As you know, we are looking at pausing much of our recruitment given the current situation – both because of the difficulties of running recruitment processes and also because of concern about our cost base in the face of significant income losses this year and next (and probably beyond). Some of you will be being asked for information on current and future vacancies as we try to co-ordinate and get an understanding of what might be business critical – if you end up being asked twice, then apologies. HR are trying to gather information but VP/CoFs are also involved as we need to understand full the context of different cases. It will only be the genuinely business critical cases that are likely to be cleared for recruitment.
Research Staff on Fixed Term Contracts
We are very aware of the position of research staff on fixed term contracts who may be unable to continue their work at home. This is particularly an issue where projects and contracts may be due to end during the working from home period. We will provide further information on ways in which we can address the challenges that this creates for the staff members affected as soon we can clarify the position. Many research funders have indicated that they will offer project extensions (although not necessarily extra funding). Government provisions on furloughed staff may cover this group which will then facilitate the extension of projects. If not, we’ll need to consider alternative options for support. If you have staff in this position, please can you reassure them that we are working on this.
Update from Government
There has been a letter from Minister Donelan today and this contains a number of important messages:
- SLC is planning to make tuition fee payments for term 3 as planned (but you will be aware of growing demand for tuition fee refunds.
- There have been significant reassurances around visas and there is a clear message that no one should experience any detriment because of the impacts of the pandemic.
- We’ve been reminded of an expectation that we should be able to continue paying staff as usual and alerted to the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. HMRC are working urgently to get the scheme up and running before the end of April. You’ll recall that Stuart stressed out commitment to do all that we can to protect jobs and that commitment hasn’t changed.
Some Good News Stories
Finally, attached is information on some of the great work being done by our colleagues to assist with the response to the pandemic.
Professor Christine Ennew OBE