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Coronavirus - Staff FAQs

General information


I am concerned about coming in to work due to coronavirus. What should I do?

 As a large organisation, we have a few roles that provide essential services to support students, and keep our campus safe and in some key areas, operate a skeleton service. These roles require staff to be on campus. We will take all the steps we can to protect the health and safety of staff in these essential roles, where working from home is not possible.


If you work in an essential service and have concerns for your health due to a pre-existing health condition, or may be more vulnerable to infection for other reasons, you should discuss this with your manager.



Can I still access the campuses?

We are committed to keeping our buildings open for essential access, whilst ensuring we are acting responsibly and safely. All campuses are now closed to students and the public. This includes access to the library and other facilities. Colleagues must also remain at home unless attendance has been deemed essential by your line manager.

Any colleague who has a critical need to attend campus should 
contact Andy McGoff, Director of Finance and Operations, who will authorise access as appropriate, taking into account health and safety requirements. Please try and give reasonable notice to allow our Security team to make appropriate arrangements and bear in mind facilities such as lifts will not be operational. Anyone on campus should continue to follow NHS and government guidance – for example, washing hands regularly and staying two metres away from any colleague. Finally, remember to bring your ID card and sign in where requested to guarantee access. ​


What is the University’s position with annual leave this year?

We expect employees to continue to take annual leave in the normal way during the coronavirus outbreak and ask that staff book in their remaining annual leave from now until the end of August. If many people accrue lots of leave, we could end up with a large number of colleagues all trying to take leave at a similar time – and operationally, it may not be possible to accommodate all these requests which may cause some staff disappointment and a risk of ‘burn out’ because they have not had a break and a chance to recharge their batteries.  It is very important to take regular breaks, especially as many of us are now working from home so work never feels too far away.


Will I be able to carry unused annual leave over to 2020/21?

It has been decided not to allow carry-over of annual leave into next year, for this year only.  It is very important to take regular breaks from work and we are keen to minimise the carry over cost that must be reported in our accounts at year end.  If there is a very good reason why someone cannot use their leave, then the normal five day carry over can be agreed with their Dean’s or Director’s approval. It is anticipated that this will only be in exceptional circumstances.


What about the Government announcement that all employees are entitled to carry over unused holiday for the next two years?

This measure is aimed at supporting key industries such as healthcare and food distribution. The purpose of amending the Working Time Regulations is to ensure that key workers, such as NHS staff who are prevented from taking holiday during this period, do not lose out on the annual leave that they are entitled to as a result of their efforts to help the country deal with the pandemic. 



What about my holiday plans?

We would strongly advise you to keep up to date with the latest FCO travel advice and follow that advice whilst this outbreak is ongoing. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced travel insurance guidance​ following the outbreak.



Will parking permit deductions stop?

If you have a parking permit, the deductions will still be collected. We use the parking fee to pay a contractor to manage the car park and this will need to continue being paid during the current situation. Our staff are still receiving their full pay and have not suffered any detriment so they should not be any worse off.


If you wold like to cancel your parking permit then you can do so by emailing car.parking@napier.ac.uk and notifying them of your request to cancel. If you cancel your permit and would like one in the future, please understand that you would be processed as a new request so will be added to the waiting list. It may be some time before a space becomes available. As the staff are extremely busy right now dealing with the current situation, it may take time to reply and process any cancellation. 



I am concerned about the impact on my visa, what should I do?

​Guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for people affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus is available here.



I am a qualified nurse - can I help support the NHS?

We understand that we may have staff whose skill sets may be called upon and many are already doing so in their own time. It is important that we liaise with the NHS to ensure a co-ordinated University response to this and that things such as appropriate insurance and health & Safety measures are put in place. At present the NHS have not formally requested support from the University. Once we receive formal notification, we will discuss the options with the Dean of School who will then contact staff to discuss opportunities. If you are contacted directly by the NHS, then please get in touch with the Dean of School or your line manager as soon as possible.



Can I volunteer to support the community?

At this stage we ask that you volunteer in your own time if you do not have a skill set that is being called upon.  We have set up an Edinburgh Napier Volunteering Scheme so that staff can help staff members, their families and students which can be accessed here.


Non-salaried staff – now the campuses are closed, will I get paid for hours that I was due to work?

You will receive payment for any hours that you were scheduled to work, subject to confirmation by your manager and Dean of School. If appropriate, you may be asked to work from home or undertake alternative duties during this period.

Can I take the new emergency volunteering leave to volunteer in health and social care?

Employees have a legal right to take unpaid emergency volunteering leave to support the NHS volunteer programme. Staff have to give 3 working days’ notice and provide their NHS certificate of volunteering. The leave would be for a period of 2, 3 or 4 weeks as indicated on the certificate, and employees are entitled to return to their existing role after the volunteering ends. Non-pay benefits (such as accrual of annual leave) would continue during the period of volunteering. 

What is the University doing to help students who may be concerned about how the current situation affects their finances?

We understand that, due to current situation, many students will be unable to earn enough to meet essential living costs. The University have made funds available to help meet these costs:

  • Students who receive a student loan from SAAS or Student Finance England, Northern Ireland or Wales you should make an application for help from the Discretionary Fund
  • Nursing and Midwifery students who receive fund from SAAS or Student Finance England, Northern Ireland and Wales should make an application for help from the Nursing and Midwifery Discretionary Fund
  • Students from overseas should apply for help from the International & EU Crisis Fund


All other funds are closed and students should apply to whichever fund mentioned above which suits their circumstances. For further details contact studentfunding@napier.ac.uk.​



What needs to be recorded on HR Connect during this period?

Managers are required to record all absence due to sickness and homeworking working arrangements during the coronavirus outbreak on HR Connect for your team members on the same day they notify you of their absence or a change to their status.


Note: all coronavirus related absences and homeworking arrangements should be recorded in HR Connect under Other Absence using the reasons in the table below.


Absence Options for Coronavirus Recording


Absence Reason

When to use



Working from Home

Staff showing no symptoms and transitioned to home working.

You should keep this arrangement under review and when this arrangement ends, you should update the employee’s HR Connect record.



Self-Isolation - unable to work

Staff showing symptoms, and need to self-isolate for 7 or 14 days

Use this reason if an employee informs you that they are showing symptoms and need to self-isolate and unable to work. 

Once the employee recovers, enter the end date of the self-isolation period and update the absence reason back to homeworking or other appropriate reason.


Vulnerable Group – unable to work

Staff identified as Vulnerable as per Government guidance - unable to carry out duties via homeworking

Use where staff have identified themselves in this government category and appropriately reflects their current working arrangement.



Vulnerable Group –  working from home

Staff identified as Vulnerable as per Government guidance – carrying out duties via homeworking

Use where staff have identified themselves in this government category and appropriately reflects their current working arrangement.



Essential Worker

Staff who have been assessed & designated by a senior manager as an essential worker, who may need to carry out duties on University premises,

Only assigned to a small number of specific roles and authorised by ULT via Andy McGoff, Director of Finance and Operations


At Home – unable to work

Staff at home but unable to carry out duties via homeworking