Wellbeing Day, Recharge Weeks and changes to Carer’s Leave entitlements have been implemented to allow increased support for staff doing lockdown.
Further extension to lockdown until the end of September and the tighter COVID-19 restrictions introduced last week have been difficult news to receive.
The pandemic has affected everyone in different ways and UNSW’s leadership recognises that this enduring lockdown, while necessary, is taking a toll on the health and wellbeing of our staff. Many colleagues are working increasingly long hours from home, while others are juggling the demands of their work with the added pressure of needing to home school or provide care and support for other family members. Some in our community may be feeling increasingly isolated and anxious, especially those who live alone.
Many staff are supporting students as they navigate not only the challenges of learning remotely but also the social impact of the lockdown.
We are very grateful for the continued resilience and commitment of our staff to the University and its students during this increasingly difficult time.
To help alleviate the pressures the following measures have been introduced:
- Access to accrued carer’s leave entitlement for one day (or seven hours) per week for the purposes of childcare or to support home schooling. This will be reviewed at the end of September when information about current restrictions is updated.
- A University-wide staff Wellbeing Day. This will be an additional day of leave for all University staff. We encourage as many staff as possible to take this day on Friday 3 September given the timing of term break. Staff who cannot, due to existing commitments, take 3 September as leave, may take another day of their choosing before the end of the year.
- Recharge Weeks to be held from 6 – 10 September and again from 18 – 24 October. During Recharge Weeks we ask staff to reduce meetings and emails, as much as is practicable, as a way of providing some breathing space for yourselves and colleagues. Recharge Week is still a working week, however with reduced email traffic and meetings. We also encourage taking some annual leave during this time.
We recognise that for some teams and individuals these dates may not be a suitable time to reduce meetings and email traffic, and those teams are encouraged to work together to determine the most suitable time for them to take their Recharge Week(s) between now and the end of the year.
For staff in Canberra, a ‘soft shutdown’ has been scheduled from 28 August – 12 September which is akin to Recharge Week.
More information on these, and other wellbeing measures, can be found here on the HR Hub.
We hope that these steps provide some additional support to you and your families.
We’d also like to remind you that UNSW staff and their families have access to our Employee Assistance Program – a free confidential counselling, coaching and wellbeing service to help you manage work and life experiences, issues or concerns.
COVID-19 leave arrangements are available for staff directly affected by the pandemic including those who test positive to COVID-19 or are required to self-isolate.
We thank you all for everything you are doing to ensure the continued operation of the University and education of our students, and for helping to keep us all safe.