Information, advice and FAQ for employees

Last changed: 30 April 2020

Below is updated information for employees about the coronavirus, FAQ and advice on to handle the corona situation when working from home.

Illness or home caring for a sick child (VAB) during the coronavirus situation

If you fall ill

If you fall ill, you must notify your immediate manager or another delegated person. You are personally responsible for ensuring that your sick leave is reported in Primula self-service. You can also ask someone to do it. Your employer does not have to pay you sick pay until you report sick leave in Primula. Once you are back at work, you must report that you are well again in Primula selfservice.

If the infection does not affect an employee’s ability to work, they may still receive a quarantine allowance in accordance with the general agreements on pay and benefits for government employees. For the collective bargaining agreement regulations to apply, your treating physician, an infectious disease physician or equivalent must certify that you cannot work owing to the risk of contagion.

Doctor’s certificates during the coronavirus situation

6 April update:
Information from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency website

As of 27 March 2020, you do not need to submit a doctor’s certificate the first 21 days of your sick period. This applies to all matters processed as of 27 March. We will not require a doctor’s certificate the first 21 days if it is not included in an application.

If you are still sick after 21 days, you need to submit a doctor’s certificate when applying for sickness benefit.

More information is available on the Swedish Social Insurance Agency website. However, information in English is not guaranteed.

Temporarily cancelled qualifying deductions

6 April update:
Information from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency website

As of 11 March 2020, the government has decided to temporarily cancel qualifying days. This means that you can apply for qualifying deduction reimbursement retroactively from 11 March and onward. The employer must make qualifying deductions as usual.

If you are employed, you will be reimbursed with a lump sum of SEK 700 before tax.

As of 7 April 2020, there will be an e-service on My pages where you can apply for qualifying deduction reimbursement. However, information in English is not guaranteed. The reimbursement will be paid within 3–5 working days.

More information is available on the Swedish Social Insurance Agency website. However, information in English is not guaranteed.

No required home caring for a sick child certificate

6 April update:
As of 19 March 2020, you no longer need to submit certificates if your child is sick or infected for more than seven days. This applies regardless of the child’s illness or infection. Doctor’s certificates are no longer needed for when the child’s caregiver is ill, e.g. a childminder, for more than seven days.

More information is available on the Swedish Social Insurance Agency website. However, information in English is not guaranteed.

Staying home to care for a sick child (VAB) during the corona pandemic

15 May update:
As of 25 April, you can be reimbursed if the preschool or school is closed because of Covid-19, even if your child is not ill or carrying the virus. The government has approved a temporary change to allow this, valid until 30 September 2020 the latest.

This reimbursement for those staying at home to care for a sick child will only be paid if the preschool/school decides to close. This may happen in the following cases:

  • on the recommendation by a disease control specialist or the Public Health Agency
  • if the preschool/school is in a risk area closed off by the Public Health Agency
  • if the preschool/school is closed because a large number of employees are off sick.

 

Corona - FAQ employees

Latest update: 15 May

General questions

How is Sweden handling the coronavirus outbreak?

24 April update:
See the video with Dr. Anders Tegnell, Sweden's chief epidemiologist, in a conversation about the Swedish coronavirus strategy, arranged by The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). The video was streamed live on April 15 2020. The conversation starts after about 7 minutes:

How is SLU handling the Coronavirus outbreak? 

The university is dealing with the coronavirus daily through a special group tasked with handling general issues related to the outbreak. It monitors the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s and the Ministry for Foreign Affair’s and other public authority updates and observes how other universities are handling the issue.

If you have any questions that are not answered below, contact your immediate manager.

How are employees informed about the current situation?

We encourage all employees and students to stay updated on the staff web page about the coronavirus. If your questions are not answered, contact your immediate manager.

Can occupational health services offer testing for Covid-19?

30 April update:
No, no testing is currently available. If testing is offered at a later date, they will only offer tests approved by the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

If and when testing is offered at a later date, there will be more information on this.

How do I avoid infection?

It is generally important to follow the recommendations for good hand hygiene and practice social distance. We encourage all employees to stay updated and carefully follow the disease control recommendations on Krisinformation.se.

What should I do if I get sick and cannot work?

6 April update:
Report sick leave in accordance with SLU procedures. See the expandable menu Home caring for a sick child (VAB) during the coronavirus situation higher up on this page.

I have no symptoms. Should I still work from home?

15 May update:
SLU has assessed that someone with no symptoms and not part of an at-risk group can carry out their regular duties. You can work from home to the extent that your line manager decides possible given your tasks and work environment. You and your line manager need to agree if any measures are needed to guarantee a satisfactory work environment in the home.

I need to talk about how the coronavirus is affecting me and my work. Where should I turn?

6 April update:
Primarily discuss this with your manager and colleagues. If you want occupational health service support, contact your immediate manager.

A person in my household has the coronavirus. Should I go to work anyway?

31 March update:
SLU has made the assessment that someone with no symptoms and not part of an at-risk group can carry out their ordinary duties. You can work at home to the extent that your immediate manager decides possible in relation to operations and work environment.

I need to stay home and take care of my children because their preschool/school is closed. Do I have the right to take leave? If so, do I have the right to receive salary?

15 May update:
As of 25 April, you can be reimbursed if the preschool or school is closed because of Covid-19, even if your child is not ill or carrying the virus. The government has approved a temporary change to allow this, valid until 30 September 2020 the latest.

This reimbursement for those staying at home to care for a sick child will only be paid if the preschool/school decides to close. This may happen in the following cases:

  • on the recommendation by a disease control specialist or the Public Health Agency
  • if the preschool/school is in a risk area closed off by the Public Health Agency
  • if the preschool/school is closed because a large number of employees are off sick.

Will the university or its operations close?

18 March update
There are currently no plans to close any operations. However, there will be no on site teaching on SLU premises as of Wednesday 18 March. If the situation changes, all employees and students will be informed.

Will the university cancel any big events?

1 April update
As of 29 March, all public events and general assemblies (for example lectures, markets and conventions) with more than 50 participants are forbidden in Sweden. All events and other meetings with more than 50 participants are therefore cancelled until further notice. Digital meetings are recommended for other events and assemblies.

Questions about travel

I have visited an affected country. Can I still go to work?

1 April update
Those with no symptoms should return to work as usual. Based on an employee’s duties, the manager in question will decide whether working from home is an option in each case. If it is practically possible to work from home and the home work environment is satisfactory, the manager and employee can agree on working from home.

One of my family members has visited an affected country – what should I as an employee do?

1 April update
Those with no symptoms should return to work as usual. Based on an employee’s duties, the manager in question will decide whether working from home is an option in each case. If it is practically possible to work from home and the home work environment is satisfactory, the manager and employee can agree on working from home.

I have planned a business trip - what should I do?

31 March update
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs advises against non-essential travel to ALL countries. All non-essential business travel, domestic as foreign should be cancelled, if possible. Consider arranging online meetings instead. Any essential travel must be booked as flexible, rebookable tickets through the procured travel agency Egencia.

Will the university contact employees currently abroad?

Employees who have booked their business trip through Egencia and who are currently abroad will receive a travel alert from Egencia. The alert will sent by email.

Visits from guests/students

Should we welcome visitors/students from abroad?

All visits from partners/guests from abroad should be cancelled until further notice.

Working from home

Digital tools for working from home

At SLU you have access to several digital tools that makes it possible to work from home. The tools mentioned in the text are available for all employees at SLU. Read more on IT support's page about digital tools for working from home.

Advice to those working from home

Many SLU employees will work from home due to the coronavirus. Managers are responsible for deciding whether working from home is possible or not. Below are a few tips for those working from home.

1. Structure the day

Try to follow normal work times and routines as much as possible, even when working from home. Remember that the same working hours that apply in the workplace apply at home unless you have agreed on something else with your manager/equivalent. Notify colleagues that you are working from home and when you are available.

“Routines” include recuperation such as coffee breaks, lunch and breaks. Try finding new routines at home that correspond to those at work. It is recommended to have virtual coffee breaks with colleagues. More information below.

2. Move/take a walk

It can be physically or psychologically strenuous to work from home for a longer period, and there must be procedures to ensure that it works in the long-term. For example, set reminders on your phone a few times per day to remind you to take proper breaks and allow the mind to rest. These breaks are not as spontaneous at home as in the workplace. Take the time and plan them. It can be good to take a short break once per hour to rest the mind and maintain concentration for the rest of the day.

It is also important to do ergonomic exercises in order to reduce the risk of strain injuries. Take a walk or two during the day. Other ways of incorporating physical exercise is moving the arms and legs, stretching the back, etc. Another tip is standing up and looking out the window, as far as you can, for a minute or two, before returning to work. This allows more blood to travel to the brain and rests the eyes. Perhaps it is possible to take part in a phone meeting while getting some fresh air?

3. Ensure social contact

Work provides most of us with a social community that is important for our well-being. Working from home separates us from or social fellowship during a longer period. It is therefore important to find ways to compensate this need. Make an effort to establish social contact in other ways. A few tips:

Coffee breaks on Skype – meet online at set times and have a coffee together. Preferably, at least twice per day.  You will find more tips on arranging digital coffee breaks in the news notice on working from home. Also keep a chat window open in Skype or Teams – this allows continual contact with colleagues throughout the day. Chatting is more informal than emails. Be aware if/when the workplace arranges video meetings for employees (information meetings, workplace meetings, staff meetings, etc.). Follow such meetings online, even if the need is not considerable today – it can make it easier for others. Tell any immediate colleagues that you would like to be kept aware of what is being discussed in the workplace.

4. Create an efficient and peaceful workspace

Another tip is creating a clear work station in the home. This may involve being able to close a physical door. If this is not possible, close a mental door by asking any family members to respect your working hours and new work situation. No distractions are necessary when working. A clean and tidy kitchen table is also a good option. Signal that you are busy by closing the door, putting on headphones, turning your back or something else that shows intention. Notify your surroundings of when you take breaks and when you are done for the day. And perhaps most important of all: stick to the plan.

Give yourself time to structure any technical tools to make things easier and practical. Where should the computer be? Where do I sit best? Which chair should I use? etc. Also consider whether you know how to use all useful available software. Are there solutions in Outlook, Teams, OneNote, etc. that you normally do not use but which could be useful now? Do you need instructions, training or help getting started?

Work environment responsibility when working from home

The employer is formally responsible for your working hours and the work environment even when working from home. You should be prepared for the fact that your manager may ask questions about your work environment at home, both physical and psychosocial aspects. Those working from home are also obligated to report any risks, incidents or accidents that occur in the home environment. This is to allow the manager/equivalent the conditions to take their work environment responsibility. This especially applies if there is a serious incident or accident. The manager/equivalent must then report the occupational injury, which is important in order for any insurance to apply. Learn more about what applies during occupational injuries.

Information security

Also remember that information security must be the same as in the regular workplace – information must be protected and kept away from unauthorised persons. Public access and secrecy rules also apply when working from home.


Contact

If you suspect that you have contracted the virus, read more at http://krisinformation.se/en (emergency information from Swedish authorities), or phone 113 13 (national information number for information on emergencies) and ask for advice.

Staff who have questions about how this issue is handled at SLU, or who need practical advice in case they become infected, should contact their immediate superior.

Students should contact their programme director of studies, contact details can be found on the programme web pages.

Page editor: HRADM@slu.se