Latest Coronavirus news, Friday 3rd April

It’s starting to feel more like the “new normal” now, as we hit the end of the first fortnight of working from home (WFH), working on a very quiet university site or at home with little or no work to do, depending on your circumstances.

Coronavirus germs

It’s still a very odd situation and obviously a very tragic one for those with loved ones who may be ill or who may have lost their lives. We all have people about which we are very concerned, with often little we can do to make things any easier.

We’ve been talking to the University about the obvious health and safety implications of this new situation for all of us. We can’t stress enough that if you have any concerns then please make sure you raise them, either with UNISON or your manager. The University has a duty of care to make sure you are safe and well. This does not go away with the current crisis. It’s actually more important now than ever.

It seems likely that a small group of university employees with be furloughed, that is, told that there’s no requirement to work for a period of time. If this happens, all those affected will be paid in full.

Some stories are circulating about universities laying off their staff. This is not happening at Brighton and clearly we’d be the first to object if that did happen. The crisis does not allow the University to ignore your employment rights.

Also, you may be aware of a relaxation of annual leave carry-forward for workers affected by the situation. Our interpretation of this is that you would only have a legal right to carry-forward more than the University standard of five days if there were to be a situation where it is “not reasonably practicable” to take the leave this year as a result of the crisis. We think in the vast majority of cases, this is unlikely, but feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Your UNISON branch is still doing what we do, and we’re still meeting, albeit on-line. Our April newsletter features you know what, and not much else, and you can find it in the usual place in the Newsletter section of the blog. Please have a look at it and let us know if you have any questions.

Please stay safe and well.

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