Coronavirus Banner

Human Resources

What approach is NUI Galway taking to managing the Coronavirus outbreak?

This is an emerging and rapidly evolving situation. The UMT meet regularly to discuss the latest guidance and developments and is proactively monitoring all HSE, Public Health, and Government guidance and will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available and can be found here.

It is important that we are taking measured and appropriate preventative actions in order to ensure that our teams and their families are kept safe and well.

Thank you all for your continuing support, commitment and flexibility in our collective response to the COVID-19 emergency.  We continue to live our values as a university community in times that both challenge and show our collective humanity.

What support is the University providing for staff ? 

We understand that these extraordinary circumstances and the evolving situation can cause isolation and anxiety. We encourage line managers, and colleagues to regularly keep in contact with one another by phone, Skype or other remote means. Please remember that all colleagues have free and confidential access to our NUI Galway Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Our NUI Galway Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) operated by Inspire Workplaces, is a completely free, confidential service for NUI Galway employees and their immediate families (those living at home with them who are 18 years of age and older).

As part of the EAP service, you can avail of emotional support and counselling services where required by calling free and in confidence 24/7, 365 days a year by calling 1800 817 435. The NUI Galway Employee Assistance Programme Service also offer a wide range of supports via their online hub. You can check out the EAP service here.

Inspire are committed to provide an accessible, responsive and high-quality EAP and counselling service throughout this crisis.

Moving forward they will continue to provide a 24/7 helpline service, however all subsequent structured counselling will now be provided via telephone or online video basis rather than face-to-face.

What are the tips for well-being and mental health while working remotely?

This is an exceptional and unprecedented crisis that the country is facing.  As a NUI Galway staff member, your health and safety and mental wellbeing is our primary concern.  Below are some tips and advice you may find useful:

  • Establish a daily routine
  • Try to build in some activity and time for yourself in the day (self-care) such as reading a book, listening to music, gardening, or physical activity such as going for a walk, run or cycle within the permitted 2km from your home
  • Consider limiting your daily amount of social media and news
  • Continue/implement healthy eating and sleeping habits.
  • Stay connected with friends and family through phone calls/video chats/text messages, etc.

Where you are experiencing difficulties, remember the University’s Employee Assistance Programme is available to all staff.  You can also find more information and further resources on the HR website and Mental Health Ireland.

Where can I find further information on wellbeing tips ?

We understand the importance of the health and wellbeing of our staff. As we work towards the IBEC Keep Well Mark accreditation we are continually reviewing our information and developing our support structures. As part of the Healthy Ireland National strategy we support their programmes in the community and the positive engagement of national sporting organizations with the Health and leisure industry who are providing online supports.

COVID -19 and the challenges faced by many staff working remotely, continues the need to provide online opportunities for our staff to engage in positive physical and mental health practices.

The University Human Resources homepage provides recommendations and links to reputable sources of information and support to staff in this challenging time.  

In addition to the employee health and wellbeing page we will have a separate section on looking after yourself during COVID-19, which will update on a regular basis. We will have regular input from various individuals who are promoting wellbeing availble here.

How can I manage the health and safety aspects of working remotely?

 It is the individual staff member's responsibility to ensure that they do not place themselves or others at risk whilst working remotely for the duration of this arrangement

 While working from home can you make sure that:

  • You have a suitable space to work from temporarily.
  • You access the workspace easily and safely.
  • That there is adequate light, ventilation and heat to allow you to work comfortably.
  • That there is enough space to allow you to work without twisting, bending or sitting/standing awkwardly.
  • That there is enough workspace to accommodate the equipment or other materials needed for the activity.
  • That the floor is clear and dry, e.g., kept clear of electrical cables or anything else you could trip over / slip on.
  • That your workspace is free of clutter.
  • Ensure that electrical sockets, plugs and cords are in good condition e.g. no charring, exposed wiring or frayed cables.

 You can find further information to ensure your safety here.

How will Recruitment and Contracts of Employment be dealt with ?

Ongoing and new recruitment including advertisement, shortlisting, interview, offer and contract, new, renewal and contract extensions will continue and is subject to following two part process during this period:

Stage 1: Completed paperwork and funding for priority posts to be agreed in co-operation with your UMT line Manager.

Stage 2: Prioritised posts identified from stage 1 above are reviewed by UMT subgroup.

Once a post ongoing or new is agreed to progress from Stage 2 above, recruitment and contract management will commence.

IMPORTANT:  See below your HR Manager contact details who will work with you to deliver the approved recruitment and contracts movement once stage 1 and 2 above are completed.

 Unit HR Contact details for all your HR queries: 

UMT Member

HR Senior Manager

email

President & VP International

Josephine Hynes

josephine.hynes@nuigalway.ie

Registrar, Bursar, VP Student Services, VP Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Graduate Studies

Carmel Browne

carmel.browne@nuigalway.ie

Academic Secretary, VP Development

Ann Marie Keelan

annmariekeelan@nuigalway.ie

COO

Sinead Wynne

sinead.wynne@nuigalway.ie

VP Research, Executive Dean Arts, Social Science & Celtic Studies

Ann Kyne

ann.kyne@nuigalway.ie

Executive Dean Engineering & Science

Helena Kenny

helena.kenny@nuigalway.ie

Executive Dean Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences

Niamh Kavanagh

niamh.kavanagh@nuigalway.ie

Executive Dean Business, Public Policy & Law

Brenda Fallon

brenda.fallon@nuigalway.ie

How will Casual/hourly paid employee's payments be processed?

All of our Agency staff and Part-time Teaching Assistants will be paid for the work that was planned up until Sunday 12th April.

Can I apply for leave as normal during the University closure period?

You should apply for annual leave on Core Portal as you would normally or through email to your  line manager if you record it on the Leave Form.   You can apply to your line manager for other leaves as normal. Please note that the terms and conditions of the various leave schemes as set out in the relevant policies still apply.

Can I cancel or defer a period of leave which was approved prior to the University closure period?

Non-deferrable leave (e.g. maternity leave, compassionate leave, sick leave): this leave will continue as normal during the University closure period. If your leave is in progress or is due to begin during this period, you are deemed for all intents and purposes to be on that leave from the original leave start date.

Other leave (e.g. parental leave, shorter working year): this approved leave will continue to be processed as normal during the University closure period. Requests to cancel or defer this type of leave will not be granted at this time, except where the employee is required to provide an essential service during the period in which the leave was to take place. Such request will require senior manager approval.

What should I do if I have Covid-19/suspected Covid-19?

You should submit an appropriate medical cert - a clear legible photo or scan will suffice- by email to your line manager, copying hrsickleave@nuigalway.ie   The cert must confirm specifically your diagnosis of Covid-19/Suspected Covid-19. Special Leave with pay will be recorded rather than sick leave. Please note that the University sick leave policy still applies such as maintaining contact with your line manager regarding your wellbeing and submitting certs at the earliest opportunity.

Should I claim the special DEASP Covid-19 illness benefit payment?

Public Service Employees who can avail of the special leave with pay for Covid-19 are excluded from claiming the special Department of Social Protection and Employment Affairs Covid-19 illness benefit payment as they will continue to be paid as normal.

What should I do if I contract another illness?

Any non-Covid-19 related illness will be recorded as sick leave and the rules governing the University sick leave policy will apply. You should forward a clear legible photo/scan of you medical cert to your line manager, copying hrsickleave@nuigalway.ie If the absence is for more than 6 days, you should apply for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection and Employment Affairs.

What should I do when I return from sick leave?

You should submit an SL1 form to your line manager for forwarding to hrsickleave@nuigalway.ie  The SL1 form can be found at the end of the sick leave policy available here.

Human Resources: Support for Managers

How will HR Support you as a manager?

Below are the HR Manager contact details who will work with you to deliver on all your HR queries. Please also refer to the HR homepage for all University HR Policies and Procedures.

HR Contact details for queries for your unit:

UMT Member

HR Senior Manager

email

President & VP International

Josephine Hynes

josephine.hynes@nuigalway.ie

Registrar, Bursar, VP Student Services, VP Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Graduate Studies

Carmel Browne

carmel.browne@nuigalway.ie

Academic Secretary, VP Development

Ann Marie Keelan

annmariekeelan@nuigalway.ie

COO

Sinead Wynne

sinead.wynne@nuigalway.ie

VP Research, Executive Dean Arts, Social Science & Celtic Studies

Ann Kyne

ann.kyne@nuigalway.ie

Executive Dean Engineering & Science

Helena Kenny

helena.kenny@nuigalway.ie

Executive Dean Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences

Niamh Kavanagh - for

College Office and
School of Nursing and Midwifery

niamh.kavanagh@nuigalway.ie

Executive Dean Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences

Pauline McNamara - for

School of Medicine (including Academies) and

School of Health Sciences

pauline.mcnamara@nuigalway.ie

Executive Dean Business, Public Policy & Law

Brenda Fallon

brenda.fallon@nuigalway.ie

How will recruitment and employment contracts be managed?

Ongoing and new recruitment including advertisement, shortlisting, interview, offers and contracts, new, renewal and contract extensions will continue and will be subject to following a two part process during this period:

Stage 1:Completed paperwork and funding for priority posts to be agreed in co-operation with your UMT line Manager.

Stage 2Prioritised posts identified from stage 1 above are then reviewed by a UMT subgroup.

Once a post ongoing or new is agreed to progress from Stage 2 above, recruitment and contract management will commence. 

What supports can you as a manager put in place for your colleagues?

We understand that these extraordinary circumstances and the evolving situation can cause isolation and anxiety. We encourage line managers, colleagues, and any home workers to regularly keep in contact with one another by phone, skype, MS Teams or other media platform. Please remember that all colleagues have free and confidential access to our NUI Galway Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

Our NUI Galway Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) operated by Inspire Workplaces, is a completely free, confidential service for NUI Galway employees and their immediate families (those living at home with them who are 18 years of age and older).

As part of the EAP service, you can avail of emotional support and counselling services where required by calling free and in confidence 24/7, 365 days a year by calling 1800 817 435. The NUI Galway Employee Assistance Programme Service also offer a wide range of supports via their online hub. You can check out the EAP service here.

How can managers work and keep in touch with colleagues?

In keeping with the Government directive, from Friday 13th March until further notice, all University staff members will work entirely from home, with the exception of those involved in delivering the essential services, where delivering these service requires presence on the campus i.e. delivery of a COVID-19 related service and other services to the community included on the Government list or to carry out duties deemed as essential by management of the University.  Only where the University deem it essential that people need to attend the workplace should they work on campus. This is in line with the public health guidance to avoid all non-essential journeys and limit social interactions.  If you need to work on campus, you will be provided with a letter from the Office of Chief Operating Officer via your direct line manager and UMT member. 

Some guidelines to assist managers: 

Communicate with your team

It is important to maintain ongoing communication with your team members. Be transparent about your availability and be ready for questions that may come up.  Keep up- to-date on the latest guidelines and plans. Communicate important updates in a timely manner.   Ensure all University communications i.e. University Alerts are made available to any staff member in your area who does not normally have access to emails or website.

  • One-to-One meetings, and Team meetings should continue over phone or using tools like Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom.  Arrange for a weekly or bi-weekly meeting or even a coffee with the team.
  • Ensure that you have up-to-date contact details to enable communication with every team member (e.g. phone number or email address), and next of kin contact name and details.
  • Ensure that all your team are aware of who to contact to report a COVID-19 related absence, and have the necessary contact details to do so.
  • Stay focused on work and relevant timelines being in mind that things may take longer to pull together remotely.  Ensure that you are clearly communicating the expected outcomes and timeframes and that each person knows how to deliver and address any roadblocks they may encounter.  Schedules are essential to keep everyone on track but it is not the time to micromanage and remember that everyone is doing their best at this time.
  • Establish a set of behaviours and expectations for all team members, stay connected and engaged to keep morale high. Keep your One-to-One meetings going albeit virtually through tools such as Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. 

And be aware of and take cognisance that

  • Some staff members are without childcare arrangements due to crèche and school closures, and therefore staff may need to adjust their normal working hours, take longer to respond, and options such as facilitating shared caring responsibilities with partner.
  • Broadband may be an issue for some staff
  • Some staff members may not have the IT equipment required, i.e. laptop, PC, etc.
  • A family member, elderly or at-risk relatives or friend or someone within the home maybe sick or self-isolating and require support during these challenging times.

How can managers assist with the Health and Safety of team members working remotely?

It is the individual staff member's responsibility to ensure that they do not place themselves or others at risk whilst working remotely for the duration of this arrangement, however, as managers,  it is important to check in with staff members to ensure they are doing ok and taking regular breaks to ensure compliance with Working Time Act.

The Health & Safety Authority has provided information for employers and employees on working from home during this time. Some questions that they suggest that we should ask employees are set out below.

While working from home can you make sure that:

  • You have a suitable space to work from temporarily?
  • You access the workspace easily and safely?
  • That there is adequate light, ventilation and heat to allow you to work comfortably?
  • That there is enough space to allow you to work without twisting, bending or sitting/standing awkwardly?
  • That there is enough workspace to accommodate the equipment or other materials needed for the activity?
  • That the floor is clear and dry, e.g., kept clear of electrical cables or anything else you could trip over / slip on?
  • That your workspace is free of clutter?
  • Ensure that electrical sockets, plugs and cords are in good condition e.g. no charring, exposed wiring or frayed cables?

 You can find further information to ensure your safety here.

What IT Equipment should be available for team members working remotely?

Ensure that staff are sufficiently equipped with necessary IT Equipment and resources to enable them to carry out work from home.  Ensure that IT Equipment is tested by your team members, including access to Internet / Wifi/ SSL VPN.  If they are having any IT related issues in regard to remote working, they will need to contact Information Services and Solutions and log a ticket if they cannot resolve the issue from the information on the website.

As a Manager, what are my responsibilities when a staff member contacts me about potential COVID 19 infection?

You need to:-

  • Establish specifically whether the staff member has consulted a doctor or the HSE. If not, the staff member should be advised to phone their Doctor immediately.
  • Establish specifically whether the staff member has been diagnosed or is awaiting test or result of test. If the staff member is medically diagnosed with COVID-19/suspected Covid-19 or has been advised to self isolate, then special leave with pay applies.
  • Ensure staff submit the appropriate medical confirmation by sending a clear, legible photo to their line manager at the earliest opportunity.
  • Notify the Human Resources Office by emailing hrsickleave@nuigalway.ie and forward the cert to this email address on receipt of same.

How do I record leave?

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 requires employers to hold records of all forms of leave. It is important that you keep records of all leave (Covid-19 special leave with pay, annual leave, sick leave, unpaid leave, maternity leave) locally in each area as is the standard procedure. These should be readily available for University and DES statistical data, if requested.

All leave applications should continue to be forwarded to Human Resources at leaveschemes@nuigalway.ie for processing. 

Is there guidance availble on the protection of personal data while working remotely?

The Data Protection Commission have issued useful guidance on protecting personal data when working remotely.  The NUI Galway website should also be referenced.