Advice for staff
I had booked leave on 10 July. What will happen to this now that the University has awarded me an additional concessionary day?
Colleagues in HR will arrange for the time you had booked off to be re-credited to your leave balance so you will not lose out on this time. You then simply take the day off as a concessionary day, as you would with any other concessionary day normally planned in the University’s calendar.
I have agreed that I need to work on 10 July with my line manager because of duties / meetings that cannot be rescheduled. What happens to my ability to have the same time off at a later date?
Custom and practice in the University allows those who cannot take the time off on these days to have the time to take at a later date; this needs to be as soon as is feasibly possible and should be agreed with your line manager. If you are a part-time member of staff, please see below regarding the amount of hours you can take off work.
I work part-time. Will the pro-rated amount of time for this concessionary day be credited to my Agresso leave balance?
Unfortunately since it is so close to the end of the leave year, this will not be possible.
As such, we have provided a helpful breakdown of the proportionate entitlement for part-time staff (please note different calculations apply for those on APT&C and academic terms and conditions) and you will need to agree with your line manager when you can take these additional hours as time off. There will be no time limit placed on you to use this leave, other than ensuring you have done so within the 19/20 or 20/21 annual leave year, but as soon as is feasibly possible.
I work on a Friday and am part time. What do I do?
You will need to identify the amount of proportionate annual leave entitlement you are due as per the Excel document and make up the difference from your existing leave entitlement. If you do not have sufficient hours available in your remaining leave entitlement, you should discuss this with your line manager; you may have the ability to use hours accrued (if you work flexi-time) or make up hours at a later date.
Part time leave allowance for concerssionay and bank holiday days is taken as the number of hours worked in a week averaged across 5 days eg. 22.2 /5 =4.44 hours
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Part time leave
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To cover business critical activities, and as a last resort, you can ask staff to cancel annual leave, but bear in mind that people who have booked and paid for a holiday may not be compensated by their insurance.
In order to cancel leave, you must give as many days’ notice as the length of the leave (e.g. 2 weeks’ notice to cancel a 2 week holiday).
Where staff are exceptionally required to cancel annual leave, they should not be left out of pocket as a result.
The temporary Leave Policy and Procedure has been designed to support staff during the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring that they have sufficient rest breaks.
When you ring in to report your self-isolation to your manager, you should discuss with them your ability to work from home and agree how this will be managed, including contact arrangements. The University encourages managers to be flexible in their consideration for home working in this situation. If home working is agreed, the line manager should record this in Agresso.
Where home working is not feasible, the University will allow special paid leave for seven days of any absence for self-isolation reasons (if you live alone) which should be recorded as such in Agresso. If you are in a family or shared living situation and need to self-isolate, special paid leave will be for fourteen days, as per the Government’s recommendations on isolation for those living with others.
Should you begin to feel unwell and exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, you should follow the government’s advice and alert your manager to the change in your health, in line with the sickness reporting procedures.
It is recognised that many colleagues will need to work flexibly around family commitments at this difficult time in order to ensure that their family members who are self-isolating for a prolonged period have the support they need to remain safe and well in their homes. If staff are working from home then managers are encouraged to discuss and agree plans for flexibility to assist with any issues of this kind. If staff are working on University premises (whether they are continuing with their normal roles or have been assigned to duties to support other teams) then the same applies. This may include but is not limited to:
- Flexibility on start/finish times
- Flexibility on timing of lunch breaks
Staff should observe the guidance from Public Health England on how best to carry out any tasks such as providing assistance with shopping, fetching medication etc for people in self-isolation.
If you are working from home then you should be in regular contact with your manager who should be able to assess your performance on this basis. As such any probationary processes should be observed as they normally would be if you were in the office. If you are not able to work because your role is not feasible for home working or you are not at work for a prolonged period due to other circumstances, then the probationary period will need to be extended for an appropriate period of time to ensure that the correct period of assessment can be applied. If managers need further advice on this please contact HR.
The College of Learning and Teaching has updated the staff Help and Guidance Page in Canvas. This enhanced advice for staff preparing for the potential impact of Covid-19 gives advice on using Canvas, Panopto and Big Blue Button.
The advice is available here: https://canvas.wlv.ac.uk/courses/10325/pages/preparations-for-covid-19.
The Business Continuity Planning process identifies which ‘activity’ is business critical, and without which the university would be unable to function. Out of this planning activity a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is developed for each faculty or service.
This BCP is based on the level of exposure to business disruption likely to be caused by COVID-19, and is likely to vary across the institution. This is likely to be a dynamic plan and is likely to change in line with advice received by the university.
The BCP identifies the basic infrastructure needed to be able to deliver services, and this will include details of the roles that will be critical (and therefore need to covered), and will also illustrate the minimum cover required to deliver this critical activity.
For as long as any government measures requiring those arriving in, or returning to, the UK to self-isolate at home for 14 days are in place, staff who travel overseas on leave and who will have a quarantine period on their return will need to either:
- work from home if this is possible; if they have returned to on-site working they should seek approval in advance to return to homeworking for the quarantine period
- book additional days holiday to cover the quarantine period
- take unpaid leave for the quarantine period.
In some cases where there are not enough employees available to undertake the critical activity, the University will need to look at whether staff from other areas and roles, who are not holding such critical roles to be deployed into these roles.
This does not de-value the work that staff are undertaking, but does allow some flexibility to ensure the critical business continues.
When looking at deploying staff elsewhere, a number of factors will be looked at such as;
- Skills, knowledge, experience
- Current grade/salary and status
- IT accessibility
Regular meetings will be held to assess possible redeployment, and advice taken from Human Resources colleagues will be taken where necessary.
You should adhere to the advice given by HM Government and remain at home. If you are well and able to work from home, this should continue for the period of self-isolation / social distancing. Should you be unable to work from home because this is not feasible for your role, you will be considered to be on special paid leave for the period. If at any point you become ill during this period, you should report in sick as per the usual reporting procedures and your manager will record the absence accordingly in Agresso. If you remain ill up to the last four weeks before your expected week of childbirth, your maternity leave would start at that point.
Anyone undertaking tasks on University premises will be supported to do so with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) if the tasks require it, for example, cleaning tasks. Risk assessments, where appropriate, will also be carried out by line managers in conjunction with colleagues.
If anyone has concerns about undertaking any tasks of this nature they should speak with their immediate line manager for further advice and guidance.
Lone working guidance is available from the Health and Safety intranet site - https://www.wlv.ac.uk/staff/media/departments/health-and-safety/documents/GN-Managing_Personal_Safety_Risks_at_Work-Updated_Feb-2019.pdf
Managers should ensure their staff who are lone working are aware of this and they themselves should be appraised of the contents, ensuring that they have applied the principles therein to anyone who is now in a lone working situation.
All staff and managers are again reminded to follow the NHS guidance on staying safe during this time; particularly in terms of hand hygiene.
Estates and Facilities have been planning for such eventualities as deep cleans etc and will be providing their cleaning teams with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which will include face masks, disposable gloves and disposable aprons to ensure the cleaners are kept safe and provide specialist equipment appropriate to deal with COVID-19.
Senior Managers in E&F will assess the priority services that must continue and ensure that staffing resources are appropriately allocated. Both the service need and individual staff circumstances will be taken into consideration. For example, if a member of staff has an underlying health condition then risk assessments will be carried out to ensure they are deployed accordingly.
Ensuring that essential services are fully staffed may mean that staff from other areas (with less critical service issues) may be asked to support throughout the department. Any deployment of this nature will be commensurate with the individuals skill set, experience and grade.
In these exceptional circumstances staff may carry over a maximum of 10 days leave into the leave year commencing 1 August, 2020. However, staff must ensure that they have taken 20 days (including bank holidays but not including concessionary days) in the current leave year. This is pro rata for part time/fractional staff.
Advice for staff (continued)
Assessment impacted by COVID-19: Staff FAQs
Do I need to do anything with assessment that is already set-up on Canvas?
Assessment that was already set-up to be submitted online through Canvas (this accounts for the overwhelming majority) should be unaffected with no further action required. However, if you are yet to add an assessment brief to the automatically created portals in Canvas then you should do so as soon as possible.
For those assessments which were set to be submitted online, but for which the brief is no longer appropriate in the context of online teaching, then an alternative brief should be established where possible.
Remember that the portals are automatically created and published.
What do I need to do with offline assessment?
Where possible, all offline assessment will be converted to online assessment. That is to say Registry will create a portal in Canvas for offline assessment to be submitted into. Once created, module leaders will need to establish an alternative assessment brief that is compatible with online teaching and submission.
It is important to note, that the existing offline assessment type e.g. EXAM, PRACTICAL etc. will be used in the title of the portals created in Canvas. There is no easy way of changing this. Simply add the changed assessment brief into the portal and we will let students know that they should read the brief and not the portal title to gain an understanding of the type of assessment.
What if the offline assessment has to be delivered offline?
There will be some assessment components (often due to PSRB restrictions) that are required to be delivered offline e.g. an exam that has to take place or a piece of practical. Registry are working with your faculty staff to identify these assessments. Where identified, Canvas portals will not be created for these components, instead students will be given an opportunity to sit the assessment in either July 2020 or September 2020. In some exceptional cases we may be able to pass students on modules based on work to date where no reasonable alternative exists.
Where PSRB requirements remain in place that prevent alternative assessment or progression rules being applied, then these will take precedent, and further information will be provided in due course.
Do I need to get approval for changing assessment briefs?
We are managing approval of these temporary changes through Dean’s Advisory Guidance (DAG). Such changes will not be taken forward into future academic years. However, registry and your faculty staff will keep a record of the temporary changes through the template that has recently be shared.
What do I do about setting the deadline dates for these assessments?
Registry are working with faculty staff to update blank deadline dates for what were formerly offline assessments, and these will be used for the online Canvas portals. For assessment that was previously an exam (and therefore didn’t have a deadline date) that you have now converted to an alternative form of assessment, this will be defaulted to 19 May 2020 at 14.00. An e:vision helpdesk call should be submitted where the default deadline needs to be changed.
How does the university-wide two week extension work?
The University have agreed that all assessment components (including dissertations) are to be given a two week extension. This extension will be applied centrally by Registry, and therefore the deadline students see in their Canvas assessment portal includes the 2 weeks. The extension will be applied to both first attempt and resit dates from March 2020 until the start of the next academic year.
Are there other extensions available to students?
Yes, students who have the automatic one week extension, owing to Student Support and Wellbeing reasons, will still get this. The deadline they can see in the Canvas portal will therefore reflect the additional two weeks plus their automatic 1 week extension.
Students (regardless of whether they have a SSW extension) can also request an exceptional additional week long extension. They do this through e:Vision and it will be approved by faculty staff in communication with yourself. This additional week extension request will be processed on a trust basis as opposed to an evidence base therefore it is not expected that evidence is attached to the request.
When can I start marking the work and do I have to turn it around within 20 days?
You can begin marking as soon as you receive the work – student shave been instructed that they can only submit once and thereafter cannot make changes to their work. The mark turnaround would be counted from the deadline (which includes the automatic 2 week extension) therefore the additional 2 weeks would not eat into the marking window. However, nevertheless, the university have communicated to students just that we will endeavour to provide timely marks and feedback where possible.
What if I have students without online access?
As a university we are trying to identify students who do not have online access and/or appropriate IT equipment. In doing so, we may need to work with you on each individual case in order to establish how we manage and support assessment for such students. In such scenarios you should refer to the ‘Guidance to staff on IT queries from students’ document.
Are students still able to choose to submit late and receive a deduction to their mark?
No they are not. The university has taken the decision to postpone implementing the extension policy (whereby students could choose to submit up to a week late with penalty) to the 2020/21 academic year.
The University Insurers cover computer equipment owned by the University and temporarily removed from the University premises i.e. in staff members homes and would not expect staff to have to insure the items on their own property insurance as this would be covered on our policy bar the policy excess.