Pay and working arrangements

Updated 13 April 2021

Working from home

For this next phase, 1 September until further notice, our general principle is that all staff will continue to work from home, from the UK. Colleagues who are needed on campus for student facing or research activity are required to organise their activity to spend as little time as possible on campus and to work from home when not engaged in activity that can only be delivered on campus.

Whilst social distancing requirements remain in place to support our ongoing focus on the health, safety and wellbeing of our community, we need to manage the volume of people on campus.

Staff working arrangements will fall broadly into one of three categories:

  1. Staff who will be based on campus for the vast majority of their working time;
  2. Staff who will be on campus for defined activities or periods of time, but will continue to work remotely outside these periods / activities;
  3. Staff who will work remotely for the vast majority of their working time (with only exceptional access to campus).

We will continue to keep the situation under review in line with government and relevant health body advice

Annual leave

It is important to take a break from work activity, particularly with the additional pressures caused by these unprecedented times. Our normal annual leave policy applies and leave should be booked in the normal way.

The University closure dates also still apply, so we also strongly encourage you to take a break from your work activity on these dates.

An early decision has been made to repeat last year’s arrangement during Christmas and the New Year. The University will be closed to normal business from 21 December 2021 to 3 January 2022 inclusive.

As was the case last Christmas, there will be campus and professional services colleagues who will work at times during the Christmas period to keep our campus safe and secure and to support those students who remain. They, like all colleagues, need and deserve regular breaks and we will make sure that those who do need to work during the Christmas break ultimately get the same leave entitlement as everyone else.

We recognise that normal holiday arrangements continue to be disrupted. However, it is still important to take a break from work and so we encourage you to take leave from work.

Sickness absence

Our usual staff sickness absence policies, including notification, and pay entitlements continue to apply.

All sickness absence relating to coronavirus/COVID-19 should continue to be reported via your line manager, who will liaise with your Sickness Administrator on your behalf, or online through the HR Self Service system (ESS). This will allow us to provide appropriate support and advice for your wellbeing. Absence not related to COVID-19 should continue to be reported in the normal way. View guidance for line managers and staff

The HR Self Service System (ESS) can be accessed through the Virtual Windows Desktop. If you are unable to access HR Self Service for any reason please email, copying your manager, with details of the systems issue and your absence.

If you have been ill due to coronavirus/COVID-19, before resuming work following a period of absence, you will be required to complete a return to work form confirming that you have complied with the Public Health England and NHS guidelines and are fit and well to return.

If you are absent due to illness and have a period of annual leave booked, providing you have followed the required notification process, the period of illness will be recorded as sickness absence rather than annual leave. You must then notify your manager of your return to work and complete the return to work form in the usual way. If your period of sick leave ends before the last day of your holiday, your absence will move onto annual leave for the remaining period.

If you become sick during a period of annual leave you need follow the sickness absence notification process above. The period during which you are ill will then be treated as sickness absence and you will be entitled to claim back your annual leave for those days. At the end of your illness, please notify your manager and complete the return to work form. If your period of sick leave ends before the date that your holiday was due to end, you will move onto annual leave for the remaining period.

Pay arrangements

The Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

To support employers to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.  The Scheme enables employers to reclaim the cost of employing staff who are unable to work at home as a result of the outbreak. Under the scheme, an employer can place staff on temporary “Furlough Leave” for at least three weeks if, for example, they are not required to work, or are unable to work for reasons relating to the impact of the pandemic.

We have carefully considered the Job Retention Scheme and have taken the decision that it does apply to some roles within the University.  The decision to furlough roles is not in any way related to the value that the University places on the role. It is determined by whether the role can be undertaken from home or not, and the source of funding, in accordance with the eligibility for the Government scheme.

Line Managers, supported by the HR team will be contacting individuals who have been on furlough leave in due course to discuss the arrangements for it being ended.

Staff paid hourly

If you have core hours to work each week but your pay varies according to the number of additional hours that you work, where home working is not possible you will receive pay which will be calculated using the average number of hours you worked in the previous 13-week period. For anyone who has not worked for 13 weeks in total, this reference period will be adjusted accordingly.

Staff with a Worker Agreement (sometimes referred to as an SS4 Agreement)

If you can undertake this work from home then you should do so. If formally scheduled and agreed work is cancelled, or you cannot undertake the work from home, as these are exceptional circumstances, payment will be made. The payment will be based on the hours that you were formally scheduled to work.

If you become ill with coronavirus symptoms you should follow the Government advice and the normal university process for reporting sickness absence.  Providing you have complied with the reporting requirements you will be paid during your absence. If you do not have regular hours, the payment will be based on the hours that you were formally scheduled to work.  Alternatively, if you work a regular number of hours each week, pay will be calculated using the average number of hours you worked in the previous 13-week period. For anyone who has not worked for 13 weeks in total, this reference period will be adjusted accordingly.

Temporary agency

Anyone who becomes ill with coronavirus symptoms should follow the Government advice and stay at home. You must follow the normal process for reporting sickness absence. Providing you have complied with the reporting requirements, in these exceptional circumstances, normal sick pay arrangements will apply (these should be clear in the contract you have with your agency).

Postgraduate researcher teaching assistants and demonstrators

PGR Teaching Assistants/Demonstrators who were formally scheduled to deliver classes that have been cancelled will receive pay as if those classes took place.

If you have been asked to deliver scheduled classes online you will be paid for this work.  Payment will not be linked to, or dependent on, the level of student engagement.

It is expected that Module Leaders and members of academic staff will prepare the majority of online resources. In exceptional circumstances, the Head of School may agree that you can undertake some of this work from home.  Where that is the case, you will be paid at the usual hourly preparation rate for this type of teaching.

If home working has been agreed but you become ill with coronavirus symptoms, you should report absences to the relevant Module Leader, or via any local procedure that has been put in place.  In these exceptional circumstances, you will receive normal payment for any activity that has been formally agreed by the Head of School.

2020-21 pay round (updated 19 August 2020)

The negotiating round on pay for 2020-21 was postponed in March by agreement of all negotiating parties due to the coronavirus pandemic. Following the wide-ranging challenges and uncertainty now facing the higher education sector no uplift is being offered to basic pay on the salary scale for 2020-21. The exception being that, where required, the lower band will be increased in accordance with the National Living Wage levels.

However, here at Leeds our local reward processes will continue, including annual increments, promotions and other contribution-related pay increases (discretionary/additional increments), which are subject to separate processes local to the University. As a result, many colleagues across our University will still see an increase to their pay during this academic year. Read our latest update on the pay round on For Staff, including local discussions on wider aspects of pay and employment terms.