HR COVID-19 Updates

HR Updates regarding COVID-19

The university is re-opening the DCU campuses to students on Monday September 28th, 2020 involving a hybrid model of delivery for the moment (part in person on campus with some online activities) and using the campus as much as we can to give students the best possible university experience in these challenging times.

From Monday 21st September, all categories of Staff will be returning to campus in every area. The delivery of services will also follow a hybrid model with staff attending campus each week and working from home on alternative days in some instances.

The university is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all staff and students by adhering to government guidelines when addressing our return to campus. With robust risk assessments and safety measures in place at all times, we are working hard to keep you safe. Staff will receive information regarding the specifics of their return to campus from their relevant line Manager/Unit Head. In addition, please note the following:

  • Staff approved by their line Manager/Unit Head to return to work on campus will receive a COVID-19 Declaration to complete and return at least 3 days before returning to campus. 
  • On-line Covid 19 Induction Training needs to be completed by staff in advance of their return to campus
  • Staff returning to campus must dowload the DCU Safe Zone App onto their mobile phone or use the desktop version of SafeZone. 
  • As we look after each other during these times, Face coverings will be required in all public spaces in University buildings from Monday September 21st onwards. Please also aim to maintain a social distance of at least 2 metres where possible.
  • Don’t forget that the Employee Assistance Programme is available for all staff and has a wide range of services to help support you as you return to work on campus

In relation to the operation of the return to work policy, managers with queries can contact Gareth Yore (gareth.yore@dcu.ie) or Norma Wilkinson (norma.wilkinson@dcu.ie).

Please find below quick links to important information for the preparation of returning to work.

HR Services

From Monday 21st September, the HR service will be fully operational following a hybrid model of working. All queries should be directed as normal to the relevant HR contact. If you are unsure who to contact please refer to the following HR contact details or email askhr@dcu.ie

Should you wish to meet on campus with a member of the HR Team, this can be pre-arranged by appointment and the meeting will take place in an appropriate well ventilated room that accommodates the required social distance.

 

HR Supports

The following outlines particular arrangements that have been introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Important support information and links to other useful resources are available here.

Special Leave with pay for COVID19 absences

DCU Staff

Illness related to the Coronavirus will be recorded as special leave and will not affect your sick leave entitlement, subject to appropriate confirmation. DCU staff who have been asked to self-isolate or to self-quarantine in line with medical or HSE advice should contact Susan Healy in HR on (01) 700 8398 or via email to susan.healy@dcu.ie at their earliest convenience.

This will enable us to put the appropriate arrangements in place to ensure they can avail of the special leave with pay arrangement and that your sick leave benefits and entitlements are unaffected.

Further Information:

Remote Working / Working from Home

Remote Working 

The DCU Remote Working Policy replaces the remote working protocol and provides information regarding the arrangements and supports available for all staff working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions regarding any aspect of the policy please contact your HR Business Partner.

Staff working from home on a full or part-time basis could qualify for tax relief .  Find out more about e-Worker Tax Relief.

Return to Work on Campus

The DCU Return to Working On Campus Policy outlines the actions required in order to return to work on campus safely and to work safely in the campus environment.  If you have any questions regarding any aspect of the policy please contact your HR Business Partner.

 

Health and Safety

During this period of COVID-19, the DCU Health & Safety Office has put together some Health and Safety Tips for working from home.   Staff are also reminded and encouraged to consult local departmental Safety Statements.

 

Tips and advice for staying well while working remotely

Please see below some tips and resources which may support you adjusting to working from home.

Linkedin Courses:
Working Remotely Coach Mike Gutman reveals how you can create a productive work environment at home or around town by structuring your day correctly and avoiding distractions. He also explains how to build rapport with remote colleagues so you feel like you're part of the team and succeed in your remote career. Access Course.
The chapter, Successful Remote Meetings, provides tips on how to make the most out of online meetings.

Leading from a Distance  For managers and leaders making the jump from in-person to virtual leadership can be challenging. In this course, instructor Kevin Eikenberry lays out how to lead effectively from a distance.Access Course.

 

Zoom Video Conferencing
Zoom provides a remote conferencing service that combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration.
The Teaching Enhancement Unit is providing a wide range of supports to staff in the use of Zoom. Find out how to set up a Zoom account and meeting functionality. A full range of supports are available on the Loop Staff Support page.

Additional resources
For those new to remote working, this article shares some tips on how we make it remote working work!
23 Essential Tips for Remote Working.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

EAP

Don’t forget that the Employee Assistance Programme is available for all staff. It is a confidential service which is designed to support employees and their immediate family members (18+) to resolve personal or work related concerns.

You can contact the EAP through the 24/7 freephone number 1800 814 243 or by text, or WhatsApp, by sending "Hi" to 087 369 0010

You can also access their  Wellbeing Portal which provides instant access to a range of online information, supports and intervention tools.

Further information on how to access the Wellbeing Portal and other supports available can be found on the EAP Webpage

COVID19 - High Risk and Very High Risk Staff

Return to Campus and COVID-19
High Risk Categories of Staff

Over the coming weeks and months, staff will gradually be returning to work on campus in line with the advice and guidelines issued through the COO. The University has extensive plans in place that range from enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols, provision of PPE for staff (face coverings, alcohol hand gel stations, face visors if required etc), the training of over 200 COVID-19 co-ordinators and modifications to building ventilation systems to ensure no recirculating air is used in any University facility to ensure that campuses will be safe environments for staff and students and will be following the latest Government / National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) advice at all times.

It is widely recognised that certain people are at higher risk to COVID-19 than others. The HSE has classified higher risk into two categories, full details of which can be viewed at High Risk and Very High Risk Categories

Very High Risk – in line with HSE advice this category of employees should cocoon. This category of employee is extremely vulnerable and as a result should be facilitated in working from home

An employee must self-declare to their Manager and HR if they fall into the very high risk (extremely vulnerable) category. Medical verification may be required from the employee’s Treating Consultant, GP or the HSE. The University may also require that the employee attend Medmark, the University Occupational Health (OH) Advisors for a consultation (which involves completion of a COVID-19 Risk Assessment questionnaire and follow up consultation with an OH Doctor either in person or via telephone consultation).

Where an individual employee is deemed Very High Risk and must work from home but their existing role in the University is not suited for this, the University reserves the right, in consultation with the employee and their Line Manager to adjust their role and responsibilities to facilitate them working from home.

 

High Risk – in line with HSE advice, this category of employees should take extra care in protecting themselves from COVID-19. High Risk employees do not need to self-isolate, but need to take extra care by social distancing, washing hands regularly and wearing masks in link with HSE Guidelines, Protect Yourself from Corona Virus.

Employees in this category who are not ill, should attend the workplace, unless advised otherwise by the University's Occupational Health Advisors. 

Concerns raised regarding employees in the High Risk group, particularly those whose role requires close contact with students and others for a prolonged period of time, should be discussed between the employee and their Line Manager / HR.  In such instances, the University may require the employee to attend Medmark, the University Occupational Health Advisors for a consultation (which involves completion of a COVID-19 Risk Assessment questionnaire and follow up consultation with an OH Doctor either i person or via telephone consultation.

In the event, the University OH Advisors recommend that an employee should work from home, but their existing role in the University is not suited for this, the University reserves the right, in consultation with the employee and their Line Manager to adjust their role and responsibilities to facilitate them working from home.

In Advance of Returning to Campus

If there is any query as to whether an employee who is returning to campus falls into either the High Risk or Very High category, advice will be sought from the University Medical Advisors, Medmark to ensure the appropriate steps are taken in the interest of the health, safety and wellbeing of the employee.

In addition, if any COVID-19 related concerns or issues are raised at any stage by an employee or their Line Manager, occupational advice may be sought as appropriate from Medmark.

Finally, anyone who confirms on the Return to Work Form that they have been advised by the GP to cocoon, they will not be permitted to return to campus. They will need to provide the appropriate certification from their GP and may also be referred to the University Medical Advisors.

Further information about COVID-19 and occupational health is available on the website of the COO.

(Updated August 2020)

Other Useful Websites / Resources

 

HR Updates

The following outlines updates or changes to HR related processes or procedures during the period of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Leave Arrangements

Parental Leave

Cancellation of an existing Parental Leave / Reduced Hours /Job-sharing arrangement is not feasible at this time. Staff availing of such arrangements shall continue to work the agreed reduced hours until the expiration of the current arrangement.

Future applications for a Parental Leave / Reduced Hours /Job-sharing arrangement should be discussed with the Head of School/Unit in the first instance.

The Parental Leave Policy and associated application form can be found here.

Annual Leave

Annual Leave arrangements will be updated on an ongoing basis as the COVID-19 situation evolves. Please keep an eye on this website for these updates.

International Travel
For staff who may have intentions to travel to non-green listed countries - it is important to note that upon visiting a non-green listed country - you cannot return to work on campus for 14 days following your return. In such instances staff will be required to either take annual or unpaid leave for the 14 day duration. If you intend to travel to a non-green listed country please discuss your intentions in advance with your Line Manager to seek approval of your leave arrangement.

 

General Principle
As the University continues to operate using remote working the same principles of annual leave as outlined in the DCU Annual leave policy will at present continue to apply.

Best Practice
We would encourage staff to continue to take time off using annual leave. In line with normal best practice we would recommend that staff take two weeks leave during the summer period and possibly another week elsewhere in the year (usually Easter or Autumn). During this crisis period it is important now more than ever to balance home, work and family demands and annual leave is a useful tool in achieving this. Line Managers are conscious of these demands and will where possible continue to facilitate annual leave requests subject to business needs.

Cancellation of Leave Requests
The University acknowledges that the current COVID-19 crisis may affect many staff members' immediate annual leave plans. If a staff member wishes to cancel an annual leave request already approved by their Line Manager, they will need to submit a request in writing to their Line Manager, copying their HR Business Partner and the Core Time team at coretime@dcu.ie. Such a request will then be reviewed and approved by the Line Manager. Please note that if the request is for a one or two week period and was originally intended as a holiday (e.g. Summer break) where possible a staff member should outline when they plan to take an alternative one or two week break to ensure business continuity.

Future Leave Requests
Despite this period of uncertainty staff members should aim to use their annual leave entitlement as normal within this annual leave year and, if possible, not have a build up of leave towards the end of the year. This is because the University could face a scenario of a large number of staff trying to take leave at the same time and if this were to happen, it is unlikely that all leave requests could be facilitated.

Line Managers will consider requests based on a number of factors including: current University business needs; academic calendar; team resources, sick leave and other leave requests. To avoid the potential loss of annual leave during this annual leave year staff are strongly advised to plan their annual leave and consult with their Line Manager as early as possible.

Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment and Selection

Due to the current campus closure, HR staff are working remotely and are endeavouring to maintain support in the area of recruitment and selection as close to normal levels as possible.

The advertising of both internal and external roles will continue as normal. The applications for such roles will be processed and assessed as normal. Applicants should continue to apply for roles in line with the advertised closing date and time.

Where appropriate, interviews will be conducted remotely on the basis of a preliminary or final assessment. To ensure our process is planned, organised and conducted in a way that supports an objective and transparent assessment of every candidate which results in the selection of the best candidate based on their merits and abilities, please follow the Recruitment and Selection During COVID-19 Guidelines.

For all recruitment and selection queries, please contact your HR Business Partner.

Staff Request Application 

The Staff Request Application (SRA) remains operational and should be used for all staff requests for fixed term contracts. If you require a new user to be set up or if you require any changes to approvers in your area please contact Joe Maxwell or Yvonne Kennedy.

Core HR

Core Portal

Core Portal is available as normal to staff. The following can be accessed or submitted using CorePortal

  • Payslips
  • Annual Leave Requests
  • Training & Learning Course Requests.

Flexi-time

The accrual of Flexi leave is suspended during the COVID-19 emergency.

Flexitime balances will be restored to the values as at 16th March when the normal working arrangements resume (please note - missed clockings between 11- 13th March may be requested through Coreportal and they will be approved in the usual manner by the line manager.

Staff working from home are expected to carry out their duties as agreed with their line managers. Staff members who are without childcare arrangements may need to adjust their normal working hours and work outside of core hours. In such cases, the staff member should liaise directly with their respective line manager.

Learning and Development

HR, Learning & Development are maintaining a regular schedule of courses which are being delivered online (via Zoom) in group or one-to-one format. For full details please see the Learning & Development Schedule. Upcoming courses will also be communicated to all staff by email.

Don't forget the wealth of courses also available to all staff via LinkedIn Learning. If you need help accessing the platform or need a reminder of your activation code please contact us on learning.development@dcu.ie

Garda Vetting

The University Garda Vetting Policy together with its associated processes and procedures will operate as normal during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic with the exception of the Identity Check Verification Process.

In light of the current situation, we will accept a verified electronic version of the Vetting Invitation Form and the Identity Check Verification Form along with verified electronic versions of the identification documents (ie. Headed bill, drivers licence). Please note that you may be required to attend in person at a later date, in line with the normal University policy requirements.

If you have any queries regarding Garda Vetting or the updated verification process please contact paula.hennessy@dcu.ie in the first instance.

Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) Card Holders

For our non-EU colleagues who are currently in possession of a GNIB Card (Stamps 1 - 4) please note that due to the current COVID-19 crisis the Minister for Justice has announced that if your Irish Residence Permit is due to expire between the dates of 20/03/2020 to 20/05/2020 it will be extended by a further two months. Full details of this announcement can be found on the Department of Justice and Equality website and detailed FAQ's can also be found here.

Additional Supports
While HR is not normally directly involved with immigration and/or visa queries/issues we will as much as possible try and assist staff with any issues they might have in relation to this matter during this period of crisis. For further support please contact our colleagues Anne Hennessy (anne.hennessy@dcu.ie 01-7005934) or Gemma Boyne (gemma.boyne@dcu.ie 01-7005277) who will try and assist with you with your particular query.