Guidelines for absence and management of operations during extensive absence due to coronavirus

Målgruppe: Medarbeidere Tema: HMS

Guidelines for absence and management of operations during extensive absence due to coronavirus #

Topic page about sick leave

Norwegian version: Fravær, hjemmekontor og håndtering av drift

Published 14 March 2020. For updates, see below.

The guidelines are handled by the immediate manager with human resources responsibility, and it is assumed they will be practised in a flexible way. An important guiding principle for practice is that the whole of Norwegian society is in an extraordinary situation that calls for flexibility and voluntary efforts from both employer and employee. In addition, a home office, with the practical problems it may involve, is now the general rule at NTNU.

Questions from employees about the rules should be directed to the line manager. For necessary clarifications and evaluations, managers can contact the faculties/NTNU University Museum (VM), which in turn are in contact with the central HR and HSE Division.


Absence because of home quarantine due to infection/illness #

The form for self-certified sick leave should be used if you for various reasons have been placed in quarantine and cannot work from home. Generally, you do not need to see your general physician to get a sick leave in such instances. That is also the recommendation from the government in order to avoid unnecessary pressure on the health care system.

You can now spend up to 16 self-certified sick leave days for this situation. This presupposes that you do not exceed the quota of a total of 24 self-certified days of sick leave in the last 12 calendar months. If you must be home for more than 16 days or you have used up your quota of self-certified sick leaves, you must contact your physician in order to get a sick leave.

Absence due to closed kindergartens and schools #

Absence in order to take care of children can be combined with home office where possible. The employer fully understands that it will be challenging to maintain normal productivity with such a combination. You shall therefore report a full work day in your record of work hours (Min tid) even if some of the day was spent taking care of children.

If you do not find it feasible to work from home at all and must stay home due to closed schools and kindergartens, you can use care benefit days (sick child/child minder). This also applies to those who find that it is not feasible to combine home office with taking care of children.

  • You now have the possibility of using twice as many care benefit days for children under the age of 12 as normal:

                1–2 children: 20 days                3 children or more: 30 days

  • The absence is registered in the HR portal with the reason “sick child/child minder”. It may be wise to wait with the registration of this until the last day of absence, since we do not know how long this situation will last. You do not need to present a medical certificate for the absence. If you use care benefit day for parts of a day, you can wait until you have used an entire day of care benefit and then register the absence in the HR portal. 

PhDs can use care benefit days in the same manner. They will then be given an automatic prolongation of their work relationship.

Absence due to closed campuses #

If you are not allowed to go to work due to closed campuses and you do not have the possibility to work from home, you will record work hours as usual.

You will still have to be available at all times for reassignment to other tasks, and you should use your work days to, for instance, updating yourself professionally.

For you who are in a risk group #

If you belong to what the Norwegian Institute of Public Health defines as a risk group, the employer does not want you to physically show up at campus. If it is not possible to work from home, you are therefore to register work hours as normal in Min Tid.

Guidelines for the use of a home office #

a.    For home office use according to NTNU’s instructions, the employer must make arrangements to ensure that the individual employee has enough resources to carry out the work in about the same way as in their ordinary work situation. 

b.    The employer must make arrangements for assistance with the transport of, for example, PC equipment for those who are not in good enough health to transport the equipment themselves. This also includes transporting the equipment back to the workplace again after use of the home office ends. It is assumed that employees must always transport laptops themselves. 

c.    The State’s self-insurance principle also applies to use of a home office. This means that damage to NTNU-owned computer equipment is covered by the employer. For example, if personal PC equipment is used, this must take place in consultation with the line manager if the employer is to cover damage to such equipment. 

d.    Each employee must ensure that they make arrangements to ensure that the design of their workplace at home does not cause unnecessary physical strain. 

e.    In general, meetings that can be held on Skype must be conducted in the usual way.

f.    Employees who already have broadband/an Internet connection at home, and who are not billed for use, will in general not be reimbursed for broadband. Employees who do not have broadband or other Internet connection at home and who need this so that they can work at home must contact their line manager to find a solution.

g.    Use of a home office is not free time, and employees must be available to the employer during the core period (09:00-14.30) unless otherwise explicitly agreed with the line manager (including taking flexitime and compensatory time off/holiday leave). 

h.    In general, the employer can instruct employees to take on new duties even in a home office situation. This will be especially relevant when the employee’s original duties cannot be performed from home and/or there is a need for more intensive efforts in particular areas. 

Sound management of operations when absence is very high #

a.    Transfer of employees to different duties may become necessary if the extent of simultaneous absence rises to very high levels. This means that some employees may be given tasks different to those that they carry out on a daily basis. Such redeployment may also involve entering the campus.

b.    In some cases, it may be necessary to impose overtime on employees. 

c.    Employees whose duties are cancelled due to the situation may be required to take on other tasks.

d.    Because of unforeseen events, it may be necessary to cancel holiday leave that has already been granted, when taking the leave would create significant operational problems due to the unforeseen events, and it is not possible to provide a substitute. Should this become relevant, the employer will discuss the issue of changing holiday leave and its consequences with the employee. The employee has the right to be assisted by a union representative at the discussion. During the discussion, the employee must provide information on additional expenses for which they will claim compensation.

Use of temporary employment #

a.    If it proves necessary for sound management of operations, a lower threshold for the use of temporary employment may be allowed for short periods to provide cover for absence. Agreements can be made for temporary appointment of substitute staff, both for a particular employee and where several employees are absent. 

b.    NTNU’s Staff Regulations allow appointment in short-term temporary positions for up to six months on a general basis and up to 12 months for events that are especially unexpected. NTNU is working on the basis that the consequences of the coronavirus are of such an unpredictable nature that appointment without prior notice can be used for up to 12 months. 

Holiday leave #

Managers and employees must take joint responsibility and show flexibility so that this year's holiday can be implemented as normally as possible, although it can be a slightly different holiday this year. There are no changes in NTNU's routines and deadlines for holiday settlement as a result of the Korona pandemic.

Managers and employees find Guidance on registering and changing holidays in PAGA on the intranet. The main holiday must be registered in PAGA by 1 May. Remaining holidays and any transfer of holiday must be registered by 15 November.

  • The time of the holiday is discussed and agreed upon between the manager and employees. Employees register the holidays in PAGA for formal approval by the manager. An approved holiday can normally only be postponed as a result of a doctor-certifies sick leave or if you are assigned operational duties in the event of unforeseen events that no one else can take. A canceled holiday due to the corona situation does not entitle you to a postponed holiday.
  • Managers are responsible for ensuring that employees take all statutory leave. When approving holidays, the manager must make a total assessment of what is compatible with the activities of their unit.
    • Employees have the right and duty to take 25 vacation days a year. Those anterior to 60 years of age have 30 days of leave.
    • Employees have the right to take 3 weeks of consecutive summer holiday. The employer can decide that this holiday must be taken between 1 June and 30 September (Section 7 of the Holiday Act), but at NTNU the main holiday is normally taken during the summer weeks between the spring and autumn semester.
    • Exceptionally, employees can apply for a transfer of up to 14 vacation days to next year.
  • NTNU has many international employees who will not be able to visit their family abroad during the corona pandemic. We understand that some of them will want to take some leave when the travel restrictions are lifted. The managers are asked to try to meet such wishes, especially if employees apply well in advance.

Updates to the guidelines: #

07 April 2020: Holiday leave

19 March 2020: You are encouraged to use self-certified sick days instead of seeking a physician for a sick leave.

19 March 2020: You can record regular work hours even if you cannot go to work due to closed campuses and are unable to work from home.

19 March 2020: You should wait until the last day of absence to record care benefit days (sick child/childminder) in the HR portal.

16 March 2020, 13:10
Employees who need to be home because schools and kindergartens are closed and who cannot have a home office get a double quota of care days. The quota is now 20 days for 1-2 children and 20 days more than 3 children - and double that for single parents

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