Last updated on 17 August 2022
The UK government has removed remaining domestic restrictions in England.
A number of actions will be taken over the summer period in preparation for the 2022/2023 academic year.
As we approach the end of our hybrid working pilot in August we are fully committed to continuing to work in a hybrid way in Professional Services (PS) from September 2022 onwards.
We are holding a series of hybrid working open meetings for PS managers in August and September.
What you need to know
You should continue to report a positive COVID-19 test result – this enables us to monitor infection rates within our University community. While there is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test, it is important for anyone who has COVID symptoms or tests positive to stay at home, avoid contact with other people for at least five full days, following current NHS guidance.
If you need help, please do make use of our support services including resources to support your mental health and information about wellbeing.
For People and OD advice: Contact People-OD.email@example.com or email your People Partner. Managers can also refer to Managers Essentials on StaffNet for information on dealing with day-to-day issues.
For pensions advice or questions: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team: Visit the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pages.
Disability Advisory Support Service (DASS): To find out more visit the DASS pages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pay and expenses
- Is support available to help me pay household expenses while I’m working from home?
- How do I pay for goods or services?
- I am working in a University research facility, can I purchase goods that are essential to this research?
Contracts and recruitment
- Can I still recruit staff?
- I have a fixed-term contract that is coming to an end. What will happen?
- How are probation periods for academic staff affected by the current situation?
- How are probation periods for Professional Services staff affected by the current situation?
- I’m leaving the university, how do I return my laptop or other IT equipment?
- I am leaving the University, what should I do with my staff card?
- Is overseas working allowed?
- Who do I contact for immigration enquiries?
- What about my Right to Work visa?
- Do I need to inform my home insurance provider that I am working from home?
- 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?
- Am I insured by the University if I have an accident whilst working from home?
Sick leave, special leave and annual leave
- What do I do if I have coronavirus symptoms?
- What if I’m ill but it’s not coronavirus?
- Is self-isolation / quarantine counted as paid sick leave or do I have to take unpaid leave?
- My child is presenting with symptoms for COVID-19, or has tested positive for COVID-19 and is required to self-isolate, what support is available?
- What should I do if I’m struggling to balance work with childcare or other responsibilities during this time?
- It has been difficult to conduct teaching and research due to remote working and/or caring responsibilities. Will expectations and requirements related to my workload and research/teaching quality and quantity be adjusted to take account of this?
- Under what circumstances can I request coronavirus special leave?
- I am classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. Can I return to campus?
- Can I carry over annual leave days into next year?
Campus and facilities
For the latest information on staff operations on campus, view our working on campus online hub.
Colleagues may have questions about the COVID-19 vaccination – you can find a wide range of information on the government website: Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Can I take time off work to go to my vaccine appointment?
- What if I experience side effects after my vaccination?
- If I choose not to have the vaccine will I still be expected to return to work on campus?
- I cannot have the vaccine for health reasons - what support is available?
- Can my manager ask me if I’ve had the vaccine or not? Do I have to tell them?
- I’ve been contacted about my vaccine appointment but I’m being asked to pay for it – is that right?
- I’m currently recruiting for a new member of staff - can I ask candidates at interview if they have had the vaccine?
- If I’ve had the vaccine do I still need to get regularly tested for COVID-19 if I’m working on campus?
- Do I need to self-isolate if I’m fully vaccinated and have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID?
- For further information visit the Resources for teaching and learning site and associated FAQs.
Is support available to help me pay household expenses while I’m working from home?
The University has 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.
You can find further FAQs about working from home, including information on how to access IT and other equipment to assist you on StaffNet.
How do I pay for goods or services?
You can find out the latest advice on our Central Procurement Office website.
Can I still recruit staff?
Recruitment activity is progressing as approved by the Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer for Professional Services roles, and Deans for Faculty roles. Roles which are R Funded can be approved for recruitment following their normal Faculty process aligned to funding agreements. Roles which are advertised will progress to the usual selection stages, however interviews and assessments will now take place online or over the telephone. Further guidance on carrying out interviews online can be found in the managers essentials.
I have a fixed-term contract that is coming to an end. What will happen?
PS colleagues on fixed-term contracts will continue to work until the end of their current contract. We expect that most contracts will not be extended beyond this point and the existing process under the Contracts of Employment Policy and Procedure will apply. Where individual consultation is required this will be done virtually. Only in circumstances where a role is considered to be of strategic importance to the University will extensions to fixed-term appointments be approved.
For colleagues working on externally-funded research projects, where a new award requires the appointment of a new PS staff member, recruitment should be aligned with the funder’s position on start and finish dates for recent awards. Where funding is in place for the extension of the fixed-term contract of an existing PS staff member, and the project is (and will continue to be) minimally disrupted by the coronavirus situation, permission will be granted more frequently. Only in very exceptional circumstances will consideration be given to extending contracts for these staff members where full funding is not in place.
How are probation periods for academic staff affected by the current situation?
For more information on probation periods for academic staff, please visit our recent StaffNet article.
How are probation periods for Professional Services staff affected by the current situation?
Probation processes for Professional Services staff are unchanged. Probation should be managed wherever possible in line with existing timetables.
In cases where staff on probation are unable to work on their objectives or undertake effective remote working, then the probation period will be paused until such time as they can resume work on their objectives. Such arrangements should be confirmed in writing by the manager. The remaining probation period will resume as soon as reasonably practicable. In some cases it may be possible to do this whilst working from home is in place, although in others it will not be feasible.
I’m leaving the University, how do I return my laptop or other IT equipment?
If you're leaving the University, then your University computer (whether it be a laptop, desktop or other device) must be returned to IT Services. Computers should never be passed to another colleague for them to use – they must be wiped and reconfigured by IT Services before being issued to someone else. This applies to all University computers regardless of how the purchase was funded.
To submit a request to return IT equipment, login to the IT Support Portal and follow these instructions:
- Click Request Support
- Search for and select Request IT funded/partially funded laptop
- Select Return IT equipment from the drop down menu on the form and follow the instructions.
Alternatively please call the IT Support Centre on 0161 306 5544.
Please note that mobile phones are purchased and owned locally in Directorates, Faculties and Schools and will need to be returned via this route. If you have no alternative you can return the device to IT Services with your IT equipment.
I am leaving the University, what should I do with my staff card?
If you are leaving the University you should either destroy your staff card or post it back to People and OD Operations, 2nd Floor, Simon Building, Brunswick Street, The University of Manchester, M13 9PL.
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.
Who do I contact for immigration enquiries?
The Government has provided guidance for individual circumstances online at Guidance for those affected by changes to UK immigration and borders due to coronavirus. If you need further advice and support, please contact your line manager or your People and OD Partner.
What about my Right to Work visa?
People and Organisational Development Operations will continue to monitor current staff’s Right to Work visas. The Global Mobility Team will manage any Skilled Worker extensions that are required. Visas will also be managed for any new staff starters that have a signed contract or have a confirmed start date.
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.
Sick leave, special leave and annual leave
What do I do if I have coronavirus symptoms?
Whilst there is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test, it is important for anyone who tests positive to stay at home, avoid contact with other people for at least five full days and continue to follow the guidance until they have received two negative test results on consecutive days.
If you test positive for COVID-19 or are required to self-isolate, you must complete our form.
What if I’m ill but it’s not coronavirus?
You should let your line manager know that you are unwell so that they can record your sickness absence in the usual way. You can find more information about taking sickness absence on StaffNet.
Is self-isolation / quarantine counted as paid sick leave or do I have to take unpaid leave?
If you are well and able to work from home, you can do so throughout any self-isolation/quarantine period.
If you cannot work from home and are self-isolating due to symptoms or you are not fully vaccinated and suspect exposure due to a close contact, you should report this to your line manager. You will receive full pay during this absence and it will not be counted for the purpose of any monitoring against trigger points under the Sickness Absence Policy and Procedures. Please note that staff are still required to obtain either a fit note, or an isolation note to cover the duration of their absence after the initial 7 day period of self-certification.
My child is presenting with symptoms for Covid-19, or has tested positive for Covid-19 and is required to self-isolate, what support is available?
If your child has to self-isolate, the University recognises that for some staff this may cause childcare difficulties. There are a number of options available to support staff 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; utilising up to 15 days of coronavirus special leave; taking annual leave, or requesting unpaid parental leave. It is recognised that this is a challenging time for both staff and line managers; understanding and flexibility on both parts is encouraged in finding a solution. More information can be found at:
What should I do if I’m struggling to balance work with childcare or other responsibilities during this time?
We recognise that during this unprecedented time, situations may arise which result in you struggling to work your normal working pattern or commit to a full day of work. This might include childcare or other caring responsibilities.
- A guidance note is available: Guidance for staff with caring responsibilities
If you just need an occasional day of leave to balance your responsibilities or deal with a coronavirus-related emergency, you can request coronavirus special leave – please refer to the question below titled 'Under what circumstances can I request coronavirus special leave'.
If the situation is ongoing, talk to your line manager about what temporary arrangements could be put in place to help you. For example, changing your working hours or days, compressing your hours, reducing your hours or split shifts. See our Flexible Working Policy for further detail.
It has been difficult to conduct teaching and research due to remote working and/or caring responsibilities. Will expectations and requirements related to my workload and research/teaching quality and quantity be adjusted to take account of this?
We appreciate that everyone is doing the best they can in difficult circumstances. If you believe that your ability to meet normal work expectations has been adversely affected due to lockdown and remote working, please discuss this in the first instance with your Head of Department or Division.
Under what circumstances can I request coronavirus special leave?
Coronavirus special leave has been agreed to supplement our current Special Leave policy. This allows staff to apply for up to an additional 15 days of special leave during the calendar year 2022 due to a coronavirus-related emergency, which you can take as full or half days. Circumstances when staff may apply for this additional leave include:
- You and the person/people you share caring responsibilities with both work full-time, and are trying to balance working and caring responsibilities between you
- You are a single parent/guardian/carer and have no other external support
- The person/people you share caring responsibilities with is ill and unable to support with shared care
- A family member you live with is self-isolating and requires additional support
- You need to self-isolate after returning from international travel on University business.
Some staff may have already used all or some of their coronavirus special leave allowance from 2021, so the University is offering another 15 days for 2022 starting from 4 January 2022. It will not be possible to ‘roll over’ any outstanding coronavirus special leave which you did not use in 2021.
Line managers must ensure that they discuss with their People and OD Partner any requests for coronavirus special leave, to ensure a fair and consistent approach is being applied. Taking coronavirus special leave will not affect your ability to apply for other special leave. However please bear in mind that these policies are subject to ongoing review.
I am classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. Can I return to campus?
An approach consistent with government advice has been adopted, which no longer instructs people to work from home. This includes those who had previously been shielding or considered ‘clinically vulnerable’ (CV) or ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (CEV).
To support you in your return you can discuss your individual circumstances with your line manager, who can also use the simple ALAMA ‘covid age’ risk stratification tool as part of a risk-assessed approach. This tool is updated regularly by the Society of Occupational Medicine in line with emerging evidence.
If your 'COVID age’ is calculated to be more than 70 then with your consent your line manager can also refer you to the University’s Occupational Health Service for further support.
Can I carry over annual leave days into next year?
If you have been unable to take all of your annual leave because of circumstances relating to the University’s response to COVID-19, it has been agreed that you can carry over up to 7.5 days (or pro-rata equivalent) of annual leave in the 21/22 annual leave year instead of the usual five days. The 22/23 annual leave year will return to the usual five days (or pro-rata equivalent) of leave carry over. All annual leave carry over is subject to line manager’s discretion.
Colleagues may have questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination – you can find a wide range of information on the government website: Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Can I take time off work to go to my vaccine appointment?
If you choose to have the vaccine you can take paid time off work to attend your appointment where it is not possible to schedule an appointment outside your working hours. If your appointment falls during working hours please let your line manager know in the way you normally would when attending any other medical appointment.
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.
If I choose not to have the vaccine will I still be expected to return to work on campus?
It’s your personal choice as to whether to have the vaccine or not. Whatever you choose, you will be expected to return to work on campus as requested by your line manager according to our Guidance for staff returning to work on campus.
I cannot have the vaccine for health reasons - what support is available?
Occupational Health are keen to support staff returning to campus. We appreciate that there are some circumstances – albeit rare - in which individuals might not be able to have their COVID-19 vaccine e.g. they have a risk of severe allergic reaction due to underlying polyethylene glycol or polysorbate allergy.
To support an inclusive return to campus, clinicians from Occupational Health are happy to provide all staff with the opportunity to discuss any concerns and to go through relevant COVID-19 risk stratification tools with them. Where appropriate, this might also include an actual review of their campus work space to determine if any additional individual risk mitigation actions above the standard COVID security measures (i.e. social distancing, improved ventilation etc) needs to be considered.
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’ve been contacted about my vaccine appointment but I’m being asked to pay for it – is that right?
No. The vaccine is being offered to everyone free of charge. If you receive contact from someone offering the vaccine in return for payment or your bank details it is a scam. You can find out how you can get your vaccine on the government website You will never be asked to prove your identity by sharing copies of personal documents.
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.
If I’ve had the vaccine do I still need to get regularly tested for COVID-19 if I’m working on campus?
Yes, even when you have had your vaccination you can still pass COVID-19 on so it’s important that staff working on campus continue to get regularly tested.
Do I need to self-isolate if I’m fully vaccinated and have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19?
You are advised to consult the latest NHS guidance on what to do.