Staff at Heriot-Watt campuses in the UK, Dubai and Malaysia are to receive an extra day off in April, in recognition of the extra demands placed on the institution by the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
The additional “university closed day” will not count against annual leave and is intended to give colleagues the opportunity to focus on the wellbeing of themselves and their loved ones.
In the UK, the Rest day has been designated on Tuesday 14th April and extends the traditional Easter bank holiday weekend by an additional day to allow most UK staff a 5-day break away from work. Colleagues in Dubai will take a similar rest day on Sunday 12th April and for colleagues in Malaysia this will be taken on Monday 13th April.
Announcing the additional leave, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Prof Richard Williams told staff, "I am truly grateful for the way in which you have adapted to the significant disruption of this COVID-19 outbreak and for the support we have been providing to each other and our student community. We are facing extra pressures on both our personal and working lives and I know many of you have found yourselves working additional hours and having to juggle home and work responsibilities in an unprecedented way.
"I would like to thank you for your efforts in helping the University meet the enormous challenge of responding to this outbreak and I hope you will be able to enjoy this additional downtime despite the constraints we are all facing on travel and social interaction."
A number of colleagues are engaged in important work to maintain essential services. This is particularly the case in Edinburgh, where core staff are supporting the security and wellbeing of several hundred students who remain in residences on campus. They will be credited with an additional day of leave to be taken at a time agreed with their manager, ideally before the end of April 2020. This will also apply to anyone who has already booked this day as leave, as well as part-time workers who should take off 20% of their normal working week rounded up to the nearest hour. There is no need to log this in the iHR system.