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Seasonal mixed messages

As ias mentioned yesterday, we've been told that the University is going to be closed on Monday (the Highways Agency have nabbed our grit, so campus is likely to be pretty treacherous). The mail from the Registrar read as follows:

Please be aware that the University will be closed on Monday 11 January. This decision has been taken, due to safety concerns arising from a depleted supply of grit. [...] Please be assured staff will not lose any pay or leave as a result of this closure day.

On the other hand, the mail from my Head of School read:

The University is officially closed on Monday [...] the strong advice is to stay away on Monday and work from home.

The usual practice for University closure days, which are typically public holidays but also include the period between Xmas and New Year, is that there is no expectation that staff should be working (at home or otherwise). Why should this be different?

I also overheard some Estates staff talking outside the Nursery when I picked the garklet up yesterday - apparently, they were sent home on Wednesday. This clearly explains why many of the paths around campus (particularly the steep paths between Physics/Geography and the rest of campus) hadn't been gritted on Thursday morning when I was struggling to get across campus for a 0900 lecture.

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Well, I read that as "if you can't work, don't worry, we won't dock your pay or leave allowance". It's a legit concern since some companies *are* doing exactly that.

That said, if you work in a job that is possible to do from home, there's no need to get behind on it just because you can't get to your office. I see no contradiction. If you get interrupted by the garklet and not by undergrads, it will feel all the more familiar.

If we had been busy the days I was stuck at home, I'd have been hard at it all day. As it was, I edited one piece, and got a lot of my home stuff dealt with. Nice for me, but actually, not the reason they sent me home.


The Uni's policy is clear that if staff can't get into work they have to work from home, if possible, or take a day's leave. That is completely different to being told not to come into work and the words 'closure day' being used.

Weekends are not closure days and in fact the library is staffed and open this weekend. However Closure Days are defined in everyone's contracts as paid holidays in addition to the annual leave allowance. If a member of staff has to work on a closure day (as can happen, e.g. feeding the animals in the animal house, backing up machines etc) then they can claim additional holiday in lieu.

Thus there is a huge discrepancy between the Registrar saying it is a closure day and thus staff can spend it how they like and Nick's Head of School telling people to work from home.

If there is an official definition of a "closure day" then that makes a difference.

I wonder if either the Registrar or the Head of School thought about the terminology used.


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