Sabbatical abroad and the coronavirus

On this page you find principles regarding changes for sabbaticals abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic, in order to ensure equal treatment of employees.

Topic page about sabbaticals | Pages tagged with sabbatical

Norsk versjon - Forskningstermin i utlandet og koronavirus

Main principles #

Two main principles are fundamental: 

  • The employee’s health and safety is the top priority
  • Avoid disrupting NTNU’s thinking regarding sabbaticals. As far as possible, one should continue as before.

  Three categories of employees have been addressed

  1. Employees whose visits abroad have been cut short and who have returned home because of the coronavirus situation 
  2. Employees who have been granted sabbatical leave and had planned to start their visit abroad during 2020 (starting/departing in August 2020 in most cases)
  3. Employees who are applying for sabbatical leave in the current round of applications with 2 May as the deadline 

Note: Point 2 applies to a ALL temporary work visits abroad in the autumn of 2020.

The matter was discussed in the Research Committee on 29 April and in the international matrix on 28 April. At a meeting held on 8 May, the Deans endorsed the following, and the Rector has decided as follows below

Decisions #

Employees whose visits abroad have been cut short and who have returned home as a result of the coronavirus situation  #

  • Employees who have returned home due to the coronavirus pandemic cannot postpone the rest of their sabbatical or visit abroad. If there are special reasons indicating that they should be allowed to complete the rest of their visit abroad later, this may be considered individually by the department/faculty. Here, the length of the sabbatical period that remains must be taken into account.
  • The financial principles that apply to this group of employees are dealt with separately.

Employees who have been granted sabbatical leave and who had planned to start their visit abroad during 2020 #

  • As a general rule, these sabbaticals should start in Norway in the autumn of 2020 as planned, and the visit abroad should be postponed and shortened accordingly. It is recommended that all visits abroad be postponed to 2021. Where there are special grounds for postponing the entire sabbatical or there are special grounds for carrying out the visit abroad as planned, individual adaptations will be possible. Changes in the sabbatical must be discussed between the employee and the Head of Department, and the Dean makes the final decision. When the period of a study visit abroad is postponed, the budget for international funding that has already been granted will also be postponed. The budget will remain unchanged. Research sabbaticals without visits abroad will be carried out as planned.
  • At this time, employees should avoid incurring irreversible financial obligations related to visits abroad.
  • Visits abroad can be carried out if they are regarded as safe. The assessment must be made in consultation with the Head of Department, and the Dean makes the final decision. Assessment criteria for study abroad are attached as an appendix to the decision. 

Those who are applying for sabbatical leave in the current round of applications with 2 May as the deadline #

  • The deadline for applications for sabbatical leave was 2 May 2020. The faculties’ deadline for decisions on new sabbaticals is 30 September 2020.

Assessment criteria for study abroad in the autumn of 2020  #

If there are special reasons why a study visit abroad should be carried out in the autumn of 2020, this can be done if it is regarded as safe. The assessment must be made in consultation with the Head of Department, and the Dean makes the final decision.

The following criteria must be assessed if employees are to carry out study visits abroad in the autumn of 2020:

  • The authorities’ travel advice and recommendations
  • The authorities’ travel advice in effect must be followed at all times. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health issue recommendations and advice to travellers.Although it may soon be possible to enter certain countries again, the authorities’ travel advice still applies and NTNU follows the authorities’ recommendations.
  • If an employee travels abroad against the authorities’ recommendation, travel insurance may become invalid.
  • If study abroad is to be carried out, social security membership and insurance coverage must be clarified before departure.
  • Is it possible to enter the country? Here, it is necessary to investigate whether the country’s borders are open for inbound travellers. Can any accompanying family members enter the country?
  • Can the research be conducted as planned in relation to the decision on the sabbatical? Here, it must be investigated whether the campus in the host country is open. Will the employee be granted access to laboratories and other equipment necessary for conducting the research
  • Departments are financially liable for any extra costs related to study abroad where exceptions have been made.

Special groups for consideration #

  • PhD candidates are a special case because they are both employed and completing an education. Projects should be modified where possible so that they can be completed in Norway and still provide the PhD candidate with a fully satisfactory education. If applicable, alternative methods of collaboration that do not involve travelling should be considered.  In exceptional cases, outward travel may be permitted. Such permission must comply with the authorities’ recommendations on international travel.
  • Postdocs are in a situation where they are to build their own CV to qualify for a tenured academic position. Project plans must be modified where possible. In exceptional cases, outward travel may be permitted. Such permission must comply with the authorities’ recommendations on international travel.
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