Latest update: 15 May
Can occupational health services offer testing for Covid-19 for specific groups/employees if needed?
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.
An employee has been ill for a week – do they need to submit a doctor's certificate now?
6 April update
Doctor’s certificates are no longer required from day eight. If a employee is ill, they can stay home for up to 21 days without having to submit a doctor’s certificate. This includes all illnesses, not just Covid-19, and applies from 27 March 2020 until further notice. Read more: Illness or home caring for a sick child (VAB) during the coronavirus situation
An employee needs to stay home and take care of their children because the preschool/school is closed. Do they have the right to take leave? If so, do they have the right to receive salary?
15 May update:
As of 25 April, employees can be reimbursed if the preschool or school is closed because of Covid-19, even if the child is not ill or carries 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 applies 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.
One of our employees is infected. Should the Act on Sickness Payments (1991:1047) regulations on qualifying deductions be applied?
30 March update
If the manager, following contact with the employee, assesses that their ability to work has lessened due to infection, the regulations in the act apply fully, and the employee should take sick leave. The government has proposed to cancel qualifying days and compulsory doctor’s certificates for the first 14 days. Read more: Illness or home caring for a sick child (VAB) during the coronavirus situation
If the infection does not affect an employee’s ability to work, they may receive a quarantine allowance in accordance with the “Villkorsavtal” documents. In order for the collective bargaining agreement regulations to apply, a responsible doctor, doctor specialising in disease control or equivalent must certify treatment.
We have employees who have been diagnosed with or are assumed to have the coronavirus. Can I tell other employees at the department/division who they are?
1 April update:
Information regarding an employee’s health may be restricted if it can be assumed that the employee or close relative would suffer should the information come out. Therefore, information regarding an employee’s health must be assessed in each case. One solution can be to ask the sick person if it is okay to tell others.
A person in an employee’s household has the coronavirus. Should the employee go to work anyway?
15 May update:
SLU has assessed that someone with no symptoms and who is not part of an at-risk group can carry out their regular duties. The employee can work from home to the extent that their line manager decides possible given their tasks and work environment. You and the employee need to agree which measures are needed to guarantee a satisfactory work environment. See below for general advice for those responsible for employees during the coronavirus situation and before an employee starts working from home.
An employee is worried about infection and therefore does not want to come to work. What applies?
15 May update:
The employee can work from home to the extent that their line manager decides possible given their tasks and work environment. You and the employee need to agree which measures are needed to guarantee a satisfactory work environment. If they cannot work from home, you can assign them other duties similar to their current ones. If this is not possible, the employee can take holiday leave, a leave of absence without pay or, when possible, parental leave. Employees cannot choose to stay home and still receive a salary. That counts as unlawful absence.
An employee is currently receiving medical treatment and their immune system is weakened, but they are not 100 per cent on sick leave. How should this be handled?
6 April update:
Employees who for example are receiving cancer treatment or who have serious underlying illnesses can work from home to the extent that their immediate manager decides possible in relation to operations and work environment. If this does not work, try adjusting their duties in order to minimise social interaction, or review the organisation of their working hours. Another option is that the employee takes holiday leave or a leave of absence without salary. Immediate managers must make individual assessments.
An employee is very ill. What should I as manager do and what support is available to me?
6 April update:
SLU has guidelines for handling grief in case of death or severe illness that include practical advice. Feel free to contact your human resources officer.
Should those who are symptom-free still work from home?
30 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. The employee should work at home to the extent that their immediate manager decides possible in relation to operations and work environment. See the general advice for those responsible for employees during the coronavirus situation and before an employee starts working from home.
What should managers do if some staff have too much work and others not enough because of the coronavirus?
8 April update:
The employer has noted the work environment for SLU teachers and how course budgets are affected when courses are redesigned or cancelled. Saco has also discussed the issue with SLU’s management.
Heads of department/managers responsible for the work environment have the right to redistribute work and are encouraged to re-staff from research and doctoral education to first- and second-cycle level education in order to support teaching. Allocations of funding may be adjusted at a later date. Currently, there will be no more government funds. Therefore, the message is: adapt. Do not cancel. For example, course budgets are affected by unused premises, and rents will discontinue during the spring, providing surplus for other purchases or possible ordered overtime.
Many conferences and other events have been cancelled, which provides time (increased resources) within the research field.
The Swedish Agency for Government Employers has signalled that the university may conduct tougher management during a crisis. This may even take the form of lending staff to other public authorities.
For more information, turn to your HR specialist.
Is it possible that the whole workplace will be quarantined? Can we close operations to avoid spreading the infection?
18 March update
There may be situations when it will be relevant to close certain operations to avoid further spreading. However, the starting point is that all operations will continue to run. SLU does not have the right to decide on quarantine, isolation and lockdown issues. Instead, they are regulated in “Smittskyddslagen” (the disease control act) as well as by the Public Health Agency of Sweden and doctors specialising in disease control.
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.
The pandemic may affect the education of doctoral students, can it lead to an extension of the period of study?
17 April update:
As a principal supervisor you should, using the individual study plan and together with the doctoral student, assess any consequences for the planned period of study and make a short written summary of the problems that arise and any changes you make to the plan. In some cases, the necessary changes may involve extending the period of study. The Higher Education Ordinance (Chap 6 Section 29) allows for an extension of the period of study if there are special grounds for doing so, e.g. leave of absence because of illness, to take up an elected position in a trade union or student organisation, or parental leave. The Covid-19 pandemic also counts as a special ground. The period of employment for a doctoral student may be extended if there are special grounds for doing so (Higher Education Ordinance Chap 5 Section 7). How long this extension can be depends on the individual doctoral student’s thesis work.
For more information and advice, contact your HR specialist.
According to the agreement on fixed-term employment as a post-doc, a post-doc may be employed for an indefinite period – but no more than two years. If there are special reasons such as illness, parental leave or other similar circumstances, the employment may be extended. Due to the spread of covid-19, can we apply "other similar circumstances" to extend the employment?
8 April update
Extension is possible if personal research is affected negatively due to the coronavirus.
To discuss this matter further, contact your human resources officer.
In order to cover for those who have taken sick leave during the ongoing pandemic, we need to increase teaching hours from the maximum 20 per cent regulated in "Avtal om tidsbegränsad anställning som postdoktor" (agreement on fixed-term employment as a post-doc, "the post-doc agreement" – only in Swedish) as well as the part on doctoral student in the Higher Education Ordinance. Is this possible?
8 April update
Assessments concerning whether doctoral students or post-docs have worked more than the maximum 20 per cent must take the entire period of employment into consideration. This means that a doctoral student or post-doc can take on more teaching assignments during certain periods, as long as the 20 per cent is not exceeded in relation to the whole period of employment.
An employee on a business trip cannot come home due to the coronavirus. What should I do?
Salary deductions are not allowed, and the employee has the right to a subsistence allowance in accordance with current agreements. Keep in touch with the employee during the period they are stranded.
We have an employee who cannot travel home because they have been quarantined at their hotel. Are we obligated to pay salary as usual?
SLU has a generous approach that assumes that employees follow the current recommendations when the trip begins. If you travel to a country where the virus is, it may involve losing salary. Individual assessments are made in such cases.
We have an employee who has come home from a country affected by the virus. Can we manage and divide the work in such a way that allows them to work from home?
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.
We have an employee who has come from a country affected by the virus. Based on the operational conditions, it is not possible to work from home. The employee seems healthy. However, for work environment reasons, we do not want them to come to work. Can we stop them from coming in?
30 March update
Persons who are symptom-free should return to work as usual. If a manager assesses that an employee should not come to work for work environment reasons, despite them being symptom-free, the employee has the right to their full salary. If the employee can provide a doctor’s certificate that states they may be infected, they may be reimbursed through a quarantine allowance. In such cases, it is up to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency to handle the matter.
Despite the fact that expert bodies have recommended that people do not travel to a country or region due to the coronavirus, an employee has gone on holiday to such a location. When they return, based on expert recommendations, I as manager do not want them to come to work. It is not possible for them to work from home. Do they have the right to receive salary?
By travelling to such an area and going against public authority recommendations, the employee will have to face the consequences of their decision. Therefore, they do not have the right to keep receiving salary. Although, they can take holiday leave or go on a leave of absence without pay. However, managers should communicate this to the employee before they depart on their trip.
If the employee can provide a doctor's certificate that states they may be infected, they may be reimbursed through a quarantine allowance. In such cases, it is up to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency to handle the matter.
An employee does not want to come to work due to the fact that they have colleagues who have been to an affected country. Is this type of absence allowed?
Fear of infection is not a reason to stay at home – it counts as unlawful absence. However, if there are special reasons, they can come to an agreement with their manager.