Guidance for Managers and Staff on Absence and Pay arrangements related to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on 23 March 2020 of new rules to tackle the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) everyone is being asked to stay at home, make no unnecessary journeys or social contact and only leave home for essential shopping needs, medical care or to exercise once a day by yourself. You can travel to work if this is essential although the majority of University staff are now required to work from home as far as possible. It is not necessary to report your absence from work in these circumstances and normal pay arrangements will continue. If you become unwell while at home, please report your illness to your line manager at the earliest opportunity.

Your manager will provide guidance if you are amongst those staff who are required to come onto our campuses to carry out essential work that cannot be done from home.  

Managers and staff should follow the guidance below in the event that a member of staff requires a period of absence from work due to self-isolation or for any another reason connected to Coronavirus other than the overall instruction to stay at home.

It is expected during this unprecedented time that you remain in regular contact with your manager and those you manage, even if you are not working in your normal workplace.

The University has agreed the following arrangements for reporting and recording periods away from work and for pay during these periods of absence. These arrangements will be kept under regular review as the situation develops and any changes will be notified to staff.

The University has also updated their terms on Emergency Leave - find out more.

This is a fast-moving situation. Staff should refer to the regular communications and updates from the Registrar and at www.exeter.ac.uk/coronavirus/communications

Queries should be emailed to coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk.

Reporting absence from work

All periods away from work referred to in the table below should be reported to your manager in the first instance.

In addition, please use the following form to record a period of self-isolation related to Covid-19: Self-isolation notification form

Emergency leave

We understand for parents with the announcement of school closures this is an unsettling time. If you are able to work at home around your caring responsibilities, please continue to do so.

If you are not able to do any work, in recognition of these exceptional circumstances and in order to enable individuals time to adjust to balancing these demands, the University has agreed to extend its paid emergency leave to 10 days from Monday 23 March (pro-rata for part-time staff). Find out more on the Emergency leave page.

Staff Initial Process

Staff should report their absence from work to their managers as soon as possible, either by email or telephone. You should continue to report absence (e.g. self-isolation because you are showing symptoms or because someone you live with is showing symptoms and you are isolating yourself as a precaution) even when you are working from home. You should also complete the online Self-isolation notification form to record any period of self-isolation relating to Covid-19.  This will help the University to monitor the rate of absence related to COVID-19. The information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence and processed by HR staff only. These arrangements apply to both academic and professional services staff.

If you are unable to work because you have Coronavirus or are self-isolating, the University will waive the requirement for you to provide a fit note from your doctor for the period of absence in support of the advice that people with symptoms should avoid going to their GP.

If you have received a communication from the NHS to advise that you are living with a health condition, taking medication or receiving treatment that puts you at high risk of developing serious complications if you develop Coronavirus (COVID-19), the government has advised that you should stay at home for at least 12 weeks from 22 March 2020 to protect yourself. Please discuss your circumstances with your line manager so that support can be put in place for you. You are not required to share details of your condition with anyone, including your manager, unless you wish to do so.

Manager’s Initial Process

If a member of your team has reported a sickness absence related to Coronavirus please follow the usual process to record this in iTrent. If the member of your team is self-isolating, please ask them to complete the Self-isolation notification form, or alternatively you can fill this out on their behalf It would be helpful to agree who will complete the form to avoid duplication. This will help the University to monitor the rate of absence related to COVID-19. The information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence and processed by HR staff only.

Managers should establish if the staff member needs any particular support or assistance, for example to facilitate working at home, or if they have any wellbeing concerns. Those staff who have been advised that they are at high risk of developing serious complications if they develop Coronavirus may require additional support. Staff can continue to access the University’s EAP provider, Pro-Counselling - www.exeter.ac.uk/staff/wellbeing/pro-counselling/

Managers should agree with their team members how they will stay in contact with each other during the isolation period e.g. regular phone, email or text communications.

When an employee recovers from any illness, including Coronavirus, and is able to resume working, even where they may be working at home, the manager should arrange a return to work conversation with them. At this time the sickness record on Trent may be adjusted to take into account any time spent working at home that has been agreed with the manager
If you are a manager and you become ill, please let your team know so they are aware of who they can liaise with in your absence, for example your line manager or another appropriate member of staff.

Claims/Temporary Resourcing Unit

Individuals working on eClaims or the Temporary Resourcing Unit should notify your manager and e-Claims@exeter.ac.uk if you are unwell or unable to attend work for any another reason connected to Coronavirus. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay from the first day of your illness, please email your line manager. If you are not unwell but are self-isolating under Public Health England advice, the University will, as an exceptional measure, pay you for any work that has been agreed and scheduled. Similarly, while the University is closed for all but essential activity, you will be paid for any work which has been agreed and scheduled. Please claim any hours through the eClaims system in the normal way for your manager to approve. Where possible, arrangements will be made for you to undertake the scheduled work at home.

Postgraduate Teaching Assistants (PTAs)

Postgraduate Teaching Assistants will continue to be paid if their work is cancelled or rescheduled, and should claim for their hours in the usual way via Trent. Please contact the manager who normally assigns work to you to clarify the expectations of your role and whether you can undertake work from home.

Reason for absenceRole/technology enables (some) work at homeRole/technology does not enable work at home1

University instructs most staff not to attend work on site, except those providing essential services that can only be undertaken onsite 5 7.

Employee liaises with manager about what work can be undertaken at home.
No record of absence will be made.
Continue normal pay.

No work expectation.
No record of absence will be made.
Continue normal pay.

Employee is ill with confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)

This will be recorded as sickness.
Sick pay applies. 
No work expectation.

This will be recorded as sickness.
Sick pay applies. 
No work expectation.

Employee has self-isolated following the latest government guidance

Employee liaises with manager about what work can be undertaken at home, 2,3,4.
This will be recorded as self-isolation.
(If sickness symptoms develop, this should be reported to the University and recorded as sickness)
Continue normal pay.

No work expectation.
This will be recorded as sickness.
If full sick pay allowance expires, continue on full pay. 

Employee self isolates because they have a medical condition which puts them at increased risk.
(They may make this decision after speaking to their medical adviser, but to avoid putting additional pressure on the NHS, this is not required by the University).

Subject to agreement of manager.
Employee liaises with manager about what work can be undertaken at home, 2,3,4.
This will be recorded as self-isolation.
(If sickness symptoms develop, this should be reported to the University and recorded as sickness)
Continue normal pay.

Subject to agreement of manager.
No work expectation.
This will be recorded as sickness.
If full sick pay allowance expires, continue on full pay. 

Employee self isolates because of concerns about a vulnerable relative they live with or have caring responsibilities for.

Subject to agreement of manager.
Employee liaises with manager about what work can be undertaken at home, 2,3,4.
This will be recorded as self-isolation (precautionary).
Continue normal pay.

Subject to agreement of manager.
No work expectation.
This will be recorded as Emergency Leave.
Continue normal pay. 

Employee cannot attend work because normal caring arrangements are interrupted, e.g. closure of child’s school or nursery.

Employee liaises with manager about what work can be undertaken at home, taking account of their caring responsibilities, 2,3,4.
Employee should, as far as practicable:

  • make alternative caring arrangements at the earliest opportunity
  • share caring responsibilities with their partner;
  • undertake as much work as possible, around their caring responsibilities.

In the light of the Prime Minister’s announcement that everyone should stay at home, making alternative childcare arrangements may not be feasible so staff are encouraged to do what they can around their caring responsibilities and keep in touch with their line manager.
Normal pay will continue.

No work expectation, but the employee should, as far as practicable

  • make alternative caring arrangements at the earliest opportunity
  • share caring responsibilities with their partner.

You should keep in touch with your line manager in case there are alternative duties you can carry out at home around your caring responsibilities.
Normal pay will continue.

  1. Staff who are unable to complete their work from home should notify their line manager. The University is currently holding discussions about how we can best support all of our staff during this period. We are also identifying possible critical redeployment areas. Inability to work at home will include the employee’s role (e.g. chef or cleaner), access to resources and, in some circumstances, caring responsibilities if childcare is disrupted, subject to note 2 below and an expectation that an employee with caring responsibilities will arrange to do as much work as possible at home, working around their childcare responsibilities, including working outside normal working hours.
  2. The employee may be assigned duties which can be undertaken at home within their capability which are not part of their normal daily responsibilities.
  3. It may be necessary for arrangements to be made to deliver pc equipment etc. to their home.
  4. Staff with teaching responsibilities should arrange for scheduled teaching to be made available online at the earliest opportunity, following a timetable agreed with their HoD/Director of Education.
  5. Where the University instructs staff not to attend work on site, the University will pay workers paid by eClaims who are scheduled to work on these dates. (Exceptionally, the eClaims worker may be able to undertake the scheduled work at home.
  6. Postgraduate Teaching Assistants will continue to be paid if their work is cancelled or rescheduled, and should claim for their hours in the usual way via Trent.
  7. In the event that the University instructs most staff not to attend work on site, except those providing essential services, it will not be necessary to record the absence.

Date of this version: 24 March 2020