked everyone, where possible and practical, to work from home. Heads of Department will now work with colleagues to implement the Prime Minister’s request with immediate effect. We had, of course, already started work to support staff to prepare for working from home.
You should discuss planned working arrangements with your line manager.
The University will remain open, but there will be no face to face teaching or assessments. Academic departments will be in touch with students via local routes to advise on changes and we are providing extensive support for academic departments to be able to move swiftly to online teaching and assessment.
If you're still really anxious and worried about working during this time please talk to your Line Manager and/or HR Business Partner to talk about your concerns.
If someone on campus is confirmed to have contracted coronavirus, we will work with local health services and PHE to ensure that the individual receives the best care. We will inform our community, and ensure that anyone in contact with the infected individual is identified and receives medical attention and that the welfare of the wider University is considered.
We will continue to provide information and guidance to our students and staff via our web pages, our social media accounts, and via email.
Please talk to your line manager or HR business partner for support.
You can also contact the Employee Assistance Programme which is open 24/7.
Your health and wellbeing is an absolute priority, particularly in these very challenging and unusual times. As such, it remains important for us all of us to take time off and have a break from work.
Normal arrangements for requesting and taking leave still apply. We encourage you to ensure you continue to plan your leave as you would in normal circumstances and with your manager.
Be available to work
If you are at home and well but are unable to work (for example, because home working is not possible), then you should remain available for work.
If you wish to request a period of annual leave at this time, you should do so in the normal way. In that case you would not need to be available for work, other than on an exceptional basis - this could be if we have high levels of absence for example.
Coordinate with your team
We shall be asking managers to consider leave arrangements with individuals and teams to ensure that there is a coordinated approach and so that, when things 'return to normal', staff are available to help us quickly resume business as usual.
Limitations and carry-over
It is anticipated that when things 'return to normal' that the opportunity to take annual leave will be limited due to operational priority and will be approved by your line manager.
Equally the limits for carrying over annual leave from one holiday year to the next apply, in accordance with the University’s Annual Leave Policy and subject to approval of line managers, which may not be possible at this time due to operational need; any remaining accrued annual leave will be lost.
You are therefore encouraged to take your annual leave in this annual leave year and throughout the duration of the current situation.
If you had annual leave booked but now wish to cancel it (eg because a trip has been cancelled), then you may request to cancel that leave and take it at another time. However, it is for your managers to make local decisions about this. As such, you should first speak with your line manager to discuss whether it is possible to cancel part or all of your leave.
It maybe that this leave cannot be rescheduled for a later date where operational needs require colleagues to be at work.
Generally, where there remains work to be undertaken, then managers may agree to cancel the leave (or part thereof). However, we are mindful that staff will need to take time off during this challenging time and so we are encouraging both staff and managers to consider this.
Managers are also being encouraged to ensure a planned approach to leave across their teams to ensure work continues to be delivered, both at this time and also when 'back to normal' when on-site working resumes.
Children and dependants
Where a close contact has been identified by PHE/local health protection team, as needing to self-isolate, is undergoing tests or has tested positive for coronavirus, you may also be required to self-isolate as per the criteria. Please refer to questions on self-isolation criteria and how to notify the University.
If you are unable to attend work because of a school closure, you should discuss the practicalities of working from home with your line manager.
For some areas of the University where home-working is not an option, alternative leave options such as annual leave, time off for dependants, parental leave or unpaid leave will need to be considered. Line Managers may also be able to consider making up time at a later date depending on operational needs and the availability of other staff.
If the closure is prolonged, we will review our approach in line with Government guidance.
If working from home is not applicable/possible, you can request annual leave. Other leave options such as Time off for Dependants would allow you to take short term unpaid leave whilst longer term arrangements are put in place. Line managers may also be able to consider making up time at a later date depending on operational needs and the availability of other staff.
If the closure is prolonged, we will review our approach in line with Government guidance.
How will I know if University advice changes?
Due to the unprecedented and unpredictable nature of coronavirus we will continue to update FAQs to reflect current circumstances. Please continue to check the website and maintain regular contact with line managers and colleagues during this time.
We appreciate these are very challenging circumstances, please be assured that our staff and students remain our main priority at this time.
As the situation develops so rapidly, with conflicting information externally, we are using these webpages as our main source of information for students and staff. We are updating them frequently.
We will also email you directly with significant updates that will impact your work or studies at Warwick.
- Sign up to notifications for this page - you'll be automatically emailed whenever a large edit is made to the page
- Watch your emails for correspondence from your department and from the University
- Read our regular staff and student e-newsletters for important updates and prompts to visit the webpages
- We will also keep in touch through Insite
- See all our latest updates online
Keep up to date externally
You can follow Government and other public authorities to stay up to date.
Most have social media accounts and email update facilities.
In line with Government advice, there will be no overseas travel on University business.
In addition, staff are encouraged to minimise their use of public transport and unnecessary journeys where possible.
Meetings that can be undertaken with colleagues joining remotely via phone, Skype or Microsoft teams should replace face to face meetings.
Where a meeting is deemed a priority and exceptionally has to continue on a face to face basis, then we advise those attending in person to socially distance in line with guidelines.
1. What happens to me if I am a visa holder who is affected by travel restrictions due to the current situation concerning coronavirus?
The Home Office has published immigration guidance for individuals affected by coronavirus travel restrictions including advice for those who may be unable to leave the UK before their visa expires, or may not be able to return to the UK as soon as planned due to travel restrictions.
- Visas extended for those currently unable to return home due to COVID-19
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents
As in many cases this will be outside of the person’s control, this should not negatively affect their visa. Some specific answers in relation to Tier 2/5 and right to work queries are answered below, however if departments or individual staff members themselves have any queries of concerns about how coronavirus may affect visa holders, including those sponsored by the University on a Tier 2 or 5 visa, contact HR dot Immigration at warwick dot ac dot uk
The Home Office has also set up a telephone helpline and dedicated email address.
2. Are there any impacts on Tier 2 visa holders who cannot attend employment due to illness, a period of self-isolation, school closures or who are unable to travel due to restrictions due to coronavirus?
Staff should keep the University informed of their situation through the advised routes. The advice for all staff on how to record any absences or remote-working related to coronavirus should also be followed for any sponsored employees on a Tier 2 visa and Tier 5 (GAE) visa where relevant. For example, if a Tier 2 visa holder is in self-isolation, not able to travel due to the coronavirus or not able to attend work due to school closures, they may be able work from home or remotely. This should be recorded as per the University coronavirus guidance for all staff. If working from home or working remotely is not an option, alternative leave options such as annual leave, time off for dependants, parental leave or unpaid leave may need to be considered.
If a member of staff is working remotely from outside of the UK due to coronavirus restrictions, this information about working outside of the UK should also be recorded by the Tier 2 visa holders department as it may be required for any subsequent application made by the visa holder for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain).
3. Will any Tier 2/5 visa holders absences due to coronavirus need to be reported by the University to the Home Office within 10 working days as per usual sponsor reporting requirements?
The Home Office has advised that the University as sponsor will not need to report any absences they have authorised for Tier 2 and 5 visa holders which relate to coronavirus. This includes sickness absence, self-isolation and unpaid leave. Other absences or changes not in relation to coronavirus will need to continue to be recorded by the department and reported as normal.
4. What will happen if a Tier 2 visa holder is on unpaid leave for 4 weeks or more due to coronavirus?
Should a Tier 2 visa holder be on unpaid leave for four weeks or more due to the current exceptional circumstances, the University as sponsor will not be required to withdraw sponsorship and the Home Office will not take any compliance action against employees who are unable to attend their work due to the coronavirus outbreak, or against sponsors which authorise absences and continue to sponsor employees despite absences for this reason.
5. How are new starters sponsored on a Tier 2 visa affected if they are unable to start on the expected start date and the delay may be over 28 days?
Similarly, due to the exceptional circumstances, sponsorship will not be negatively impacted as a result of a delayed start date of over 28 days after the expected start date for a Tier 2 visa holder. If this situation applies to a new starter on a Tier 2 visa, the department can contact the HR Immigration team at HR dot Immigration at warwick dot ac dot uk about the particular case for further advice on a new start date.
6. What is the situation for sponsored researchers who are Tier 5 visa holders visiting the University?
If visitors sponsored on a Tier 5 (GAE) visa whose visit dates or visa applications may be affected by the restrictions due to Coronavirus, contact the HR Immigration team for advice.
7. Can a new starter (whether they are a visa holder or a UK/EEA national) start work from home or remotely in the UK if they are unable to attend for work due to coronavirus restrictions if their right to work check has not yet been undertaken?
A right to work check must still be undertaken before any work is undertaken by the employee in the UK can commence, even if that work is undertaken from home or remotely within the UK. Contact HR dot Immigration at warwick dot ac dot uk for guidance on how to perform a right to work check for remote workers within the UK to ensure the University continues to be compliant with its obligations as an employer. The individual must also have obtained their acceptable right to work document first in order to work in the UK if they have been awaiting this.
Contact the HR Immigration team for advice if it is considered that a worker may be able to work remotely from an overseas location outside of the UK if they are unable to travel to the UK due to current coronavirus restrictions.
8. What is the situation for those visa applicants where the Visa Application Centre (VAC) is closed and they are unable to retrieve their visa or apply for a visa?
For those visa applicants awaiting the return of their passport and visas from a closed Visa Application Centre (VAC) which is currently the case in China, the Home Office advises anyone with an urgent travel need to contact the Chinese authorities (or if not Chinese, their embassy in China) about getting an emergency travel document. A travel document will be needed before the UK government can consider a request for an urgent visa to travel to the UK. Advice on making the visa application will need to be obtained via the helpline.
Those awaiting an update on a submitted visa application or needing to submit a visa application for the UK should continue to monitor the VFS website for updates. VFS is the commercial partner of the Home Office who run the VACs.
We are awaiting further information being published on the impact of the closed centres for situations where visa vignettes in passports are due to expire shortly or where a visa application has been submitted online but biometrics cannot be enrolled in time.
During this time individuals paid via VAM or STP payroll will be entitled to claim for any preparation, marking or delivery of online learning that can be undertaken remotely but will not be paid for any lost contact time (e.g. lectures, supervision) that cannot be delivered virtually. Where possible the University will try to reschedule lost contact time in order to maintain continuity for its staff and students, in which case payment for the contact work can be reclaimed at a later date (subject to VISA restrictions).
In line with Government advice about social distancing, you should not be meeting up with anyone outside your household unless it's absolutely vital.
You can use Skype, conference calls, or Microsoft Teams to have online meetings.
Please only hold face to face meetings if it is absolutely vital for your work and your meeting cannot be held any other way. You must discuss this with your line manager or head of department for authorisation in advance and explore all other possibilities.
If a meeting is deemed a priority and exceptionally has to continue on a face to face basis, then we advise those attending in person to keep at least 2 metres apart, in line with social distancing guidance.
Where there is a significant level of staff absence, it will be important for the University to determine and ensure minimum operating requirements and flexible working practices in order to maintain essential services / activities and business continuity.
This may include redeploying staff where appropriate to other duties. Given the unusual and unprecedented circumstances associated with the coronavirus, staff may be asked to undertake other work in line with their grade, skills, capability and training in line with their terms and conditions of employment. We kindly ask for staff understanding, co-operation and flexibility in this respect as we work together to ensure essential business continuity.
In the event that there is a considerable reduction or cessation of work, colleagues will continue to be paid in line with their terms and conditions. Please note that due to the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus, the University may need to review its position in respect of these matters and in line with official advice.
Currently, as there are no planned restrictions on public transport, you should ensure that you make appropriate arrangements to attend work on time. The University will continue to monitor the advice received from Public Health England and take action as necessary. Where there is an unexpected disruption to travel as a result of coronavirus, you should notify your line managers as soon as possible and consider other arrangements such as working from home (if possible) or taking unpaid/annual leave if necessary. Line Managers may be able to consider making up time at a later date depending on operational needs and the availability of other staff.
Our payroll team are working hard to ensure that there are no delays to normal pay dates and we are pleased to confirm that the pay run has been successfully run for this month as normal.
Please note, however, that at this time we are not in a position to distribute your payslip given current exceptional circumstances, and are investigating an alternative distribution method. We will let you know more in due course, and we appreciate your patience and understanding in the meantime.
We are currently looking at how the Government Furloughed workers / Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme applies to our different cohorts of staff.
The detail on this is emerging so we do not have definitive answers yet.
We have however slightly revised guidance on Unitemps contracts, so we can work with colleagues at this time to create stability and protect jobs. We will issue further guidance shortly on current fixed term contracts.
As soon as information is available, we will provide clarity about Government schemes, and support for colleagues.
Due to the current exceptional circumstances, it may not be possible for a scheduled review to be undertaken in order to confirm the outcome of your probation. In line with the University’s probation guidelines, where the opportunity to fully assess performance is affected, the probationary period may be duly extended. If this is the case, then your manager will liaise with you to confirm an extension to your probation in these exceptional times.
Advice from teams at Warwick
Find out about Funder updates, a link to REF updates and a link to the status of the Research Technology Platforms (RTPs).
The Legal and Compliance Team have received a number of queries related to COVID-19 recently, particularly on the subject of cancellations, including:
- Can we cancel our participation in an event?
- Can we claim money back if overseas events are cancelled?
- Can other parties cancel their participation with us because of COVID-19?
- And other questions
Please note these FAQs are strictly for internal purposes and use by University of Warwick staff only.
Following the decision to leave only critical staff remaining on campus, and the move to working from home for the majority of staff, it has been agreed to suspend charges for parking, including car park permit deductions, pay & display and the use of 'Flexi-pay' scratch cards, whilst the current exceptional situation remains.
If you are a staff permit holder there is no need to take any action - you do not need to cancel your permit.
See Health and Safety's advice relating to COVID-19, including advice for staff working at home, and for staff whose work is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
Please check the advice from the procurement team.