Information for students, faculty and staff regarding COVID-19. (Updated: 29 October 2020)

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Questions and answers for staff

Recent updates, last updated on 14 October 2020

(14 October 2020) New structure for the entire FAQ into sections.

(14 October 2020) New questions

  • What do I do if I live with someone who has confirmed COVID-19?
  • I am worried about COVID-19, how should I handle my feelings?
    What do I do if my child has COVID-19?

(14 October 2020) New wordings, links or other revisions

  • I am afraid to come to work because of fear of being infected. Can I work from home?
  • For how long must I stay at home if I have confirmed COVID-19?
  • What should I do if I have a cold or other symptoms of disease?
  • A colleague appears ill, but is still at work. What can I do?
  • For how long are staff supposed to work from home?
  • Do I get paid as usual if I have to work from home?
  • I belong to an at-risk group, what should I do?
  • Is the occupational health care services providing support and help right now?
  • What happens to internal meetings?

Study-administrative questions

Employees who have study-administrative and study-related questions regarding COVID-19 can find out more on Aurora.

Disease and transmission

For how long must I stay at home if I have confirmed COVID-19?

According to the recommendations issued by the Public Health Agency of Sweden, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must stay at home for at least seven days after the first symptoms are shown. If you have taken a COVID test without having any symptoms, the seven days count from the day you took the test. You must also have had two symptom-free days before you can return to work.

If you still have mild symptoms such as a light cough and a runny nose or loss of the sense of taste or smell, but otherwise feel healthy, you can return to work, school, nursery or other activity if at least seven days have passed since falling ill. Updated: 2 October 2020.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden continuously updates their information, please keep informed on the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s web site.

Find out what you can do if you have COVID-19 (1177.se)

Do I, as an employee, need to report to my manager if I have tested positive for COVID-19?

You have no obligation to report to your manager if you have tested positive for COVID-19, but it is still recommended. If you have been at your workplace during the period when you were suspected to be contagious, any potential people you had close contact with will be included in the contact tracing that you are obliged to do with the help of Region Västerbotten. And if that is the case, it is beneficial that your manager is notified of your positive test result in order to better handle any worries colleagues may have. Even if you have not been at your workplace, it could still be beneficial that your manager is informed so that you can get the support you need.

My COVID-19 test results were negative, can I go back to work?

If your test results indicate that you do not carry COVID-19, you can return to work as soon as you are free of symptoms and feel healthy. Please continue to follow the advice from the Swedish authorities.

There is a slight risk that your test was falsely negative, which means that you could still carry COVID-19. Therefore, it is still important that you do not return to work before you are completely healthy.

Source: 1177.se

What must I do if I have a cold or other symptoms of disease?

If you have symptoms of disease – even mild ones – you must stay at home and keep physical distance to others. You should also get tested through Region Västerbotten. Discuss your opportunities to work from home with your manager. When you have been free of any symptoms for two days, you can return to work if you have tasks that require being present at the university.

However, if you are too sick to work, you must report sick leave in PASS.

Find out more about sick leave reimbursements and doctor’s certificates (Aurora)

Find out how to get tested for COVID-19 (1177.se)

Do I need a doctor’s certificate if I am ill?

Temporary routines apply from 13 March 2020 until further notice. If you are ill for longer than seven days, you currently do not need to provide a doctor’s certificate. However, if you are at home with an illness for over 21 days, you need to contact the health care system to obtain a doctor’s certificate and present this to your employer.

Find out more about sick leave reimbursements and doctor’s certificates  (Aurora)

A colleague appears ill, but is still at work. What can I do?

The University follows the advice and recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden, and hence requests everyone with symptoms of disease to stay at home. Such symptoms are even mild symptoms of a cold or the flu, but also other symptoms of disease. All individuals are responsible for taking necessary precautions to reduce the risk of spreading infection. If you are worried, please notify your manager who can address the situation. Please also remember that symptoms can be caused by other factors, such as allergies, for instance.

The Swedish Government has announced that the first unpaid day of sick leave (karensdagen) will be temporarily removed. What does this mean for me as an employee?

Because of COVID-19, the Swedish government has declared to suspend the deduction from sick pay during the qualifying period by paying sickness benefit from the first day of sick leave. This means that all staff get SEK 804 (before tax deductions) on the first day of sickness leave regardless of regular salary. Please note that you have to apply for this sick pay reimbursement (karenspeng) yourself by logging onto Försäkringskassan's website using your Swedish BankID. When applying, you will have to state the organisation number of the University, which is 202100-2874. For sick days before 1 June, the reimbursement is set to SEK 700.

Find out more about reimbursements during sick leave (Aurora)

What do I do if I live with someone who has confirmed COVID-19?

  • If you are healthy enough to work, you are urged to work from home with work tasks that can be performed from home in agreement with your supervisor.
  • If you are healthy enough to work, but cannot work from home, you can remain at home without salary deduction upon showing proof of your status as suspected disease carrier issued by a doctor. Inform your supervisor and submit a doctor’s certificate.
  • If you are looking after a sick child, you are to apply for care of a sick child allowance (vab) from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. This must be reported in PASS.
  • If you are too sick to work, you must report sick leave in PASS.

Doctor’s certificate

In order to be paid salary although you are not working, you must provide proof of your status as suspected disease carrier in the form of a doctor’s certificate from the contact tracer or county medical officer. This certificate must be issued from the first day and indicate that you are not allowed to go to work because of the risk of spreading infection.

Disease carrier allowance

As a member of staff at Umeå University, you cannot apply for disease carrier allowance from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency since you do not miss out on any income when you are absent from work as a suspected disease carrier. This is according to an agreement – entered into between the Swedish Agency for Government Employees and the employee organisations – which states that no salary deduction is to be made when an employee is absent due to being a confirmed or suspected disease carrier according to the Communicable Diseases Act (Smittskyddslagen).

The above is a consequence of the recommendations the Public Health Agency of Sweden issued on 1 October 2020.

Find out more about Working when close relations have confirmed COVID-19 (Aurora)

Working from home

For how long are staff supposed to work from home?

According to the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s guidelines and general advice, valid until 31 December 2020, employees should make sure that staff work from home whenever possible.

The University hence continues to urge its staff, in agreement with their manager, to work fully or partially from home with tasks that can be carried out remotely. And staff that need to work at their workplace must follow the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s guidelines and general advice. This means, for instance, that employees who experience symptoms – even mild ones – must stay at home and avoid social contacts.

Do I get paid as usual if I have to work from home?

Yes, since you are working.

If your work tasks are not suitable for work at home, you are still entitled to full salary without salary deduction for up to 14 days if you are forced to stay at home due to mild symptoms of disease or because someone you live with has been infected by COVID-19. However, if you are too sick to work, you must report sick.

I am afraid to come to work because of fear of being infected. Can I work from home?

The University continues to urge its staff, in agreement with their managers, to work fully or partially from home with tasks that can be carried out remotely.

Does the work injury insurance apply if I work from home?

Unlike working at the workplace, injuries at home need to be directly linked to the work you are conducting. This means that you must have injured yourself whilst performing your work tasks.

Examples of this is if you

  • trip over the power cord to your laptop
  • are sat at your computer answering work-related emails
  • are sat at your computer talking to a colleague/customer on the phone
  • are walking around at home while having a work-related phone call on your work phone
  • are travelling between home and work for a customer meeting
  • are travelling to work to collect equipment, phones or letters
  • are having a walk-and-talk meeting as long as the employer has approved this.

However, the insurance does not cover other types of general accidents in the home. If you, for instance, hurt yourself when making a cup of coffee in the kitchen, it does not count as a workplace accident, even if it happens during established working hours.

Read more about your insurance coverage on Aurora

Read more about the insurance at AFA Insurance, in Swedish: Så fungerar försäkringen vid Arbetsskada

Am I allowed to take my computer screen home with me if I work from home?

You are allowed to take your work’s computer screen home if you are working from home, but only if your manager approves.

How should I transport it?

You must see to the transportation yourself. If necessary, please ask a colleague for help.

What happens if the screen breaks?

If the screen would break, the employer is responsible for covering the costs, under the condition that reasonable caution was taken.

What happens regarding insurance if my work computer, phone or other equipment should catch fire and cause damage to my home when I work from home?

Your home insurance should cover any potential damage that a burning phone could cause to your home. Your work computer and phone are included in the University's insurances coverage. However, the university’s excess fees are very high, which means that computers and phones should be treated as uninsured property.

Tools for online teaching and collaboration

What online teaching and virtual meeting tools does the University recommend?

A new page aimed at staff listing what alternative technical solutions the university recommends for online teaching and virtual meetings has been set up and is available in English and Swedish.

Read more about online teaching

Read more about virtual meetings

Worry and support

I am worried about COVID-19, how should I handle my feelings?

We all react differently during difficult times. Feelings of stress, anxiety, or fear are natural responses to a crisis. If you feel very worried or have problems sleeping, there are some things you can try to do which might help you cope with your feelings:

  • Talk to friends or family about your feelings and don’t hesitate to ask them for support.
  • Use reliable sources of information about COVID-19.
  • Limit the time you spend reading news and social media.
  • Keep your daily routines as much as possible, and do things you find enjoyable and relaxing.
  • Try to get fresh air, and stay physically active.

The WHO also provides advice on how to cope with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak (World Health Organization)

Contact the university’s occupational health care services (Aurora)

There are others who offer support too. Find out more on 1177.se.

Source: the Public Health Agency of Sweden

I belong to an at-risk group, what should I do?

Employees who belong to at-risk groups based on illness, are requested to contact their manager for discussions.

All employees over the age of 70 are urged to follow the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden and limit their contacts with others, and hence avoid visiting the university’s campuses and workplaces.

Also, please find out more about what actions the University are taking on Managing COVID-19 related risks and anxiety as campus-based education is resumed (Aurora).

Is the occupational health care services providing support and help right now?

Yes, please contact Feelgood.

Read more about the occupational health care services on Aurora

Meetings

What happens to internal meetings?

Physical meetings must be exchanged for alternative solutions to the extent possible. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has produced a guide to risk assessments due to COVID-19 that can be useful when planning a meeting (available in Swedish only). Riskbedömning av evenemang och sammankomster med anledning av covid-19

Restrictiveness and caution must be taken when considering holding planning days and internal conferences. If any such are organised, the directives and general advice of the Public Health Agency of Sweden must be adhered to.

Parents and children

What do I do if my child has COVID-19?

If your child is sick or a carrier, you may be eligible to apply for care of a sick child allowance (VAB) from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. Since 1 October, new recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden apply that say that if you live with someone with COVID-19, you must follow certain rules of conduct.

Read more about this on Working when close relations have confirmed COVID-19 (Aurora)

My child’s nursery or school is closed. What do I do as an employee and guardian?

The first thing you must do is come to an agreement about working from home with your manager. If this is not possible, the employee, in agreement with the manager, can stay at home without salary deduction until the nursery or school has opened, but only for a maximum of 14 days.

Clinical work

I have a combined clinical employment – what happens to me?

Read more on Covid-19-information till medarbetare med kliniska kombinationsanställningar

Contact the University's COVID management team

Please contact the University using corona@umu.se with all questions related to COVID-19 within all university areas – research, education and collaboration included.

Contact the University's COVID management team

Please contact the University using corona@umu.se with all questions related to COVID-19 within all university areas – research, education and collaboration included.