Skip to main content

Staff Advice

Home | Faq | Staff Advice

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 and the UL alerts page 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.

The University is supportive of staff who wish to volunteer outside of working hours to help out in the Covid-19 crisis.  If you want to volunteer, you can register with your local Volunteer Centre or sign up online at www.i-vol.ie. The network of Volunteer Centres across Ireland are expecting many COVID-19 related roles to be listed on the www.i-vol.ie database in the coming days and some roles will be directly related to COVID 19 support. Other roles for volunteers may be related to helping community organisations to keep normal services running. You can also contact your local Volunteer Centre directly to speak to someone about what is needed most in your own area – you can find their information 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.

The Minister for Education and Skills has put in place special provisions around payment during COVID-19 for staff employed in approved posts funded by monies provided by the Oireachtas.

An approved employer may grant special leave with pay to an employee only when an employee is advised to self-isolate and is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or had a positive test. Medical or HSE advise should be followed. Special leave with pay for COVID-19 is being used in place of sick pay.

Please refer to the following link for more detail.

 

While all employees are currently working remotely, employees are reminded that the University of Limerick Sick Leave Scheme remains in operation during this period, and as such, employees who are ill should contact their manager on the first day of Sick Leave.  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.  For the duration of the closure, medical certificates and sick leave forms can be sent via email (with cert attached as a photograph) to the line manager and HR. 

In cases of COVID-19, line managers must inform HR on the same day they are made aware by the employee.

In cases of COVID-19, a staff member must send in appropriate HSE or Medical confirmation of COVID-19 diagnosis or recommendation to self-isolate or to restrict his/her movements in accordance with HSE Guidelines to their manager and Human Resources Division at compandbens@ul.ie. This should be sent in by the staff member as soon as they are diagnosed.

In the event that written HSE or medical confirmation to self-isolate is unavailable, an employee must complete the Self-Declaration Form at Appendix 1 to record the HSE or medical advice received and this should be sent to their manager and compandbens@ul.ie (Self-Declaration Form can be found at appendix 1 of this link)

Any special leave with pay granted for the purpose of diagnosis of COVID-19, self-isolation or restricted movements will not be counted as part of the employee’s Sick Leave record. The special leave with pay entitlement will apply for the number of days advised by the HSE/doctor.

Managers need to establish specifically:

  • Whether the staff member has consulted a doctor or the HSE (if not, the staff member should be advised to phone their Doctor immediately)
  • If a staff member provides appropriate HSE/ Medical confirmation/Self-Declaration Form confirming COVID-19 diagnosis or recommendation to self-isolate or to restrict his/her movements in accordance with HSE Guidelines, special leave with pay may be granted. Read lates DES circular here.
  • Establish if the staff member has called the designated phone numbers as per HSE Guidelines to report diagnosis. If they have not reported the diagnosis then the manger should advise them to do so
  • Ensure the staff member submits the appropriate medical confirmation retrospectively
  • Record the absence as CV19 special leave with pay on the staff members attendance records and return to HR – Compensation & Benefits
  • It is the advisable that all managers familiarise themselves with the DPER circular here.

If medically diagnosed, please inform your Line Manager as soon as possible.

Seek the appropriate medical confirmation and ensure you provide it to your line manager.

Provide appropriate HSE/ Medical confirmation/Self-Declaration Form of COVID-19 diagnosis or recommendation to self-isolate or to restrict your movements in accordance with HSE Guidelines, special leave with pay may be granted. Read latest DES circular here.

If a staff member is in contact with a confirmed/diagnosed case of COVID -19, they should contact their doctor or the HSE and follow the medical advice provided. 

Staff members should inform their Line Manager as to the advice given by their doctor / HSE

Read here for more information and the latest DES circular here.

The HSE sets out the criteria for self-isolation at: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html.

  • An employee cannot voluntarily choose to self-isolate.
  •  Where HSE or medical advice is that the employee must self-isolate then special leave with pay may be granted by the employer.
  • In the event that written HSE or medical confirmation to self-isolate is unavailable, an employee must complete the Self-Declaration Form at Appendix 1 to record the HSE or medical advice received.

The completed Form should be forwarded by the employee to the employer as soon as possible. (Self-Declaration Form can be found at appendix 1 of this link)

  •  Where the employee is already on special leave with pay due to self-isolation and subsequently contracts COVID-19, then the special leave with pay may continue for the duration of the illness, subject to medical certification being provided to the employer. 
  •  Similar to the general principles applying to the management of Sick Leave, the employee must contact the employer where any of the above circumstances apply. Where circumstances or diagnosis changes, the employee should inform the employer as soon as possible.  
  •  There should be appropriate contact between the employer and the employee during the period of special leave with pay.   
  • When the recommended period of self-isolation has passed, medical advice and HSE Guidelines should be followed regarding return to work. 
  •  An employee on special leave with pay is not permitted to claim the DEASP COVID-19 Illness Benefit payment.

Where medical advise is that the employee, who is not ill, should self-isolate then they should continue to work remotely where possible. Where working remotely is not feasible, then special leave with pay may be granted. Read the circular 0026/2020 here and more from DPER here

The staff member must inform their manager as soon as possible if they have been medically advised to self-isolate. Appropriate medical confirmation of the need to self-isolate will be required, however in the event that written HSE or medical confirmation to self-isolate is unavailable, an employee   must complete the Self-Declaration Form at Appendix 1 to record the HSE or medical advice receive.  (Self-Declaration Form can be found at appendix 1 of this link)

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

Where the employee is already on special leave with pay due to self-isolation and subsequently contracts COVID-19, then the special leave with pay may continue for the duration of the illness, subject to medical certification being provided to the employer. 

  • Similar to the general principles applying to the management of Sick Leave, the employee must contact the employer where any of the above circumstances apply. Where circumstances or diagnosis changes, the employee should inform the employer as soon as possible.  
  •  There should be appropriate contact between the employer and the employee during the period of special leave with pay.   
  • When the recommended period of self-isolation has passed, medical advice and HSE Guidelines should be followed regarding return to work. Read more here.

When the recommended period of self-isolation is passed, please follow medical advice and/or HSE guidelines on return to work.

Viral type respiratory illnesses should be recorded as ordinary certified sick leave and the usual rules governing sick leave will apply in line with the University’s sick leave scheme. If the staff member is subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19, the special leave with pay can be retrospectively applied in lieu of the sick leave.  

  • The HSE advice on at risk groups is at: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/at-risk-groups.html
  • There are 2 levels of higher risk groups and the HSE provides different advice to protect people in each group
  • An employee must self-declare to their manager if they fall into the very high risk (extremely vulnerable) category. Medical verification from your GP or the HSE may be required.
  • Where the employee is not ill, the employer should prioritise alternative working arrangements e.g. where possible, remote working.
  • Where remote working arrangements in the employee’s current role is not feasible, then he/she may be temporarily assigned to work within the wider Public Service.

Further details are available at paragraph 12 of this circular

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.

Yes. The following letter and FAQs on Temporary Assignment Arrangements for Certain Staff should be read in conjunction with DES Circular 0026/2020 regarding working arrangements and leave associated with COVID-19.

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.

Yes. It is a matter for each organisation’s senior leadership team to determine which services are currently essential to critical business continuity in the context of its organisational Business Continuity Plan, and to identify employees (including contingency for COVID-19 illness/back up) required to manage the delivery of these services. For more information on temporary assignment follow this link (insert link to new FAQs) 

Employees will receive a notification from their Local HR which will include a link to an online questionnaire. 

Employees will be required to complete the questionnaire for automatic upload to the Public Appointments Service (PAS). This questionnaire can also be completed on mobile phone, tablet or laptop for ease of use. Read more here.