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COVID-19, campus safety and working from home - FAQs

The UK government has removed remaining domestic restrictions in England.

The latest information on COVID-19 can be found on the NHS and government websites.

While restrictions have lifted, COVID remains in circulation, as well as other respiratory diseases, so please follow the latest guidance and take action to reduce the spread of illness.


Safety on campus

Will there be social distancing in place?

The legal requirement for social distancing is no longer in place.

Do I need to wear a face covering on campus and use hand sanitisers?

Face coverings are available at building entrances for you to wear if you want, and can help lower transmission of respiratory illness.

Wall mounted hand gel dispensers will be retained at entrance areas only, for use on entering buildings, with soap and hot water available in all toilets across campus to maintain hand hygiene. A limited number will remain in locations identified locally as supporting an operational requirement. Please continue to practice good hygiene.

Hand sanitisers and supplies of face coverings are checked and topped up daily by Estates, but if more are needed please report this to the Estates Helpdesk.

What cleaning and ventilation protocols will be on place on campus?

We remind colleagues to continue to open windows where they are openable for ventilation and to close after use, in wet weather or to adjust when balancing thermal comfort. All other areas are mechanically ventilated, so no further action is necessary unless reporting a fault to the Estates Helpdesk.

Anti-viral wipes can still be used where available but will not be restocked at this time. Future provision of wipes will be considered depending on changes to Government advice, if required. Estates will continue to use long acting antiviral products when cleaning surfaces and touch points.

Should I continue to take COVID-19 tests?

There is no longer a legal requirement to test and we are not able to provide tests.

Employees that have a health condition, which means they are eligible for COVID 19 treatments, can be sent COVID -19 tests to use if they have symptoms or can order free NHS tests.
See below for information on what to do if you are not feeling well.  


Sick leave, special leave and annual leave FAQs

What do I do if I have coronavirus symptoms?

Colleagues who test positive should follow the current government guidance and stay at home and avoid contact with people for 5 days and avoid meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days.

This starts from the day after you did the test.

Students can still report using the online survey

What support is there if I’m at higher risk for COVID?

The NHS provides additional advice and support for people at higher risk from COVID. You can also speak to our Occupational Health Team if you have concerns.

Is self-isolation counted as paid sick leave or do I have to take unpaid leave?

If your role can be carried out remotely and you feel well enough to work, then you can work from home. 

Otherwise, you should take sick leave, following the standard sickness absence reporting procedure.  

Government guidance continues to recommend a period of five days of self-isolation. Sickness absence triggers will not be applied during the five-day self-isolation period However, if you remain off work due to covid related sickness absence then sickness absence triggers will be applied to the remaining period of absence

This is subject to the same sensitivity and consideration of any reasonable adjustments that should be adopted when managing sickness absence. Please refer to our Sickness Absence Policy.

If I do self-isolate or remain absent with COVID-19 then what proof of absence is required?

Absence related to COVID-19 should be managed in line with sickness absence certification requirements.  However, we currently recognise that isolation notes are still available for the recommended isolation period. Therefore, if you need to self-isolate for five days then you can submit a self-certification form or an isolation note for this period.

If you remain absent beyond the period of self-certification or isolation period, because you are unwell due to COVID then you should obtain a fit note from your GP.

We are unable to accept a self-certification statement, immediately followed by a 10 day isolation note.   Therefore, we will require employees to get a fit note from their GP either after the self-certification period or upon expiry of the isolation note (as long as the isolation note is dated from the first day of the isolation period and not after the expiry of a self-certification period).

We will review this guidance on a regular basis and amend accordingly in line with government guidance and isolation notes.

My child has tested positive for COVID-19 and is required to self-isolate, what support is available?

The current guidance for children or a young person who has a positive COVID-19 test result is that they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for three days after the day they took the test, if they can.  

If your child does have to stay at home, there are a number of options available to support employees who may struggle with childcare during this time, and in the first instance you are advised to speak with your line manager to agree a suitable way forward.

If you’re able to work from home then this is the preferred option, and you should discuss with your line manager if you’re able to share your childcare needs with another member of your household. If you’re struggling to work your normal hours then other options may include but are not limited to: agreeing a temporary change to your working hours/shift pattern which may allow you to work outside of core hours, taking annual leave, or requesting unpaid parental leave.

Under what circumstances can I request coronavirus special leave?

Coronavirus special leave was agreed to supplement our current Special Leave policy. As the Government guidance and legal requirements regarding self-isolation has significantly changed since January 2022 is has been decided that Coronavirus special leave is now not necessary as a specific leave option.  You should therefore refer to other relevant support options including


COVID-19 vaccination

The Government confirmed in July 2022 that a planned and targeted vaccination programme is considered more appropriate than a reactive vaccination strategy.

For these reasons, people aged 50 years and over, those in care homes, and those aged five years and over in clinical risk groups are being offered an autumn booster of COVID-19 vaccine.

A booster will also be offered to front-line health and social care staff, those who care for vulnerable individuals and families of individuals with weakened immune systems.

The autumn booster is being offered to those at high risk of the complications of COVID-19 infection, who may have not been boosted for a few months.

For more information on the autumn booster vaccination programme, please visit the Government website.

What if I experience side-effects after my vaccination?

Some people experience side-effects after having the vaccine.  If you suffer side-effects which mean that you’re unable to work, please notify your line manager if you have attended your vaccine appointment during your usual working hours and are feeling too unwell to return to work following your vaccine. 

Note to managers: if a colleague reports illness before 10am (or within the first hour of their shift) that day should be recorded as a full day of sickness; if they report in between 10am and 3pm (or after the first hour of their shift and before their normal return from lunch) that should be recorded as a half day of sickness absence; if they report after 3pm this should not be counted as sickness absence for that day. 

If side-effects continue beyond the day you received your vaccine then any further time off would be recorded as Sickness Absence in the usual way.

Can my manager ask me if I’ve had the vaccine or not?  Do I have to tell them? 

Whilst your line manager can ask you if you have had the vaccine, you are not obliged to answer, although you are encouraged to do so. The University will not be recording or holding any data about which staff have had the vaccine. 

I’m currently recruiting for a new member of staff - can I ask candidates at interview if they have had the vaccine?

No, you should not ask candidates whether they have had the vaccine or not.

Teaching and students

For further information visit the Resources for teaching and learning site and associated FAQs.

Student FAQs are on MyManchester.


Working from home

How do I set up my workspace at home?

There is information on StaffNet about setting up your workstation and the display screen equipment poster for guidance for more details.

IT Services provide extensive information on working from home on the Support Portal, including accessing systems.


Is support available to help me pay household expenses while I’m working from home?

We have carefully considered whether it is able to make payments to colleagues to contribute to household expenses incurred whilst working from home, such as heating, lighting, internet connection etc.  On balance the decision has been taken not to offer such payments but to encourage colleagues to consider making a claim for household expenses in the form of income tax relief through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).   Details about this tax relief and how to claim it are available on the HMRC website. HMRC advises that you make one annual claim for the period you have been working from home as the refund will likely be given in the form of a tax code adjustment, so you will pay less tax over the year.  Multiple tax payers from the same address can claim this tax relief.

Can I purchase equipment to use to work from home?

You can speak to your manager about:

  • Purchasing small items up to the value of £50 eg: a footrest, keyboard, mouse etc.  If the item you’re requesting costs more than £50 you cannot use the expenses process but instead should follow the usual University purchasing process. It is not possible for staff to purchase items of more than £50, claim £50 through expenses and then make up the remaining amount themselves.
  • Contact the Furniture Store to see if it has the item you require.  The Furniture Store has invested in additional recycled desks and chairs which are available to those most in need.   If you are unable to pick up items you’ve requested from the Furniture Store you should talk to your line manager to see if alternative delivery can be agreed.  If there is a cost associated with delivery you must have agreement from your line manager and local budget holder before placing an order with a delivery company.  You should also request a receipt from the company you use and submit this through the usual expenses process. 

I’m leaving the University, how do I return my laptop or other IT equipment?

If you're leaving the University, there is guidance on StaffNet.

Is overseas working allowed?

Any arrangements involving work overseas must be assessed in advance, and explicit agreement given.  For staff members seeking to work overseas, complete the Staff Working Abroad Form and submit to your line manager and relevant People Partner.

During the pandemic some University staff have been working from an overseas base due to personal reasons or travel restrictions. The University expects that staff members working overseas for these reasons will be actively making arrangements and returning to the UK now travel is permitted.

Whilst based overseas, it’s important to note there may be income tax and social security consequences within your host country for both the individual and possibly the department. Therefore it is advised that for the period that you are working overseas for the University, you should submit a tax return to your local tax office declaring this income. If you are taxed in the UK and overseas on the same income, it may be possible to claim for double taxation relief on your tax returns.

If you are doing certain types of research or online teaching from overseas, or you are sharing information with a colleague who is currently based overseas, export controls may apply. For further information, visit our Export Controls page.

Do I need to inform my home insurance provider that I am working from home?

There is no obligation or legal requirement to have home insurance and it is up to individual members of staff whether or not they wish to purchase this type of policy. However, there are obvious benefits to insuring your home and property and if there is a change in your home circumstances (such as working from home) and you do have a home insurance policy then it is a good idea to notify your insurers of this change.

Is my personal property covered by the University's insurance arrangements whilst working from home?


Is my University equipment covered by the University’s insurance arrangements whilst working from home?

No. Any equipment that you require for your job will be provided for you by the University, you should not be expected to replace the item yourself or to provide insurance for the item yourself.

Small items of University equipment, such as laptop are not insured by the University because it is not cost effective to do so. Laptops are low value, high turnover items, if your laptop (other item of equipment) is damaged, lost or stolen whilst on the University premises or at home it will be replaced by the University but not by the insurance company.

Am I insured by the University if I have an accident whilst working from home?

The University's employer and public liability policies remain in force and are not compromised by staff having to work from home. However, while staff are working from home they are only covered by University insurance when undertaking safe admin or computer-based work. While at home, staff should not undertake any University work that involves higher risk activities such as heavy lifting, heat or chemicals. Even on campus, this kind of work requires significant controls for health and safety reasons – the home environment is not normally equipped to do this work safely.

I have a disability and usually have specialist equipment in the office, what should I do during this period? Will the University pay for equipment for me to use at home?

If you have not been able to take specialist equipment home and are experiencing disability-related difficulties with working, you should, first of all, discuss your requirements with your line manager to see if adjustments can be made to help you work from home. This might include taking more frequent breaks or adopting different working hours and practices.

If you feel you need to explore further support, please contact the Disability Advisory Support Service (DASS) on or call 0161 275 7512 and leave a voicemail. They will try their very best to provide any support they can whilst bearing in mind the current restrictions.

How do I look after my wellbeing while working on my computer at home?

It is particularly important to take regular breaks and maintain positive wellbeing when working from home. Please visit Wellbeing on StaffNet.

  • Also, make sure to take regular micro-breaks (2-3 minutes) every 20 minutes
  • Take a slightly longer break (5 minutes) every hour
  • You may find it beneficial to occasionally undertake some simple stretches, such as those suggested by the NHS.