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No less favourable treatment for staff (Covid-19)

This no less favourable treatment principle is aimed at ensuring no member of staff is penalised for the effect Covid-19 has had on their performance or attendance due to the pandemic.

UCL has adopted a no less favourable treatment principle for staff, which recognises employee’s performance (academic and otherwise) and attendance may have been affected by circumstances out of their control, during the period of Covid-19 pandemic and its’ ensuing restrictions, and commits to ensuring they won’t be negatively impacted by them.

We know that for many of our people, especially those with childcare and other caring responsibilities, or those with unsuitable home working environments, the difficulties involved in balancing work lives and home lives over the past few months may have been substantial and may have had a significant impact on their ability to perform at work.

The “no less favourable treatment due to Covid-19” principle for staff, has been proposed in order to reassure staff that expectations around this period will be adjusted to account for any difficult circumstances you may have had to deal with, and to set out some of the ways we will do this. 

How we’re making adjustments for staff who have experienced unexpected challenges due to Covid-19

Absences due to coronavirus

We understand that staff may be absent due to infection with covid-19; self-isolation due to track and trace; or because of caring responsibilities and staff will not be penalised for these absences.  Please see our information and FAQs on the Coronavirus Leave and Absences page

Promotions

We are acutely aware, that for many members of our academic, research and teaching staff, the effects of the outbreak will have had a significant impact on the number and level of academic contributions they will have been able to make. We also anticipate that particular groups of staff may have been disproportionately affected by the challenges the pandemic has caused. In order to help us take this into account when assessing applications for the next round of promotions, we have provided a dedicated space for staff to outline the effect Covid-19 has had on their work. For example, this may include any impact caused by caring responsibilities, periods of illness, or unsuitable working environments etc. Applicants will be asked to complete this section as honestly and fully as possibly – quantifying any specific, planned work that has been affected. This will be used by those involved in decision making, to ensure they make equitable choices based on all the relevant facts.

We will also be adding a section to the application form for staff to highlight areas of collegiality, where they have stepped in to support others during the crisis. This will help identify important contributions that have been made against institutional citizenship in the academic careers framework.

Appraisals

The coronavirus outbreak has dramatically shifted priorities, as everyone has pulled together to adapt to lockdown restrictions, further remote working and online teaching. This, combined with additional personal challenges, means that we understand that objectives set in last year’s appraisals may not have been met. 

Appraisal meetings should continue as far as possible as they are a vital opportunity for managers and their staff to connect in a meaningful way, share reflections and appreciation, and discuss concerns in difficult times. They are also an opportunity for you to explicitly state how the Covid-19 crisis has impacted you, so that objectives and performance review can be adjusted with that context in mind.

There are some circumstances where it won’t be helpful to have an appraisal right now, including:  

  1. Where workload or caring responsibilities, of either the manager, or the person they are managing, make it impractical to arrange;

  2. Where someone has been furloughed and therefore is not able to work; 

  3. Where future objectives are unclear due to the current context (although a conversation around a review of the previous year should still be useful). 

Where this is the case, managers should postpone your appraisal until it’s realistically possible to reschedule them.