Coronavirus (Covid-19) updates for staff and students

Annual leave

Information and guidance around taking annual leave, including carrying forward untaken leave and going abroad on holiday.

(Updated 24 September) 

General encouragement to take leave 

We appreciate that the Coronavirus outbreak will have impacted many holiday plans and that staff will have cancelled their leave to take at a later date.  However, in line with our Annual Leave Policy, it is important that staff have regular breaks from work, even if this work is being done from home.  This is perhaps more critical to everyone’s health and wellbeing during this time of unprecedented and considerable change. 

We very much hope that there will still be ample time for staff to take all of their remaining leave entitlement once they are back at work and before the end of the current holiday year on 31 December 2020.

Staff who have been furloughed will be required to take the equivalent of 2 weeks’ leave while they are on furlough. Staff do need to agree with their manager when they will be on annual leave as they do not have to remain contactable and available to return to work at short notice while on annual leave.

Carrying forward untaken leave 

Our Annual Leave Policy allows staff to carry forward up to 5 days annual leave into the next holiday year. In recognition of the challenges presented this year, due to COVID-19, staff will be able to carry forward up to 10 days annual leave into the 2021 holiday year. This additional carry forward is for this calendar year only and will revert to the usual carry-over allowance of 5 days in 2022. All annual leave carry forward is pro-rated for staff who work part time staff.

Going abroad on holiday  

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide, apart from some exceptions. Full information can be found on the UK Government website with information specific to Scotland on the Scottish Government website.  

If you do decide to go abroad you should:

  • check the travel advice about the country you are travelling to
  • be aware of any restrictions on your return to the UK, specifically if you will need to self-isolate at home for 14 days.  

If you will be travelling to a country which is not exempt from the Government’s travel restrictions, you must let your manager know before you travel. You must agree if your work can be done from home on your return and during the required 14-day isolation period. If, for any reason, your work cannot be done from home, you will have to cover the 14 days through taking:

  1. additional annual leave
  2. unpaid leave
  3. a combination of annual leave and unpaid leave.

If you travelled to a country which has been removed from the list of countries exempt from the 14-day self-isolation requirement after you left the UK, you must contact your manager as soon as you can and agree how your self-isolation will be covered. If you can’t work from home, you will still need to make-up the working time you spent in isolation.  

Please note that if you are on furlough and do go abroad to a non-exempt country you will also have to cover the 14-day isolation period with annual leave, accrued TOIL or take unpaid leave. This is to ensure the fair treatment of all staff who knowingly travel abroad when restrictions are in place and so limit their ability to work.   

Note: you do not need to self-isolate if a member of your household has returned from a country which is subject to travel restrictions. You only need to do so if they have symptoms of the virus or you have been contacted through the Test and Protect programme.   

An update to the Christmas closure date in 2020

In recognition of all the hard work everyone has put in during what has been such a challenging year, it has been agreed that the University will extend the break over the 2020 festive period to give an additional day’s public holiday. For the 2020 festive period, the University will now be closed from Thursday 24 December 2020 and will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 5 January 2021.

The designated public holidays for all staff will now include an additional day on Thursday 24 December, and will be as follows:

  • Thursday 24 December
  • Friday 25 December
  • Monday 28 December
  • Friday 1 January
  • Monday 4 January

In line with our annual leave policy, part-time staff will have additional pro-rated time added to their 2020 leave entitlement to cover Thursday 24 December or take at another time if they do not contractually work a Thursday.

The closure dates to be taken from your annual leave entitlement will remain unchanged:

  • Tuesday 29 December
  • Wednesday 30 December
  • Thursday 31 December