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Staff Advice

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DPER will continually update these FAQs in response to queries received centrally. The most up-to-date version of these FAQs are available here.

Staff members are advised to check the HSE website for up to date information. 

Staff members are reminded of the availability of the Employee Support Service. Access to the free confidential helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1800-201-346. Further details are available here.

If a staff member has any further questions or requires HR support, please contact HRCOVID-19@ul.ie.

If the virus has affected you and the situation has caused anxiety or stress, staff members or members of their family can contact the Employee Support Service. Access to the free confidential helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1800-201-346. Further details are available here.

Usual practice in relation to annual leave over the summer months applies. All staff must have taken 10 days continuous annual leave between the start of the year and the end of August 2020, in line with the email sent from HR Notices on 10th June 2020 by the HR Director. Bearing in mind the extraordinary year we have had and the fact that a lot of people were unable to take holidays during the last few months, we are putting a carryover facility in place this year which will mean that you can carry up to a maximum of 10 days into next year, subject to the written approval of your line manager. Any leave carried over from your 2020 allowance will need to be taken in the first 6 months of next year.

It is appreciated that due to individual circumstances, some staff members may not be in a position to take their annual leave in the manner outlined in the HR notice issued on 10th June 2020. In such exceptional circumstances, you should liaise directly with your line manager who will work with you to balance the department needs and your specific request. It should be noted that, on a once off basis, a maximum of 10 days can be carried over into 2021, subject to the written approval of your line manager. Any leave carried over from your 2020 allowance will need to be taken in the first 6 months of next year.

Circular 2/1976, which covers special leave with pay should only apply in lieu of sick leave for COVID-19 when an employee is advised to self-isolate and is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or had a positive test. Medical or HSE advice should be followed.

The HSE sets out the latest information on COVID 19 here

The application of special leave with pay will apply for the number of days advised by the HSE/doctor. Appropriate medical/HSE confirmation of the need to self-isolate and of the person displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or had a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 will be required.

Please refer to the following link for more detail.

 

The HSE sets out the latest criteria for restricted movements following close contact here 

Special leave with pay does not apply to employees who are required to restrict their movements as a precaution as they are not ill. If remote working in an employee’s current role is not feasible, then the assignment of work may be outside of their usual core duties. Employees must cooperate with all such flexibilities while they are restricting their movements. In all such cases, employees remain available for work whilst at home, where they have been advised to restrict their movements as a precautionary measure.

Any non-COVID-19 illness will be recorded as ordinary certified sick leave and the usual rules governing sick leave will apply (Sick Leave Scheme).

A medical certificate must be sent to the Dean/Head of Department/Manager as soon as practicable.  Line Managers must forward all medical certificates along with a Sick Leave Form to the Human Resources Division at compandbens@ul.ie.  Medical certificates and sick leave forms can be sent via email (with cert attached as a photograph) to the line manager and HR.

On the basis of business needs, department heads and managers should identify the employees whose roles require them to attend the work premises. The University is working to implement measures to ensure the safety of the workplace for all employees, as provided for in the Return to Work Safely Protocol. High risk employees should attend the work premises and, in accordance with HSE advice, employees in the high risk category should take extra care to practice social distancing where possible and wash their hands regularly and properly. Appropriate measures may need to be considered for employees in the high risk category in the work premises where maintaining social distancing is difficult. See more here

Employees who live with very high risk individuals should attend the work premises and should follow the HSE guidelines to protect themselves and to minimise risk of transmission. The implementation of the Return to Work Safely Protocol is intended to minimize the risk of transmission in the workplace. See more here 

In accordance with our COVID-19 Prevention and Control measures, University of Limerick will electronically issue a Pre-Return to Work Form for approved staff to complete at least 3 days in advance of their return to work on campus.  Through this staff members must declare if they believe that they are at high risk/very high risk of COVID-19. Please refer to the HSE website for more information https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/people-at-higher-risk.html.

The University’s Occupational Health service may be consulted for employees in the very high risk category, or to determine if an employees falls into this category. Where possible, employees deemed to be very high risk will be facilitated to work from home. However, if working from home in their current role is not feasible, then they may be assigned work outside their usual core duties/given a new role.

There is no special paid leave available for COVID-19 caring arrangements during this time. If a staff member cannot work outside the home and cannot perform their current role remotely, they are still considered as actively on duty and available to work. If work cannot be assigned remotely, then the staff member can/will be assigned work outside of their usual core duties i.e. potentially a new role. This will be reviewed by management to ensure that employees are placed where they are most needed to deliver critical services.

There will be temporary assignments in the public sector under the principle of One Public Service to deal with this crisis. What this means is that an employee can be assigned work outside their usual core duties/a new role as required by the Public Service should they be unable to carry out their substantive post during this time.

Any employee who wishes to avail of existing leave allowances during this time is entitled to have such requests considered by their employer, as always, including

  • Annual Leave
  • Parental Leave
  • Leave of Absence
  • Force Majeure

The same rules apply to the booking of Annual Leave when working remotely as apply when working on site, see the Annual Leave Procedure for details.

Requests for annual leave shall be submitted by the staff member to their line manager, in order to establish a suitable time, or times, for such annual leave to be taken.

In order to ensure effective planning of leave within a department, there is an expectation that Annual Leave, once approved, will be taken at the agreed time.

There is also a recognition that there may be times, where due to unforeseen circumstances, a request to amend previously approved leave may be made to the line manager. Each case will be reviewed individually by the staff member’s line manager.  The line manager will aim to balance operational requirements with the staff members need to balance family responsibilities and opportunities for rest and relaxation.

In line with the COTEC communication of 27th April 2020, there is now a recruitment freeze in place, all open positions will be reviewed by the recruitment sub committee to decide if a competition will still go ahead.  Externally funded positions, where funding is committed, will be unaffected. This process is expected to remain in place for the immediate future. Further updates will be issued as the situation evolves.

In line with DPER directive, public service employers should not pay a daily allowance to their employees in respect of WFH. It is open to employees to make claims directly from Revenue in respect of actual costs incurred in working from home at the end of the relevant tax year, in accordance with the relevant tax laws. Any claim in this regard is solely a matter for the individual concerned. Further details for individuals on how to claim expenses on tax returns are available on the Revenue.ie webpage.

The Learning Technology Forum website is home to a variety of resources such as recorded webinars, a repository of resources on creating online content, programme/module design, student engagement and more, along with a calendar of CPD events on offer.  

For help and advice on installing remote learning software or accessing IT services remotely, please visit the ITD Helpdesk

Yes, face coverings must be worn in all University buildings, including but not exclusively shared and open plan office spaces, teaching spaces, labs, research areas and corridors. In teaching environments where a 2m distance is maintained, a face shield may be worn, particularly if lecturers have concerns around voice projection or there is a requirment for students to see their face.

If you are in a single occupancy office, you do not have to wear a face covering in your office. A face covering must be worn each time you leave your office and if you receive a visitor to your office. Staff are encouraged to conduct meetings online or via telephone in lieu of face-to-face meetings,