Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

These FAQs are a dynamic library of common questions arising relating to coronavirus and its implications at work.

They have been divided across the following themes:

Top Questions

Will I be asked to work on campus if I was previously shielding/am otherwise vulnerable/live with a vulnerable person?

Colleagues who were previously shielding or were otherwise identified as being in a vulnerable group may naturally have additional concerns. Managers should discuss and explore any concerns and support individuals as required. Colleagues who are required to work on campus should be reassured that protective measures are in place in line with the latest Government advice. University safeguards also mean that our campus is likely to remain a safer environment than many other environments out in wider society.

Work on campus will be backed by risk assessments at unit/area level and the University has developed a generic risk assessment. Further information on risk assessments can be accessed on the Safety and Environmental Protection Service website. An overview of relevant coronavirus information, guidance and support for staff can be found in the Coronavirus Information for Staff pages.

Where appropriate, any work on campus for vulnerable individuals should be planned and managed subject to the use of the relevant risk assessments and the application of appropriate restrictions/risk mitigation and with due consideration to any identified personal preferences.

Managers and staff should consult current Scottish Government guidance for advice on managing the risk to those who are clinically vulnerable. 

What are the rules on wearing face coverings?

It is no longer a requirement to wear face coverings in public places.

Face-coverings are not required on our campuses. However, we do encourage colleagues and students to wear face-coverings in indoor communal areas during times when they are particularly busy. This may include lecture change-over times or in café and hospitality settings during peak times.

We would also ask everyone to be sensitive to the needs of others who prefer to continue wearing face-coverings. We continue to support the distance aware scheme; lanyards are available from the University Library, and supplies will also be made available to colleagues and students at Garscube from the Gatehouse and Dumfries via the School Office.

What has been done about ventilation on campus?

Estates have worked with colleagues across the organisation to better understand ventilation in our buildings and put in place measures to improve it where necessary. 

This work has involved an audit of our campus and facilities, with over 12,000 spaces assessed for ventilation.Further information on the specific details of ventilation assessment are available in the Ventilation FAQs. 

I am interested in changing my working arrangements on my return to campus, what can I do?

Exact arrangements will be managed at a local level and will remain subject to any future changes in Government advice.

It has been established through the pandemic that many colleagues are keen to retain many of the positive aspects of the new ways of working and that, whilst not suitable for all, a larger degree of ‘hybrid working’ will feature in our working lives going forward. Colleagues who wish to explore any new working arrangements should explore this with their line manager in the first instance to explore potential options and how these may fit with the wider team. Colleagues may also wish to look at the University’s Hybrid Working Portal to understand the range of informal or formal options available to them.

My childcare/care arrangements have been disrupted due to the pandemic. What support is available to me?

The University recognises the extra burden being placed on colleagues who are affected by pandemic related impacts on childcare/care arrangements. Colleagues should be reassured that the University will be as flexible as possible in accommodating childcare/caring responsibilities and colleagues should hold conversations with their line manager in the first instance to discuss any support required. 

Approaches such as flexible hours, alternative start/finish times and following an output-based approach may be helpful at this time. Colleagues may wish to refer to the University’s Flexible Working Policy whilst the Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependants and/or Support for Carers policies may also be applicable. 

Line managers may also seek support from their local HR Team for cases where alternatives are not available. 

 

Where can I access wellbeing support?

This is a challenging and uncertain period of time and it is understood that colleagues access support in different ways.

Informal support may be sought amongst colleagues or through approaching an appropriate line manager. Additionally, support for mental health and wellbeing is available free of charge and on a confidential basis to all members of staff; please make use of these resources if your wellbeing is affected or if you simply need someone to talk to. Further information is available within our Health and Wellbeing Hub.

Returning to Campus

Will I be asked to work on campus if I was previously shielding/am otherwise vulnerable/live with a vulnerable person?

Colleagues who were previously shielding or were otherwise identified as being in a vulnerable group may naturally have additional concerns. Managers should discuss and explore any concerns and support individuals as required. Colleagues who are required to work on campus should be reassured that protective measures are in place in line with the latest Government advice. University safeguards also mean that our campus is likely to remain a safer environment than many other environments out in wider society.

Work on campus will be backed by risk assessments at unit/area level and the University has developed a generic risk assessment. Further information on risk assessments can be accessed on the Safety and Environmental Protection Service website. An overview of relevant coronavirus information, guidance and support for staff can be found in the Coronavirus Information for Staff pages.

Where appropriate, any work on campus for vulnerable individuals should be planned and managed subject to the use of the relevant risk assessments and the application of appropriate restrictions/risk mitigation and with due consideration to any identified personal preferences.

Managers and staff should consult current Scottish Government guidance for advice on managing the risk to those who are clinically vulnerable. 

I am worried about travelling into campus/being on campus, what should I do?

Exact work requirements will be managed at a local level and will remain subject to any future changes in Government advice. An overview of relevant coronavirus information, guidance and support for staff can be found in the Coronavirus Information for Staff. It is recognised that this is a challenging and uncertain period of time and it is understood that colleagues access support in different ways. 

As part of any conversation relating to working on campus, colleagues should speak with their line manager in the first instance to share any concerns and to discuss any potential support that may be put in place. For some with concerns around their commute, points to consider may include flexibility around working hours/times if this aids consideration of travel options.

Additionally, support for mental health and wellbeing is available free of charge and on a confidential basis to all members of staff; please make use of these resources if your wellbeing is affected or if you simply need someone to talk to. Further information is available on our Health & Wellbeing webpages.  

PAM Assist is an external and independent service that offers support at any time of day, including personal counselling, by phone, face-to-face, email or video. 

We also provide access for UofG staff to Togetherall, which offers peer-to-peer mental health support and there is a team of trained Mental Health First Aiders who are contactable via the Health & Wellbeing support pages

Further information relating to the return to work can be found in the Coronavirus Information for Staff pages.

I am interested in changing my working arrangements on my return to campus, what can I do?

Exact arrangements will be managed at a local level and will remain subject to any future changes in Government advice.

It has been established through the pandemic that many colleagues are keen to retain many of the positive aspects of the new ways of working and that, whilst not suitable for all, a larger degree of ‘hybrid working’ will feature in our working lives going forward. Colleagues who wish to explore any new working arrangements should explore this with their line manager in the first instance to explore potential options and how these may fit with the wider team. Colleagues may also wish to look at the University’s Flexible Working Policy to understand the range of informal or formal options available to them.

What safety precautions are being put in place in my office/place of work/around campus?

A range of modifications and adjustments have been made around Campus to manage the risks identified by the risk assessment process.

Ventilation systems are one of the key areas of focus to minimise the risk of transmission and colleagues can be reassured that over 11,500 workspaces have been assessed to ensure ventilation is adequate in line with Government guidance with only a very small percentage of spaces requiring additional intervention to ensure ventilation is adequate.

Additionally, each School/Research Institute/Service oversees the best approach to ensuring safety in their local area.

Local COVID-19 risk assessments are used to identify any specific risks of a unit’s work to ensure that control measures are in place to protect people against harm, so far as is reasonably practicable.

The risk assessments can be accessed on the Safety and Environmental Protection Service website. An overview of relevant coronavirus information, guidance and support for staff can be found in the Coronavirus Information for Staff pages.  

 

Where can I see risk assessments carried out for my place of work?

Local risk assessments will be carried out where appropriate across the University and local management teams should be able to advise accordingly.

Risk assessments can be accessed on the SEPs website. Further information relating to any return to work can be found in the Coronavirus Information for Staff webpage.

If this does not answer your question, or you need further guidance or support, please contact the UofG HR Helpdesk.

What has been done about ventilation on campus?

Estates have worked with colleagues across the organisation to better understand ventilation in our buildings and put in place measures to improve it where necessary. 

This work has involved an audit of our campus and facilities, with over 12,000 spaces assessed for ventilation.Further information on the specific details of ventilation assessment are available in the  FAQs. 

My childcare/care arrangements have been disrupted due to the pandemic, what support is available to me?

The University recognises the extra burden being placed on colleagues who are affected by pandemic related impacts on childcare/caring responsibilities. Colleagues should be reassured that the University will be as flexible as possible in accommodating childcare/caring responsiblities and colleagues should hold conversations with their line manager in the first instance to discuss any support required. 

Approaches such as flexible hours, alternative start/finish times etc may be helpful. Colleagues may wish to refer to the University’s Flexible Working Policy whilst the Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependants and/or Support for Carers policies may also be applicable. 

Line managers may also seek support from their local HR Team for cases where alternatives are not available. 

Is the University insisting staff/students receive a coronavirus vaccine?

Whilst the University encourages all members of its community to receive the vaccine/booster if they are able to do so, no individual should be compelled to do so under any circumstances.

Can I ask others if they have been vaccinated?

Whilst vaccination status may arise or be shared through dialogue relating to the return to campus (or as part of risk assessment based conversations), managers (or any other colleague) cannot compel others to share their vaccination status. Furthermore, it is recognised that members of our community are at different stages of comfort with being on campus and with this in mind colleagues should be sensitive to the impacts of openly sharing their vaccination status (particularly if they have chosen not to receive a vaccine).

Remote/Hybrid Working

Where can I get support related to remote working?

The Glasgow Anywhere pages contain a range of support, guidance and tools to support remote or hybrid working.

Colleagues may also wish to look at the University’s Hybrid Working Portal to understand the range of support available to them.

How do I carry out a DSE assessment in a hybrid world?

DSE training and assessment is done via an online system that allows individuals with a GUID to undertake training in computer workstation set up and use, and on completion of the training to carry out a personal workstation assessment. This is done on a self-assessment basis but can be done in consultation with a manager. The system is accessed via the My Glasgow Staff Portal and is listed within the Services tile (where CoreHR, Parking Permit portal etc also appear.) It is the final item in that tile titled “Workstation Training and Assessment”. There is also guidance on how to access the system within SEPS webpages on computer use

Health, Safety & Wellbeing regard this as part of the mandatory training for new employees and also recommend regular refresher training be undertaken. The workstation assessment can be repeated at any time for work or home work environments.

A “Homeworking Essentials” training package was introduced in January 2021. This provides more general advice on the home work environment, but also includes information on DSE workstation set up. 

 

 

Can I claim an allowance for increased costs relating to working from home?

The University does not pay homeworking allowances which would normally be applicable where the home/remote working arrangement is contractual. Individuals may however wish to claim tax relief for periods they have worked from home (subject to eligibility rules) in the normal way via the Gov.uk portal. You cannot claim tax relief if you choose to work from home.

Wellbeing

Where can I access wellbeing support?

This is a challenging and uncertain period of time and it is understood that colleagues access support in different ways. 

Informal support may be sought amongst colleagues or through approaching an appropriate line manager. Additionally, support for mental health and wellbeing is available free of charge and on a confidential basis to all members of staff; please make use of these resources if your wellbeing is affected or if you simply need someone to talk to. Further information is available on our Health & Wellbeing webpages.  

PAM Assist is an external and independent service that offers support at any time of day, including personal counselling, by phone, face-to-face, email or video. 

We also provide access for UofG staff to Togetherall, which offers peer-to-peer mental health support and there is a team of trained Mental Health First Aiders who are contactable via the Health & Wellbeing support pages

Annual Leave / Holidays / Time Off

I am travelling overseas, what are the implications for work?

When considering travel overseas, colleagues should consider any travel restrictions they may face on their journey, including the need to take coronavirus tests or to quarantine. The latest Scottish Government travel and quarantine advice can be found on the Governments international travel and quarantine website. In the case of staff travelling on essential University business, the University will cover the costs of testing alongside all other reasonable expenses. The University will however not normally cover the costs of testing or quarantine hotels for staff who are returning or relocating to the UK, except in cases of financial hardship.

For any cases of personal travel, consideration should be given in particular to how these restrictions might impact upon ability/availability to work and to the fact that the position may change at short notice (i.e. potentially close to the departure date or even whilst overseas). In some roles working from home during quarantine may be possible however where this is not an option then the requirement to take extended time off (to account for quarantine requirements) should be discussed with the relevant line manager to consider any potential operational implications.

As normal, any leave plans should be discussed with line managers as part of the booking process allowing for the various circumstances to be considered.

If this does not answer your question, or you need further guidance or support, please contact the UofG HR Helpdesk.

Sick Pay

What is the position on sick pay for staff who are absent as a result of contracting COVID-19?

Where individuals are absent from work due to sickness as a result of Coronavirus (or suspected Coronavirus) then normal absence reporting and sick pay rules will apply. Flexibility will likely be required around medical certification as it may not be practical or possible for those with suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 to obtain medical certification from their GP in the normal way. Contact should be maintained between line managers and their staff in the normal way throughout any period of absence. 

From 1 May 2022 sickness absence should be reported in the normal way and recorded using the most applicable absence reason to describe symptoms. From this point, only confirmed cases of coronavirus should be recorded as ‘COVID-19’. In line with the ending of the requirement to test from 1 May, we will end the requirement to report confirmed cases of COVID-19, although we will continue to liaise with Public Health Scotland to monitor transmission rates in the community.

If this does not answer your question, or you need further guidance or support, please contact the UofG HR Helpdesk.