LUCU Covid Bulletin: Critical Workers and Schooling Guidance
While we will continue to update members on Covid-related matters in our regular newsletter, we will also update you through e-bulletins as new information emerges about how the university is responding to the pandemic.
We are writing in response to members’ 1) requests for clarification about the government’s categorisation of university employees as critical workers and what arrangements this allows them to access for their children’s schooling, 2) to clarify the position for staff with children in nursery/day-care and, 3) to clarify the position for casual staff.
Full Government guidance for critical workers may be found here: Critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The University’s FAQs relevant to critical workers and caring responsibilities may be found here: https://www.lboro.ac.uk/internal/coronavirus/staff/faqs/
UCU Guidance on Critical Care Worker Status in HE is available here for your convenience.
Confirmation of Critical Worker Status
- To request a letter confirming your critical worker status, please ask your line manager to email: iTrentAdmin@lboro.ac.uk.
Primary and Secondary Schoolchildren
- Only one person needs to qualify as a critical worker for children to attend a primary or secondary school. However, depending on capacity, schools have the power to restrict attendance; for example, they might require that both parents be critical workers.
- If you are working remotely and prefer not to send a child to school while government guidance states that only vulnerable pupils and pupils of key workers should attend in person, the university has committed to supporting staff as much as possible to balance home-schooling requirements with workload.
- If you are working remotely and prefer not to send a child to school while government guidance states that only vulnerable pupils and pupils of key workers should attend in person, members can request a period of unpaid leave or that their hours of work are reduced on a temporary basis.
- Members should contact their line manager to discuss how best to manage workload while carrying out home-schooling or to discuss the options of unpaid leave or reduced hours.
- Staff are under no obligation and will not be compelled to take unpaid leave or to reduce their hours of work if they cannot send their children to school, or if they decide they would prefer not to send their children to school, while government guidance remains in place for prioritizing vulnerable pupils/pupils of key workers.
Children in Nursery/Day-Care
Government guidance does not currently apply to children who attend nursery/day-care because such facilities can remain open. However, we can report that management is committed to being as supportive as possible to all staff who have childcare and/or other caring responsibilities and may be experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic. Members may contact their line manager for support. Your personal circumstances will be considered, and an effort made to agree the best way forward to balance work and childcare.
The University has agreed to pay hourly paid workers for agreed and scheduled work that cannot take place due to COVID-19. Therefore, the same arrangements as described above apply also to casual staff with caring responsibilities arising from Covid-19 – but only for work that has been agreed.
If you experience any difficulties in making suitable arrangements with your manager related to home-schooling, childcare and workload, please contact your area Rep or the branch at UCU@lboro.ac.uk. You may find your Rep’s contact details here: Department Reps – Loughborough UCU (lboro.ac.uk). You may also contact your HR Partner for further guidance.