Can staff have time for Christmas lunches?

QUESTION:

Is it acceptable to have a slighter longer Lunch break to allow for a Christmas Lunch with colleagues?

ANSWER:

Generally, it is recognised that Faculties and Services have a Christmas lunch arranged with colleagues at this time of the year. The timing of this may extend beyond a normal lunch break and will be dependent on a number of factors such as location of the restaurant, service and travel arrangements. It is therefore not possible to be specific in response to your question. Any detailed queries relating to your area of work and your plans for Christmas lunch should be discussed with your line manager in the first instance.

What was the Christmas closure consultation process?

QUESTION:

The consultation process resulting in the decision to close for one or two extra days around the Christmas period was very much a divide-and-conquer exercise: members of staff were unable to see the comments made by colleagues, which meant that individuals did not know if they were expressing a minority view or a majority view.

To make this process more transparent, will Executive now publish the comments made during the consultation period?

ANSWER:

Thank you for your question regarding the consultation process for the changes to the Christmas closure arrangements. Consultation commenced on 22 May 2014 with UNISON, UCU and with all staff.

UNISON balloted members on the proposal and received a 65% vote in favour of the changes. UCU reported that they had received feedback from approximately 30 members, 21 of whom were against the proposal and 9 were in agreement.

The general feedback received during the consultation period from staff effectively mirrored the union feedback with professional support staff generally supportive of the proposed change and academic staff less so. We then weighed up the feedback received with the original proposal. Whilst a number of concerns were noted, it was felt that this did not go to the heart of why the proposal had been made and as a consequence, following discussions with the Unions we recommended to Executive that the proposal proceed. Executive as part of their decision making were informed of the feedback from staff and unions and following discussions there, the proposal was approved.

When will December pay day be?

QUESTION:
Hello

Please could you confirm the date of pay-day in December. Will it be the 18th Dec (the last working Wednesday of the month) or some other date (which reduces the day time gap between December and January pay days)?

Thanks

 
ANSWER:
Staff would normally be paid on the last Wednesday of the month, however, as this would fall on Christmas Day itself, the University has decided to bring this forward to Friday 20 December.

Is working from home allowed leading up to Christmas?

QUESTION:
Am I right in thinking that ‘working from home’ is now not allowed during the two weeks leading up to Christmas?

If so, how will the University ensure that everyone complies and books any days off work as leave?

ANSWER:
There are no restrictions in place regarding ‘working from home’ during the two weeks leading up to Christmas and normal approval protocols apply.

We have explained in an earlier response that we would not anticipate Faculties/Services approving ‘working from home’ on Christmas Eve. Anyone who has not booked leave on this day will be required to attend the University to provide appropriate cover.

Are Christmas angel decorations banned on campus?

QUESTION:
I would like to Ask Exec if there is an official position regarding appropriate Christmas decorations?

There is a disruptive rumour doing the rounds that staff are not permitted to use angels to decorate Christmas trees in offices and foyers around the University. On the surface it may seem very daft or petty, but it also has the potential to cause a lot of serious upset.

I suspect this may be at best a simple misunderstanding; hopefully not someone with an axe to grind causing mischief.

Could we please cut through the rumour mill and get an official clarification on the position?

Thanks.

 
ANSWER:
Thank you for your query regarding Christmas decorations.
The University doesn’t have a formal policy regarding Christmas decorations but allows staff and students to decorate their areas of work in a way that is appropriate for any particular religious or cultural festival. For Christmas this would of course include angels.
Happy Christmas!

Please could the Christmas Eve situation be clarified?

QUESTION:
Please could the Christmas Eve situation be clarified?

Will those staff whose roles allow them to work from home be able to do so on Christmas Eve? Isn’t this situation similar to those of strike action – either staff are required to book leave or they must come into office? Surely this isn’t deemed to be fair to those staff who are unable to work from home?

Is the point that staff have to do their working hours e.g. 7.5, which could in effect be carried out 7am to 3pm? Or is it that all offices/services etc have to be available from 9am to 5pm?

 
ANSWER:
Christmas Eve is a normal working day for the University. For staff working on this day it will be business as usual and for staff wishing to take leave, this will be based on a full day’s leave for this day. We would not anticipate that Faculties/Services would approve changes to working patterns or ‘working from home’ on this day as anyone who has not booked leave will be required to attend the University on that day to provide appropriate cover.

As in previous years, Faculties/Services will determine what reasonable staffing levels are appropriate for their area on this day and wherever possible allow others who wish to take this day as annual leave to do so.

Why is the Carol Service not held on a Wednesday afternoon?

QUESTION:

I’d like to enquire as to why the carol service was advertised so late, just a week before the event on the 6th. Was it not going to take place? I’d also like to ask why it can’t be fixed much earlier in the calendar on a Wednesday afternoon (perhaps fixing the date as the last Wednesday afternoon of the teaching term), so that people like me, who would otherwise be teaching, can actually attend.

ANSWER:

The traditional Christmas Carol Service is a corporate event and while we do our best to hold it at the convenience of all staff and students, consideration must be given to the availability of the Vice-Chancellor, Students’ Union President, University Chaplains, together with the availability of Stoke Minster.

We realise that not everyone can attend the service and therefore will consider your suggestions when planning next year’s carol service.

As in previous years, both Christmas carol services have been advertised around campus with a poster campaign and information has been sent out to Deans and Directors of Service in which to filter down to members of staff. This year with our additional electronic communication tools, such as the RSS channels, IS icon on staff PCs and plasma information screens around campus, we hope to have reached as many staff and students as possible at this seasonal time.