UCL Human Resources


Pay and benefits

Sickness absence due to Coronavirus

Please be assured that sickness absence because of having the Coronavirus will not result in a reduction in your pay or any formal sanction.

All staff directly employed by UCL, as well as staff employed by UCL’s suppliers Axis, Sodexo and Aramark will be able to access sick pay from the first day of an absence.

Please see the leave and absence FAQs for full details on how to report your sickness absence to ensure full pay. 

Staff unable to work in their present role

Special leave will be arranged for people who cannot work from home and this will not be deducted from sick pay balances nor count toward triggers in absence policies. Please speak to your line manager if this applies to you. You can find more information in the leave and absence FAQs

It is intended that those staff who are unable to work in their present role and who are unable to undertake alternate duties, who have working hours scheduled, should receive payment equivalent to the hours they would normally have worked.


Find answers to frequently asked questions around pay and benefits during the coronavirus outbreak.


I am enrolled on the childcare voucher scheme, can I reduce my payment during the period the nursery/school is closed?

Yes you can reduce your payment. No change to the usual process is needed. You can manage your childcare voucher order via your personal online KiddiVouchers account or by contacting KiddiVouchers directly on 0800 612 9015. You will need to make the change by the 8th of the month to see the salary sacrifice change in your next pay.

Contracts and assignments 

I’m a PGTA -what happens to my paid work if my classes no longer run?

Our starting point is that we wish to honour arrangements already in place for paid work. Should it not be possible for work to be carried out in the normal way your course leader will discuss the options for you. It is likely, in fact, that the amount of work available for PGTAs may increase as we move to contingency arrangements as a consequence of Covid-19 containment activity. For example PGTAs will likely be required for supporting remote assessment and online teaching. That said if you believe that you have been financially disadvantaged compared to what you were expecting, please do raise this. Our intent is that no one will be worse off from the cancellation of pre-existing commitments as a consequence of our mitigation activities.

I am a Unitemps worker and my assignment has been affected by coronavirus. What happens to my assignment during the current lockdown period?

Any assignments scheduled over the period 23 March to 30 June which have been affected due to the current lockdown, will be honoured. To continue receiving pay for your booked hours, please submit timesheets in the usual way, noting any period of approved leave. For more information about leave arrangements during the current lockdown period see the leave and absences FAQs.

I manage a worker placed by Unitemps whose assignment has been affected by the current lockdown as a result of coronavirus. How do I process their payment?

Individuals should continue submitting timesheets as normal for work they were assigned to complete. Managers should continue to approve timesheets in the usual way (including any approved leave). Submitting and approving timesheets in this way, will ensure that pay is issued correctly. For more information about leave arrangements during the current lockdown period see the leave and absences FAQs.

Rail season tickets

I have cancelled my rail season ticket do I need to refund my loan immediately?

UCL does not expect the loan to be repaid immediately if you have cancelled your season ticket. Your monthly loan repayments will continue unchanged. You will be entitled to apply for another full season ticket loan early (within 12 months of your last application) if you have obtained a refund and continue to meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Season Ticket Loan policy.


Can I claim tax relief on expenses incurred (e.g heat, lighting etc) due to working from home?

If UCL requires you to work at home, you can claim for tax relief on a flat rate of £4 per week for the tax year 2019/2020 and £6 per week for the tax year 2020/2021.

HMRC will consider claims from employees working at home due to coronavirus measures if your usual workplace is closed.

You can claim more than the flat rate if your costs are higher but you will be asked to provide evidence of these higher costs.

In the current tax year, a £6 per week claim will result in a gain of £1.20 per week for basic 20% rate taxpayers, and £2.40 per week for higher 40% rate taxpayers.

If you normally submit a self-assessment form, you can recover these costs as part of that process. If you do not submit a self-assessment form, then you can complete the 
online P87 form through a Government Gateway account.  

You will be asked for your employer's name (University College London) and PAYE reference (951/U3), and your job title. The key section to complete is titled 'Using your home as an office' (pictured below). Assuming you are not eligible for tax relief on other work-related expenses, tick “No” for those.

screen shot of tax relief web page

In the online form, there are two boxes:

  • 'Amount paid by you'. As long as you have had increased costs, put a total amount that's equivalent to £4 per week for the period you've been working from home up until Friday 3 April 2020 (the end of the last tax year). You won't need to provide any receipts. Most staff who have needed to work from home will claim for one, two or three weeks, and so may claim up to £12.

  • 'Amount paid to you by your employer'. Put £0. You claim retrospectively for any expenses you have incurred. For the current tax year, it may be easier to wait until lockdown is over and you're back at work then make the whole claim for the current tax year. Your tax code will probably be adjusted so you pay less tax over the year, as opposed to you getting a direct refund.