Coronavirus (Covid-19) updates for staff and students

Absence recording and annual leave

Key information for managers around self-isolation, absence recording and managing annual leave.

Self-isolating/Quarantine 

(Updated 20 September 2021)

Current information on when staff need to self-isolate can be found on our Managing Covid-19 webpages. If a staff member is required to self-isolate for any reason, they must not come on to campus until their period of self-isolation has ended.  Detailed information on self-isolation can also be found on the Scottish Government website:

Who needs to self-isolate

Absence Recording 

(Updated 20 September 2021)

We need all staff to tell us if they are self-isolating. This should be done using the Staff Covid-19 Reporting Form.

Please ensure all absences are recorded in the HR system, Oracle, as detailed below. This must be done in addition to any local absence recording arrangements, e.g. WhosOff.

Situation

Feasible/able to work from home/managed accommodation 

Oracle Absence Type

Oracle Reason Type

Employee has to self-isolate for 10* days as they have symptoms of the virus or have received a positive test result

Yes - if their role can be carried out at home and they are well enough to work (doing what they can when they can, as agreed with their manager) 

No recording required

 

No recording required

Employee has to self-isolate for 10* days as they have symptoms of the virus or have received a positive test result

No – even although their role can be done from home, they are not well enough to work at all

Other Authorised Absence

 

Special Sick Leave (see Note 1)

Employee has to self-isolate for 10* days as they have symptoms of the virus or have received a positive test result

No – nature of role is such that it cannot be done from home /employee does not have the technology to do so

Other Authorised Absence

 

Special Sick Leave (see Note 1)

Employee has to self-isolate in line with Government/ Public Health guidance (see Note 2)

Yes, role can be carried out at home/other accommodation and they can continue to work on a flexible basis (i.e. doing what they can, when they can, as agreed with their manager)

No recording required

 

No recording required

Employee has to self-isolate in line with Government/Public Health guidance (see Note 2)

No – nature of role is such that it cannot be done from home/other accommodation/employee does not have the technology to do so (See note 3)

No recording required (See note 3)

 

No recording required (See note 3)

Employee is unwell as a result of receiving a covid vaccination

No – even although their role can be done from home, they are not well enough to work at all

Other Authorised Absence Special Sick Leave (see Note 1)

 

*This can amount to more than 10 days, as self-isolation must start on the day symptoms begin or a positive test is received.

Note 1: The employee’s sickness due to coronavirus or as a side effect of the vaccine must not be recorded as normal sick leave. This is to ensure their absence is paid in full and that Covid-19 absence does not impact their sickness absence record or future entitlement to sick pay.

Note 2: This could be for up to 10 (calendar) days (plus the day of notification), but may be less. Please refer to the prevailing Scottish Government guidance on when and for how long individuals need to self-isolate. The period of time could be considerably longer if they have been advised by their GP to take additional measures to protect their health.

Self-isolation can end with confirmation of a negative PCR test, provided it has been more than 14 days since their second vaccination and they remain asymptomatic Otherwise it will end 10

Note 3: Staff who have to self-isolate due to returning from holidaying in a country which is not exempt from travel restrictions – and who cannot work from home– must cover the 10 days with annual leave or unpaid leave, or a combination of both. 

Isolating for longer than 10 days

It is possible that a staff member may have to self-isolate for more than 10 (calendar) days. For example they may develop symptoms and start to self-isolate for 10 days, then test positive for the virus, from which point they would need to self-isolate for a further 10 days.  As there is the potential that they may not feel well enough to return to work immediately their self-isolation ends, , we will treat the first 3 working weeks of any continuous absence due to covid as ‘special sick leave’.  Thereafter, their absence from work will be treated as normal sick leave and they will be required to provide a Fit Note.

Managing longer-term absence

Some staff may continue to be unwell after their self-isolation period ends. For some, this could be for a matter of days, others may be very unwell for a number of weeks and recover fully and others may continue to suffer a variety of symptoms that endure or come and go over a more extended period. These longer term symptoms are often referred to as ‘long COVID’.  

As tabled above staff who are unwell and self-isolating will be deemed to be on ‘special sick leave’. Once the special sick leave  period has lapsed their absence from work will be recorded, managed and paid as it would in any other circumstance, i.e. as sick leave. You will need to remember to change the classification of their absence in the HR System, Oracle and follow normal absence management procedures.

As with any long-term health condition, managers must take a sympathetic and considered approach and seek advice from their HR Partner,  and Occupational Health, before taking any action regarding the staff member’s continued absence from work.

Managing annual leave

In line with our Annual Leave policy managers must ensure their staff take regular breaks from work, even if that work is being done from home and staff are restricted in how they can spend their leisure time due to travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic.  

It is important that managers take regular stock of how much leave their staff have taken and manage team workloads to avoid large amounts of leave being taken towards the end of the calendar year. This is particularly important this year given the increase in carry-forward from 2020 into 2021 (from five to ten days, pro-rated for part-time staff).

As in 2020, staff will be expected to have taken 40-60% of their accrued annual leave by the start of semester 1, i.e. by mid-September 2021.  Managers are expected to manage team workloads to achieve this.

While government travel restrictions are in place, staff should let their managers know in advance if they will be relocating to/re-entering the UK from a non-exempt country and so will have to self-isolate for 10 days on their return. 

Managers should feel free to ask their staff if they will be travelling abroad and ensure they know if they will have to self-isolate for 10 days on their return. If they do, managers should discuss how any work which cannot be done from home/managed accommodation will be covered, such as onsite teaching or other on campus commitments. 

If work cannot be done in part or in full from home/managed accommodation, employees must agree with their manager how the time will be covered, i.e. through annual leave, accrued TOIL, unpaid leave, additional hours or combination thereof.