Information and advice for employees

Last changed: 23 November 2020

Below is updated information for employees about the coronavirus and about working from home, as well as answers to frequent questions. This page is updated continously.

Latest news

  • November 16: Guidelines if a household member is tested positive, please see the meny below.
  • November 1: Certificate for home caring for a sick child (VAB) and medical certificate please see the meny below.
  • June 8: Decision on business travel and working from home. 

Own illness or sick child leave during during corona

Updates are listed in chronological order

A person in my household is sick with covid-19, should I go to work anyway?

16 November update:
The Swedish Public Health Agency has updated rules of conduct regarding infection in the family/household: When a person in a household is ill and has received a test result that shows that he or she has covid-19, everyone in the household, both sick and healthy, except children who have not started preschool will be contacted by the healthcare and receive rules of conduct. See also If you or someone in the family has become ill.

Certificate for home caring for a sick child 

1 November update:
Parents that apply for compensation for care of sick child will be required to send in a doctor´s certificate if the child is sick for 8 days or more.

If your child gets well before November 1st 2020, you do not have to send in a doctor´s certificate.

If your child is ill even after November 1st you have to have a doctor´s certificate from the 8th day.

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

Doctor’s certificates during the coronavirus situation

1 November update:
Information from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency website:
If your first sick day occurs before November 1st, Försäkringskassan will not require a doctor´s certificate until day 21.

If your first sick day occurs after November 1st, Försäkringskassan will require a doctor´s certificate from day 15.

Normally, you need to show a doctor´s certificate to your employer from the eighth day of your illness. The government has decided that this is not necessary at the moment.

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

28 October update:
As of 1 November, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency will reintroduce the requirement to submit cerificates.

If an household member gets ill

6 October update:
The Public Health Agency of Sweden has released updated guidelines on what to do if a family/household member has tested positive for Covid-19:

If someone in your household has tested positive for Covid-19, everyone in the household, even those without any symptoms, must be contacted by the health services for further instructions. The only exception is children who have not yet started preschool. 

Contact tracing, what does it involve?

11 August update:
Several regions are now refining their processes with respect to contract tracing of covid19. Those who have received a positive test result are contacted by a doctor and asked to list people they have had recent contact with. Primary healthcare providers may also help with this and in some cases completely take over the contact tracing process. Contact in this context means having been within two metres of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.

Note, previous recommendations still stand: if you have the slightest of symptoms, you should stay at home, though as long as you have no symptoms, you should work as usual.

If you fall ill

24 April update:
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.

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.

Questions about travelling, visits and events

Should we welcome visitors/students from abroad?

30 June update
Consider if the visit is neccessary. If so, it must be carried out within the guidelines and recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden. Take also into account the risk of increased anxiety in the work group, and ensure that a risk and impact assessment is made for the visit. 

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.

Will the university or its operations close?

18 June update
As of 15 June, SLU decided that teaching can take place on campus if recommendations and guidelines are followed. 

Questions about working from home

Latest update: 15 May

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.

To work 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.

To hold digital meetings

Advice when holding digital meetings

  1. The meeting leader should ensure that there is a clear purpose for the meeting, as well as that all participants are given an established agenda. The purpose for this is ensuring that the participants have time to prepare what they would like to say.
  2. Before a distance meeting, it is important to clarify any rules – for example that all participants turn off their microphones and subsequently turn them on when they wish to speak (in order to avoid bad sound quality).
  3. Agree on how to take notes during the meeting as well as who is responsible for taking them. By using some tools, the chat window or shared documents can act as the protocol.
  4. Follow the agenda – structure is more important during distance meetings than regular ones.
  5. If any material needs to be shown, it is possible to share a screen during the meeting.
  6. Ensure that the information is transparent and that everyone gets to talk when they wish to say something. Allow one participant to speak at a time, and thank them for their input before the next person speaks/the next item is discussed. Include all participants in a meeting as much as possible.
  7. Remember to be extra clear when necessary, especially when a response is required. Do not assume that everyone heard, kept up with or agree with what was said.
  8. Also consider how communication is conducted during the meeting. This does not just mean to listen to what is said, but also to what is not said such as tone, voice pitch and silence. It is also good to be relatively informal and facilitate spontaneity during virtual meetings.

Also take a look at: Five tips for better digital meetings

Facts:

How is SLU handling the Coronavirus outbreak? 

The university is dealing with the coronavirus weekly 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 here, please 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.

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.


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