Instruction for employees

last modification: 14.10.2020 / 2:00 pm

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is challenging OVGU employees and brings with it particular burdens. It is therefore important that all players in the individual areas treat each other in a spirit of solidarity and fairness and find solutions together wherever possible. In this sense, the university management appeals to all employees to adapt their behaviour to the special circumstances and to master everyday business with a sense of proportion and the necessary sensitivity.

Here you will find the current OVGU instructions, adapted to the current Containment Ordinance of the State of Saxony-Anhalt.

FAQ for employees

Note: The list of the most important and frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Corona pandemic is not exhaustive and will be updated as necessary.

Which hygiene regulations currently apply at the OVGU?

The hygiene measures that have been announced since the beginning of the pandemic still apply. These include:

  • Maintaining a minimum distance of 1.50 metres
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Regular ventilation in closed rooms
  • Cough and sneeze label
  • Abstention from shaking hands and hugs
  • Wearing of mouth and nose coverings suitable for everyday use in all public buildings

It is still recommended that patients with symptoms of infection be isolated in their own homes. If it cannot be ruled out that those affected have been infected with the corona virus, a test should always be carried out in cases of doubt (fever centre). Those affected and their superiors can decide on their own responsibility what measures are to be taken. An example of a differentiated approach is, for example, a known allergy that regularly manifests itself through snuff-like symptoms (hay fever). In such cases, it must be jointly agreed which measures are appropriate.

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Where can I get support in questions of hygiene?

The OVGU offers its employees additional voluntary occupational health care. In addition, the company doctor provides individual advice on work-related health risks. Pre-existing conditions and fears can also be discussed here.

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Where can I get disinfectants and mouth-nose covers if necessary?

 

If necessary, the Department of Occupational Safety and Environmental Protection (K43) will provide hand disinfectants for attendance at face-to-face events. In this context, reference is made to the corresponding safety data sheets (SDB) and the operating instructions prepared by K43 for the use, storage and transport of disinfectants.

If required, disposable gloves as well as mouth-nose covers are also provided by the Department of Occupational Safety and Environmental Protection (K43) for participation in face-to-face events.

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Does the obligation to work no longer apply if I depend on public transport and cannot or do not wish to use it?

No, commuting to work is part of the private sphere. Here, all possibilities for flexibility must be examined. If the working hours are recorded, overtime hours can be reduced or undertime can be built up. Leave can be granted, if necessary, also unpaid. Mobile work is to be examined.

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Will I be released from work if I have to look after my children due to the closure of their day care center or school?

If communal facilities such as day-care centres or schools are closed as a result of COVID-19, staff members may be absent from university for a maximum of 30 days in 2020, unless there is no other possibility of care or the possibility of home office, provided that

  • children under 12 years of age affected by the closure
  • a suitable proof of school closure is presented to the supervisor
  • another caregiver is not available.

The number of 30 working days is reduced if less than 5 days a week are worked regularly.

From the point of view of maintaining service operations, it is assumed that this possibility is handled in a responsible manner. Since the number of days is limited, it is in both sides' interest to consider home office or shifting working hours. The days do not have to be taken in one go. In particular, the combination of time off work, home office or other organisational arrangements such as staggered working hours can help employees to secure childcare for the entire period of school closure. The coordination takes place with the supervisor.

The documentation is done decentrally on the leave or stamp cards. The Human Resources Department must be informed of the arrangements made in summarized form afterwards.

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What should employees do who have to take care of family members due to the closure of other facilities?

Unfortunately, the rule that applies to childcare cannot be applied in this case. The provisions of the German Care Act apply here. It is essential that this matter be coordinated with the Department of Human Resources.

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Can I be assigned tasks that are not part of my normal duties?

Yes, this is possible in times of increased sick leave. Also in this case there is no right to refuse benefits. Decisions are made by the supervisor in consultation with the employees.

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What do the other restrictions mean for the transfer of work tasks?

We still have an exceptional situation which is intended to reconcile the maintenance of service operations, the greatest possible protection of employees and the enabling of family obligations, e.g. through school closures.

If the regulations which are valid with immediate effect are complied with (at least 1.5 metres distance, if possible work at individual workplaces or no cooperation of more than 2 employees), all work tasks can be carried out at the company workplace. In order to keep the contacts as small as possible, offset service or home office can also be arranged.

Home office cannot be granted if the conditions for this are not met (see service instructions of August 3rd, 2020)

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How is the presence in security areas regulated?

Presence in security restricted areas (prohibition of working alone, absence of staff with specific authorizations)

  • Compliance with hygiene rules
  • Consider closure if this can no longer be guaranteed
  • Consideration of operational safety
  • Establishment of an emergency plan and a reporting chain
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How is the recording of working time dealt with during the time of a basic operation?

According to the regulations in force at the OVGU, scientists have confidential working hours. For non-scientific personnel, working hours are regulated in the service agreement on working time regulations within the framework of the 40-hour week and flexible working hours as well as regulations on flexibility within the framework of part-time employment contracts at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (without MED). This is based on the assumption that working hours are recorded using a time clock.

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Who gets knowledge of the private telephone number?

Number redirection has its limits if the telecommunication network of the University of Magdeburg fails or other circumstances prevent access to the redirection. Therefore it is essential that employees leave their private number in the secretary's office so that they can be reached quickly under certain circumstances and can be informed immediately about new developments and orders. In the departments, the telephone numbers of all employees must be stored in a protected area.

Telephone numbers which are required by the department for on-call service, the maintenance of core processes or a reporting chain to be established for an emergency or disaster situation are to be made known at the appropriate offices (deaneries, rectorate, chancellor and heads of central institutions). In addition, the departments will send private telephone numbers to the chancellor (kanzler@ovgu.de) so that the heads of the departments can be reached. Since under the present circumstances it must be expected that reporting chains will be interrupted, there is a justified interest on the part of the service in recording private numbers at higher levels.

If this situation is no longer given, numbers which are no longer needed in order to ensure permanent availability must be deleted.

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What is the procedure if employees belong to a risk group?

Certain groups of people are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease.

The following has been defined:

Membership of a so-called risk group and any protective measures taken by the employer or the employer's staff must be determined in each individual case on application by the company medical service. Within the scope of the recommendation of the company medical service, employees are subject to compulsory service. The relevant deployment is regulated as usual by the supervisor.

  • Mobile work should be examined
  • Transferred service, minimization of official contacts
  • Limitation of consultation hours
  • Compliance with hygiene regulations
  • Granting of vacation, reduction of overtime hours, building up of minus times, unpaid vacation in consideration of the official interests

 Pregnant women should be especially protected. The employment of pregnant women as lecturers is on a voluntary basis in accordance with the risk assessment and the recommendations of the company medical service.

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What duties must supervisors perform?

It is expected from supervisors that they consider maintaining operations to be their highest priority.

Decisions regarding the agreement to work from home must be fact-based. Differences that objectively exist between employees but which are not subjectively apparent must be communicated.

General decisions that were made without observing the minimum standards must be revised, leave of absence for longer than 14 days without performing any work is not permitted.

The university is aware that this situation, which is both unpredictable and very worrying for many employees, poses a particular challenge for supervisors. They should fulfil their role model function and help to stabilize the situation by being present and accessible.

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Can approved leave be taken?

Applied for and approved leave should be taken according to plan so that you do not fall behind at the end of the compensation period (September 30st, 2020) for leave from the previous year or when the current annual leave is granted. According to the current situation, it is not possible under collective bargaining law to carry over the remaining leave from the previous year beyond September 30st, 2020. For this reason too, approved leave can only be withdrawn if this is required by urgent business requirements. In agreement with the employees, the leave which cannot be granted now must be granted within the next few weeks. It should be urgently avoided that during the period in which normal operations can be resumed, holiday entitlements arise from postponements.

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What must be observed when travelling privately abroad or when travelling to domestic risk areas?

For some weeks now, corona infection rates have been rising again everywhere and travel warnings are again being issued for risk areas. Since Corona, the question about the vacation destination may be permissible. The background is that the employer has a duty of care towards other employees and also towards third parties. In order to be able to plan for a possible quarantine obligation after the return from vacation and thus a loss of the affected employee, the right to information already exists before the start of the trip.

If a domestic quarantine is prescribed upon return from a risk area, and if the employee cannot work during this quarantine because mobile work is not possible, there is generally no salary for this period in accordance with the principle "no work, no pay". Whether the quarantine is terminated prematurely by a negative test or whether a second test is required is decided by the public health department

This applies in any case if the employees are at fault. If it is known prior to the start of the vacation trip that the vacation destination is a risk area classified by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the employee is deemed to be at fault. However, the situation is different if the destination only became a risk area during the trip.

The Human Resources Department must be informed of the agreement and the period of absence from work; an informal e-mail is sufficient. In cases of doubt, the Human Resources Department will provide advice.

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What happens if a destination is declared a risk area after the start of the journey?

If the destination is declared a risk area during the trip and a quarantine must then be maintained, this is an officially defined quarantine. In this case, continued payment of wages will be made. However, mobile work has priority here too. A negative test result shortens the time of quarantine or mobile work. In this case, too, close arrangements must be made between employees and supervisors.

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Are business trips abroad permitted?

Business trips abroad are allowed again. It must be considered whether these are absolutely necessary. If cancellation costs arise due to later restrictions, they must be borne by the department. If the destination is a risk area, business trips should only be approved and carried out if they are absolutely necessary and mobile work can be carried out during the quarantine.

If the employee has to be quarantined after returning from the business trip and is therefore unable to perform his or her work, the entitlement to remuneration continues.

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What should be done if there is a fear of being infected by chains of infection?

Increasingly, there is a suspicion of infection through the establishment of infection chains. If employees of the OVGU are not directly affected, but it cannot be ruled out with certainty that an infection may have occurred, the supervisor decides, taking sufficient account of the specific circumstances of the individual case, whether mobile work can be ordered or whether it is possible to work without physical contact with other employees. If this is not possible, employees may be released from work for up to 14 days or until a negative test result of the presumably infected person is available. In deciding what action to take, account shall be taken of the way in which the establishment must be maintained, possibly in a restricted form, in order to ensure necessary working procedures.

If a home office or leave of absence is deemed necessary, the Human Resources Department must be informed by e-mail.

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Can I refuse to work if third parties with whom I have professional contact come from abroad?

No, the work cannot be refused. Special attention must be paid to the hygiene regulations. Even if there is a special risk of an existing basic illness, work cannot be stopped. If necessary, relocations in the own area are to be checked. In such cases, the right of direction is broader than usual, and the employer can also assign employees activities that are not normally part of their duties. Organisational measures must be taken to keep contact as low as possible. Minimum distances must be observed and the accumulation of many people in a small space must be avoided. It may be considered whether in offices where several employees work, it is possible to achieve by staggered service that contact can be minimized and thus chains of infection can be interrupted. In cases where employees are able to carry out their tasks in the home office, it should be examined whether alternating models, by which the employees of one area are affected to the same extent, can be a solution to maintain operation. These measures are primarily the responsibility of the immediate superiors; the personnel department must be involved in cases of doubt. Meetings and consultations should be kept to an absolutely necessary minimum. If possible, they should take place in digital form. In addition, a mouth-and-nose cover should be worn if there is contact with third parties.

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Is there a right to mobile work?

No. Home office can only be granted if the activities allow it in whole or in part. This assessment is ultimately the responsibility of the immediate superior. Activities in the home office must be specifically agreed and controlled. Home office is not a synonym for paid leave!

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Which minimum standards must be observed when agreeing on a home office, what must be documented?

The OVGU has a Working from Home Agreement. Many of the facts relating to equipping the workplace and conclusion of an agreement are not applicable in the current situation. Other facts must nevertheless be taken into account:

  • Definition of the duties to be performed when working from home
  • Compliance with data protection and IT security
  • Definition of attendance times
  • Rules regarding breaks, compliance with maximum working hours and rest periods
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Are groups of workers excluded from the possibility of mobile work?

Employees who cannot do their work from home are NOT allowed to do their work in mobile work. These are usually technicians, laboratory assistants, workers (K4, K5), library employees, employees with reference tasks whose work equipment is exclusively available at the university or who process documents that are not suitable for mobile work (personal documents, personnel or student files), etc. Employees who do not have the technical prerequisites for digital work and for whom no device can be procured, cannot use mobile work either.

If mobile work can be allowed, it must be determined whether work must nevertheless be done on site (mail processing, picking up work for mobile work, participation in meetings, etc.).

If employees can do at least part of the work from home by creating the technical conditions, shared service can be arranged to prevent contacts within the offices. For the part of the mobile work it is also valid that a definition of the tasks and a control takes place. The immediate superior is responsible; there should always be coordination with the next higher level in order to avoid unequal treatment.

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What legal regulations apply to working from home?

The service agreement on mobile work applies without restriction.

However, there are no individual agreements on mobile work, but arrangements are made between supervisors and employees. Work tasks are defined, assigned and controlled.

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Which work tasks can be transferred in mobile work?

Employees can only be instructed to work from home if their work can also be carried out from home.

Employees who work from home are expected to perform all of the tasks assigned to them, and availability must be guaranteed during core working hours.

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How is accessibility in mobile work ensured?

The accessibility of employees by e-mail and telephone must be guaranteed. There is an obligation to check e-mails and the website several times a day. The setting of a call diversion must be organised.

In principle, availability must be ensured in the time between 8.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Persons who look after children during core working hours and therefore have to work flexibly make appropriate arrangements with their superiors or within the organisational unit. The heads of the organizational units must ensure that the regulations are implemented.

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What information is available on how to use the sports centre?

The Hochschulsport Magdeburg offers indoor as well as outdoor sports. The basis is a hygiene concept, which also applies to third party users. Extract from the hygiene concept:

  • The stay in the sports facility is to be reduced to a minimum.
  • Disinfection of the sports equipment immediately before and after use by the sports club or sports group must be cleaned with disinfectant provided.
  • Changing rooms and showers can be used again if the rules of distance are observed.
  • Attendance lists are still kept.
  • Competitions and point games may take place in compliance with the regulations of the top professional associations; spectators are not allowed in the course or training facilities.

Enrolment will take place with a new course and administration software. Further information is available here.

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What do I have to do when I travel to Germany from a risk area?

According to an order of the Federal Ministry of 29.09.2020, the travel returnees/entrants must be quarantined for 14 days. The quarantine is not necessary if you, as a returnee, submit a negative corona test, which should not be older than 48 hours, to the public health department upon entry. Send the test by e-mail to einreise-risikogebiet@ga.magdeburg.de. You must be in quarantine until you are notified by the Health Department. Furthermore, you can take a free test within 10 days in the "Fieberambulanz" (Brandenburger Str. 8, 39104 Magdeburg).

Please register your arrival on our quarantine form and we will inform the public health authorities. If you do not want to be tested the mandatory quarantine time remains 14 days.

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Are further training courses offered?

Many providers have converted their offer to digital formats. Employees can participate in this as usual. Applications are to be submitted via the Education Committee.

Legally required further training courses (crane drivers, welders, etc.) that require presence are carried out in compliance with hygiene regulations.

If in-house events are offered, a hygiene concept will also be submitted for these.

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Will the English courses continue to take place?

For the time being, classes are maintained with ZOOM events and homework. As of the winter semester, large groups will be divided and classroom instruction will take place in A and B groups in 14-day rotation. Actually, it was planned that after one year of lessons, an advancement to the next level will take place. This will be suspended. If employees still wish to change jobs, suitable solutions can be found in cooperation with the Personnel Development Department of the Human Resources Department.

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What information is available on the use of the sports centre?

The Hochschulsport Magdeburg offers indoor as well as outdoor sports. The basis is a hygiene concept, which also applies to third-party users.

Extract from the hygiene concept:

  • The stay in the sports facility is to be reduced to a minimum.
  • Disinfection of sports equipment immediately before and after use by the sports club or sports group to be cleaned with disinfectant provided.
  • Changing rooms and showers can be used again if the rules of distance are observed.
  • Attendance lists are still kept.
  • Competitions and point games may take place in compliance with the requirements of the top professional associations, spectators are not allowed to watch either on the course or in training.

Enrolment takes place with a new course and administration software. Further information is available at the website.

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What information is available about using the university library?

Magdeburg University Library has been open to the public to a limited extent since May 4th, 2020. Please refer to the corresponding information on the University Library's website

Among other things, the University Library offers digital loans or the provision of semester materials. You can find more information about the library's services here.

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What information is available about using the facilities of the Studentenwerk?

Currently, guests of the UniCampus and Mensa Herrenkrug refectories can again take a seat in the building and enjoy their meals. Pier 16 on Magdeburg's UniCampus continues to offer a mobile food service for self-pickup. All other university catering facilities will remain closed until further notice. Please observe the hygiene regulations of the respective refectories and find the opening hours on the respective websites

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What happens if you don't come back from a risk area?

If the employee cannot return in time due to travel restrictions or quarantine at the vacation location and therefore cannot start work again punctually after the end of the vacation, there is no salary entitlement. Fault is not relevant here, as the employee always bears the so-called "travel risk". In this case, solutions should be found together with the superiors (taking vacation, reduction of overtime) to minimize salary losses.

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What regulations apply to employees who come from risk areas (especially for commuting)?

Increasingly, domestic cities/urban districts are also being declared risk areas. If employees come from these areas and have their regular residence there, the following measures must be taken:

  • Employees are strongly recommended to install the Corona-Warn-App and check it daily.
  • If they receive a message that they are a Category I contact person, the regulations for this group of persons apply.
  • If possible, attendance times should be reduced and mobile work should be arranged.
  • If presence is required, hygiene rules must be strictly adhered to by employees, in particular the obligation to wear masks and the rules governing distances.
  • If employees work in places where the required minimum distance to other employees cannot be maintained, the use of plexiglass panels, the wearing of masks or the transfer to individual offices should be considered. If it is appropriate, it is also possible to arrange for staggered service.
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What should be done if there were contacts with infected persons (category I contacts)?

Category I contact persons include people who have been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 virus infection. Information about this can be obtained from the public health department, the infected person himself or herself or through the Corona Warning App (high risk level: red indicator).

Close contact means:

  • There was at least 15 minutes (cumulative) contact with the affected person in a closed room and face-to-face (e.g. conversation).
  • There was direct contact with secretions or body fluids of a confirmed Covid-19 case: for example, by coughing or sneezing.
  • During a flight with a confirmed Covid-19 case on board, passengers in the same row of seats and the two rows in front and behind the infected person are affected.

 Once the positive test is known, these persons must report urgently to the health authorities and restrict handling. If there are no symptoms, voluntary quarantine must be maintained until the test results are available, even without official instructions. If possible, mobile work should be arranged with superiors. If the test result is positive, the public health department will decide on further steps.

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What rules apply if there was no close contact with an infected person or with a Category I contact person?

Persons without direct personal contact with a Covid 19 infection case are referred to as Category II contact persons. These persons are advised to reduce contact with other people, to pay particular attention to hygiene rules, to wear more mouth and nose cover to protect others and to contact their family doctor and/or health authorities immediately if symptoms indicate a Covid-19 infection. If an infection is nevertheless more likely, mobile work can be arranged for employees to interrupt any chains of infection.

If contact has only been made with a Category I contact person, it is important to keep a close eye on whether symptoms are developing. Otherwise, no further measures are necessary. The special hygiene rules should be observed even more meticulously than before. If possible, home offices can be arranged for employees in coordination with their superiors. The risk assessment depends on the extent and intensity of the contact.

These regulations also apply if the Corona-Warnapp indicates a low risk level (green or yellow).

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Last Modification: 14.10.2020 - Contact Person: Katharina Vorwerk