COVID-19 frequently asked questions on the allocation of alternative duties/work.

Frequently asked questions

1. My member of staff is currently working from home but is not currently in a priority role, I have asked that they carry out alternative priority duties/work. My member of staff is not happy with this request, what should I do?

During these exceptional circumstances it is for individual Departments to decide which areas of work are priority and to ensure that these areas of work are adequately resourced.

On this basis, if your member of staff’s current role is not priority, then it is entirely reasonable and appropriate for you to ask them to carry out alternative priority duties/work, as long as you ensure that they continue to receive suitable direction, support, training and equipment as appropriate. If this is required it would be useful to put in place an agreed support/training plan.  

If your member of staff can carry out these alternative priority duties/work, at home then they must do so. Where the alternative priority duties/work, absolutely cannot be done from home, they will be required to attend at the workplace to carry out priority work while observing the social distancing measures in place for travelling to and from work and while in the workplace.

It’s important that if your member of staff has to attend the work place that you advise your Head of Branch of those arrangements. This will ensure and that the social distancing protocols for all staff that have to attend the work place to carry out priority work are met.   

Should your member of your staff refuse to comply with a management request to carry out alternative priority duties/work, you should discuss this with them to better understand their reasons for refusal, in order to work with them to seek a solution.  Your member of staff may also decide to involve their TUS representative to support them in these discussions.

It’s important that all avenues to resolve points of disagreement are explored thoroughly by you and your member of staff.  Where agreement cannot be reached or where a member of staff cannot provide an appropriate justification, the Department may choose to treat such an intentional refusal to carry out a reasonable management request as a disciplinary matter.

2. My line manager has asked me to carry out alternative priority duties/work which are/is not part of my regular duties, I am not happy with this arrangement, what should I do?

During these exceptional circumstances it is for individual Departments to decide which areas of work are priority and to ensure that these areas of work are adequately resourced.

On this basis, it is entirely reasonable and appropriate for your line manager to ask you to carry out alternative priority duties/work, as long as you continue to receive suitable direction, support, training and equipment as appropriate. You should discuss your training and support needs with your line manager and, if appropriate, agree a plan.

If you can carry out these alternative priority duties/work, at home then you must do so. Where the priority duties/work absolutely cannot be done from home, you will be required to attend at the workplace while observing the social distancing measures in place for travelling to and from work and while in the workplace.

If you believe you are unable to carry out these alternative priority duties/work, you should discuss your reasons and justification with your line manager so that they have a clear understanding of your reasons in order to work with you to seek a solution.  You may involve your TUS representative to support you in these discussions.

Please see final paragraph of FAQ 1.

3. My member of staff’s regular duties/work cannot be carried out at home and I have asked that they carry out alternative duties/work within the Department at home. My member of staff is not happy with this request, what should I do?

During these exceptional circumstances it is entirely reasonable and appropriate for you to ask a member of staff to carry out alternative duties/work, which can be undertaken at home as long as they continue to receive suitable direction, support, training and equipment as appropriate. If this is required it would be useful to put in place an agreed support/training plan.

It’s important that if your member of staff has to attend the work place that you advise your Head of Branch of those arrangements. This will ensure and that the social distancing protocols for all staff that have to attend the work place to carry out priority work are met.   

Should your member of staff refuse to comply with a management request to carry out alternative duties/work, you should discuss this with them to better understand their reasons for refusal, in order to work with them to seek a solution.  Your member of staff may also decide to involve their TUS representative to support them in these discussions.

Please see final paragraph of FAQ 1.

4. My member of staff is currently undertaking regular duties/work at home, I have asked that they carry out alternative higher priority duties/work within the Department at home. My member of staff is not happy with this request, what should I do?

During these exceptional circumstances it is entirely reasonable and appropriate for you to ask a member of staff to carry out alternative duties/work which have been assessed as higher priority than those duties/work which they are currently undertaking at home, as long as they continue to receive suitable direction, support, training and equipment as appropriate. If this is required it would be useful to put in place an agreed support/training plan.

It’s important that if your member of staff has to attend the work place that you advise your Head of Branch of those arrangements. This will ensure and that the social distancing protocols for all staff that have to attend the work place to carry out priority work are met.   

Should your member of staff refuse to comply with a management request to carry out these alternative duties/work, you should discuss this with them to better understand their reasons for refusal, in order to work with them to seek a solution.  Your member of staff may also decide to involve their TUS representative to support them in these discussions.

Please see final paragraph of FAQ 1.

5. My line manager has asked me to carry out alternative duties/work within the Department at home which are not part of my regular duties/work, I am not happy with this arrangement what should I do?

During these exceptional circumstances it is entirely reasonable and appropriate for your line manager to ask you to carry out alternative duties/work at home, as long as you continue to receive suitable direction, support, training and equipment as appropriate. You should discuss your training and support needs with your line manager and, if appropriate, agree a plan.

If you refuse to carry out alternative duties/work, you should discuss your reasons and justification with your line manager so that they have a clear understanding of your reasons in order to work with you to seek a solution.  You may involve your TUS representative to support you in these discussions.

Please see final paragraph of FAQ 1.

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