Staff travel advice

Updated 15 January 2021

Due to the rapidly evolving situation regarding coronavirus-affected countries, the University as a general rule is not permitting any travel, international or domestic, for staff or students on University business.

If you feel you have exceptional and business-critical reasons for travelling, you must contact the Executive Dean of your faculty directly who will consider your circumstances and escalate accordingly.

University travel restrictions

The University is reviewing its travel restrictions on a monthly basis and working with Key Travel to cancel upcoming travel bookings and progress refund requests.

Currently any travel bookings made before 1st July that are scheduled to take place before the end of February 2021 will be cancelled.

If your travel booking was made after July 2020 this is assumed to have gone through Executive Dean approval and will remain in place. If you need to amend or cancel a travel booking made after this date please contact Key Travel directly by phone 0161 819 8911 or email leeds@keytravel.com

Information for staff on managing study abroad and work placements

Travel permissions are subject to change in line with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice.  

International travel to countries the FCDO has identified as exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ travel is permitted.  

The University does not recommend travel to destinations where the FCDO advises against ‘all but essential’ travel for work or study placements. Applications for exceptional permission will be considered for some destinations in this category.

This list of countries will be reviewed on 1 February 2021. The following destinations are open for applications: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

For more information on what this means for study placements, please visit the Study Abroad Minerva organisation. For work placements, contact your Faculty Employability Team in the first instance. 

For placements in countries where the FCDO has identified as exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ travel is permitted and planning to support taught students to take part in UK and overseas work placements as well as study abroad, can proceed as follows:

  • The full risk management process, (including covid-19 risk assurance) for study abroad and work placements must be completed (and in the case of placements, the Tripartite Agreement too) before travel.
  • Risk Awareness Forms for Study Abroad and Risk Management Action Plans for Work Placements for all international travel must be reviewed by the Study Abroad Office and shared with the Study Abroad Coordinator, or Employability Manager respectively.
  • Travel also depends on the destination’s local rules and regulations and, due to the fast-changing global situation, may still be prevented at the last minute.
  • Travel plans (e.g. a flight) which don’t involve travel from the UK to an overseas location, will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on country-specific travel advice.
  • Where any study abroad or work placement activity is currently taking place the risk management awareness forms or actions plans must be reviewed to ensure they include covid-19 precautions.

Questions about insurance should be addressed to insurance@leeds.ac.uk.

Managing fieldwork

Fieldwork for research in the UK

Fieldwork activities for research (staff and PGRs) in England and mainland UK have now restarted. Planning for future fieldwork – both for research and teaching – can go ahead. A full fieldwork risk assessment (including covid-19 mitigation measures) will need to be approved before fieldwork in the UK can begin. More information is available on the wellbeing, safety and health website 

International fieldwork (research and teaching)

Planning for international fieldwork (both for research and for teaching) can now begin, although with so many unknowns, we recommend that wherever possible you plan for UK-based fieldwork instead. If international fieldwork is considered essential, please be aware that you must have followed the stringent approval processes – including both the fieldwork risk assessment process and the Travel against FCO advice procedure. Of course, international travel may be prevented at the last minute, due to fast-changing government (and local) rules specific to each country.

Travelling overseas for personal/recreational reasons

The Government’s travel advice, updated on 5 January 2021, explains that under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you cannot travel overseas or within the UK unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. 

Self-isolating when you arrive in the UK 

If you are currently overseas and are required to follow the Governmental requirements and self-isolate on return or while you are there, even if self-isolation rules were not in place at the time of your outbound journey: 

  • The University expects your contractual obligations relating to work to be met; 
  • If it was anticipated that you would be working from home for the whole of the relevant self-isolation period, then that will be supported; 
  • If you were expected to be working on campus for all or part of the relevant self-isolation period, we may be able to allocate work to you that can be delivered from home and we expect you to be flexible in your approach to work.  If remote working cannot be arranged, you will be required to take annual leave (from either the current or next year’s entitlement) or unpaid leave (but only if your current year leave entitlement is exhausted); 
  •  If you become ill during the self-isolation period, you will be eligible for sick pay according to normal rules; 
  • You are advised to discuss your circumstances with your local HR Manager who will provide advice and, where circumstances are exceptional, will provide support. 

Reimbursement of travel costs

In light of the University’s decision to withdraw from all work related travel, it is inevitable that all costs may not be recoverable. Assuming the travel and activity was authorised and booked in line with University policy, directly related expenses will be reimbursed.

In some circumstances it may be possible to recover other costs through the University’s Travel Insurance. Any questions about insurance should be addressed to insurance@leeds.ac.uk

Non-recoverable costs will be absorbed by the University and any personal expenditure should be claimed through Employee Self Service in the usual way.

For any travel cancelled on the Universities behalf by Key Travel, they are now reporting to the University monthly where refund processes have concluded, successfully or unsuccessfully. Current reporting does not confirm vouchers that have been agreed or accepted in place of a refund and Key Travel are developing new reporting to assist the University in managing these. If you have any questions about your booking, please contact travel@leeds.ac.uk.

Contacts

Key Travel are continuing to receive an unusually large number of travel queries and also operating with a limited team, this is likely to have some impact on waiting and response times and your patience is appreciated. You contact Key Travel directly by phone 0161 819 8911 or email leeds@keytravel.com

If you have any questions about cancellations of your booking you can contact the University Procurement team by emailing travel@leeds.ac.uk

Questions about insurance should be addressed to insurance@leeds.ac.uk