MENY

Questions and answers about the coronavirus situation for staff

How does the closing of the university due to the coronavirus outbreak affect your relationship with UiS as staff? UiS is working to clarify several current issues and continuously provides updates here.

1. How does this affect my physical work situation?

The UiS is committed to maintaining operation of the university's functions as far as possible in this situation. The limitation imposed by the authorities implies that we cannot physically perform our duties in the workplace. Therefore, employees work from home as far as possible.

When using a home office, ordinary working time regulations still apply. For those working at home, there may be a need for flexibility with regard to splitting the normal working day of 7.5 hours. Thus, if you work from home, you can register your normal working day as from 08:00–15:30 in the SAP portal. Work time is registered with the code «Work time” (Norwegian «Til stede»). When working from home, you are expected to make yourself available for contact via phone, e-mail and/or Skype.

We encourage both staff and employer to show flexibility when this is needed. Until further notice it is possible to depart from core time regulations for employees who have flexitime agreements. 

The UiS has tools and systems in place to help you with digital teaching, collaboration and meetings from your home office. If you need any assistance, please contact  IT-hjelp@uis.no or call the IT service line at 51 83 30 00.

 

2. Are there any travel restrictions for those employed at UiS?

Only travels that are critical for operations of the university are permitted. Business travel must be cleared with your immediate manager, and video conference alternatives must be considered.

 

3. How should I deal with pending business travel?

As of 14 March, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advices against trips to all countries that are not strictly necessary. This is relevant also for domestic travels.

The Norwegian government has introduced a number of stringent measures with consequences for both domestic and foreign travel. Other countries are doing the same. Check the Norwegian government's travel advice and assess the situation in the country you plan to travel to.

  • Remember that anyone arriving in Norway from abroad will have to remain in quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
  • If a traveller needs to contact Egencia and their travel is not affected by this event, or if travel dates are not in the immediate future, travellers are encouraged to contact Egencia.
  • If you plan on travelling, please familiarise yourself with the travel advice issued by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and with the precautions you should take before, during and after travel. You should also familiarise yourself with local measures imposed by the municipality of Stavanger

 

4. What should I do if I am currently on business travel?

The UiS adheres to travel advice issued by the Norwegian government. If you are currently on business travel, you must familiarize yourself with advice available at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health regarding restrictions on areas and countries and precautions to take before, during and after travel. The website is updated continuously. 

UiS employees currently aboard are also asked to follow the advice of the Norwegian embassy and local authorities where they are staying.

Be aware that everyone arriving in Norway from abroad will have to remain in quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
 

5. Research fellows/post-docs: Extension of fixed term of appointment

Due to measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, access to the workplace has been restricted for both students and staff. For some this may cause delays in their progress, e.g. due to lack of access to labs and equipment or the need to care for children at home.

Pursuant to the Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow), and stipendiat (research fellow) Section 2-3 (6), the appointing body may in specific cases grant extension of the period of appointment owing to circumstances that have precluded the progression of the research training. Such circumstances may be special care burdens or unforeseen obstacles of a work nature for which the research fellow cannot be held responsible. When such circumstances result in delays, extension of the period of appointment may be granted, provided that the research fellow will be able to complete the research training before the expiry of the extension period.

Whether or not restricted access to the workplace constitutes an obstacle for progression of the doctoral degree training must be assessed in each individual case when the cause of the delay and the consequence of this has been determined. The research fellow must contact the head of their department to discuss this. If the research fellow’s fixed term of appointment expires in the autumn of 2020, clarifications concerning delays shall be dealt with when access to the workplace is regained. Head of department will put forward a proposal for extension to the appointments committee.

Pursuant to the Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow), and stipendiat (research fellow) Section 2-3 (1),research fellows and post-doc research fellows may be granted an extension of their fixed term of appointment due to sick leave or other leave to which they are entitled. In order to give grounds for extension, absence must amount to at least two continuous weeks. After the period of absence, you must inform HR-infodesk@uis.no of your absence. Based on this, HR will calculate a new deadline and inform you of this. 

Research fellows and post-doc research fellows who have been asked to assist the public health services during the coronavirus pandemic will automatically be granted leave without pay and have their fixed term of appointment extended correspondingly. Please send confirmation from the health services to HR-infodesk@uis.no to have your leave of absence registered and new appointment term calculated.

 

6. How will disputations be conducted

Until March 26, PhD candidates who are either scheduled for a public defence of their PhD degree or to receive the topic for their trial lecture, may submit their trial lecture in the form of a PowerPoint presentation within the date of their scheduled disputation. This presentation will form the basis of your trial lecture on the date of your public defence.

New guidelines for digital disputations at the UiS have been implemented for the period March 27 until and including June 30, 2020. The guidelines will be subject to changes in national guidelines.

The faculties should assess on a case-by-case basis whether the trial lecture and public defence should be conducted or postponed in cases where coronavirus measures prevent physical participation.

Public defences and trial lectures shall be conducted exclusively in a digital manner during this period. All participants will attend via the technical solution provided and nobody will be physically present on the university premises.
 

7. What should I do if I'm on a long-term stay abroad?

If you are considering returning to Norway now, discuss the situation with your immediate manager.

Follow the advice provided by the Norwegian governmentthe Norwegian Embassy, and the local authorities in the countries where they are staying.

 

8. I am a foreign employee at UiS: What should I do?

If you are a UiS employee with foreign nationality who, in this situation, wishes to return to your home country, you should discuss the situation with your immediate manager. In addition, you should contact the authorities in your home country. Your country's embassy in Norway can help you with more information. Local authorities may continuously introduce travel restrictions or other measures such as quarantine. You should familiarize yourself with current entry rules for the country you are travelling to. The situation is changing rapidly and it is therefore important that you carefully examine the current conditions yourself.

The Norwegian government has closed the border for foreign citizens without a residence permit in Norway. They are expelled at the border on the basis of the Infection Protection Act. This applies to all international employees who are scheduled to take up their position at UiS these days and whose residence permit has not been put into effect.

On the website of the Norwegian government it says that exemptions may be granted for EEA citizens and their family members currently residing and working in Norway. For more information on this and Norwegian airports please read more at government.no.

Employees currently staying in areas of ongoing transmission of coronavirus must follow the instructions imposed by local authorities and official Norwegian travel advice. This advice is updated continuously and should be checked often.

 

9. How should I deal with private travel?

As of 14 March, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advices against trips to all countries that are not strictly necessary.

The Norwegian Government has introduced a number of stringent measures with consequences for both domestic and foreign travel. Other countries are doing the same.  

Check the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs' travel advice and assess the situation in the country you plan to travel to.

Remember that everyone arriving in Norway from abroad will have to remain in quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.

 

10. Am I entitled to sickness benefits? 

If you become ill, the ordinary regulations for self-certified sick leave apply. If you are absent for a longer period, you report this in the usual way and submit a medical certificate.

If you pose a risk as a source of infection and must be kept isolated and therefore are unable to work, you may also be entitled to sickness benefits. Evidence that you are actually a carrier is not required, it is enough that there is a risk that you are a carrier. 

We encourage the use of extended scheme of self-certification for as long as possible. If you are in mandatory quarantine we ask that you talk to your immediate manager regarding the use of self-certification before you contact your GP.

Read more about sick leave due to coronavirus at nav.no.

11. Do you need someone to talk to at these extraordinary times?

If you need psychosocial support, please contact the university’s occupational health service at inger@forusakutten.no

12. What rules apply to me who must stay home with children?

Kindergartens and schools are now closed. All employees are encouraged to make full use of working from home if possible. If you are unable to perform normal work, this absence still counts as regular work time. Core time requirements are suspended during this period.

PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows affected by this situation are encouraged to work from home to the extent possible under these circumstances.
 

13. How is information about quarantine and cases of disease treated?

Confidentiality and GDPR

Employee absence from work is subject to general confidentiality and GDPR. Therefore, the employer cannot, as a rule, provide information about individuals' absence and illness, neither to employees nor to others.

Information based on consent

The employee can give consent to the employer so that the employer can inform others about the reason for absence. It is important to ensure that consent is given voluntarily and that information is not shared beyond the scope of the consent.

Information about quarantine and illness within an institution

  • If an employee is diagnosed, the municipal health service will follow up the person and all contacts in accordance with current guidelines to ensure sound health care and infection detection.
  • The employer can provide information within the company that an employee is quarantined or infected, if this is deemed necessary to ensure a safe and healthy workspace. If the employer considers it necessary to provide such information in order to ensure a safe and healthy workspace, a specific assessment must be made in each case.