As we have entered a third national lockdown, we are aware that a number of you are still being asked to work on campus, even though you were not asked to do so during the first lockdown.  A number of you have been in contact with us over the last couple of days and have been rightly anxious about the situation.  
 
We met with the University today to discuss this new lockdown and what it means for staff, especially those who are currently expected to work on campus.  The University are currently awaiting further government guidance, but we do know that University staff are now being classed as ‘critical’ and so the University is able to allow staff to continue working on campus until they have this further guidance.
 
All three campus trade unions have been clear about our stance: only those staff who are essential to the running of the campus and those who are escaping domestic abuse or for mental health reasons would prefer to work on campus, should be allowed to work on campus.  The University have stated that they are currently looking at all areas of the University to see if work can be moved off campus and risk assessments will be revisited where necessary.  We are also waiting for any information relating to moving some staff back onto furlough if this is necessary.  If you have caring responsibilities, please contact your manager to discuss prioritising your workload: the guidance from last year has not changed in that if you have caring responsibilities you can use the 10 days of carer’s leave where necessary and you can change your workload to ensure you are not overloaded.
 
You are entitled to request furlough if you are struggling with your caring responsibilities, although please note that it is at the employer’s discretion and there is no guarantee that this will be granted; for more details see: https://workingfamilies.org.uk/articles/coronavirus-furlough/
 
The University has also agreed that there will be no car parking charges for permits taken from bank accounts in January, and they are currently reviewing the process for February. 
 
We know this is a very worrying and anxious time, especially with the new variant of Covid circulating.  If you are working on campus and you believe that your role could be done at home, please speak to your manager urgently about this and copy in your local rep or unison@leeds.ac.uk.  
 
We will, of course, keep you posted with any updates we receive, but if you want to talk to us about your situation, please get in touch with us at unison@leeds.ac.uk.