Coronavirus: Information for employees

General

The virus has still not yet disappeared and there is still no vaccination. Therefore the highest priority remains the protection of everyone's health.

  • Presence at the workplace is possible again, subject to compliance with distancing and hygiene regulations in accordance with the protection concept. The target is a presence of 50 percent of working time as a benchmark.
  • A general obligation to wear masks applies for all indoor spaces of the University of Bern.
  • Employees do not have to wear masks at their stationary workstations as long as a minimum distance of 1.5 meters can be maintained. However, wearing masks is compulsory on the way to the workplace and during other movements in the building.
  • A distance of at least 1.5 m must basically be maintained.
  • For meetings, the standard area of at least 4m2 per person must be maintained.
  • Where, for operational reasons, the distance rules cannot always be complied with, wearing a face mask is compulsory or the people present must be reduced.
  • Working from home is still possible in consultation with superiors.
  • In order to be able to trace personal contacts closer than 1.5 metres for longer than 15 minutes in case of an infection with Sars-CoV-2, every person is obliged to keep a personal and daily updated logbook (digitally or by using this form). The logbook must be kept for 4 weeks.
  • At-risk employees and risk groups must be protected as far as possible (Prioritization of protective measures and risk groups). 
  • Meetings and discussions should continue to be held via video or telephone conferences.
  • The university buildings are basically open again.
  • It is recommended to use public transport outside rush hours and to wear a mask when travelling.

In exceptional cases, events on university premises can be held again with clear justification and protection concept. Permission for this is granted by the General Secretariat.

People entering Switzerland from a country or an area with an increased risk of infection (list) must go into quarantine for 10 days. This means:

  • Go immediately to your home or other suitable accommodation after entry.
  • You must stay there continuously for 10 days after your arrival.
  • Within two days of your arrival, report your entry to the Canton of Bern (form, in German)

All necessary information can be found in this leaflit (PDF, 586KB) (in German).

Important for employees: Anyone who travels to a risk country in spite of the Confederation's travel warning is not entitled to payment of their salary during the subsequent quarantine if the work cannot be carried out from home.

People arriving in Switzerland who have been in a state or area with an increased risk of infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 according to the FOPH recommendations for travelers at any time within 10 days prior to their arrival are obliged to go directly to their home or other suitable accommodation immediately after they arrive. They must remain there permanently for 10 days after entry (quarantine).

For employees the following also applies:

Employees arriving from risk countries are excluded from working in UniBE properties for 10 days.

Before travelling to countries at risk, the return and commencement of work activities must be arranged with superiors.

Return travelers from risk countries are not entitled to paid short holidays if the basic assignment cannot be fulfilled by working from home.

It is recommended that you restrict travel abroad and avoid travel to risk countries.

Further information can be found at State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

FAQ (corresponding with BE-Info-Flash)

Despite a travel warning from the federal government, I spend my holidays in a risk area. What consequences can this have after returning home?

Since 6 July 2020, people entering countries designated as risk areas by the Confederation must spend 10 days in quarantine upon their return. The list of countries will be continuously updated. Anyone who travels to these countries in spite of travel warnings is not entitled to payment of their salary during the quarantine period if the work cannot be carried out from home. The lost working time must be compensated through balances of annual working time, holiday time, long-term account, or with unpaid leave. If the employee becomes sick, the cantonal personnel office may, at the request of the appointing authority, reduce an employee's salary or stop it completely due to gross negligence.

Under what circumstances is the salary also paid in quarantine?

If it was not known at the time of departure that the country travelled to was on the list of areas with increased risk of infection, the first thing to be checked is whether working from home is possible during the quarantine period. If this is not possible, this time can be booked as planned working time. If the employee becomes ill, they are entitled to continued salary payment as for any other illness.

I have not spent my holidays in a risk area, have no symptoms of illness and voluntarily go into quarantine. Am I still entitled to sick pay?

No. The lost working time must be compensated through balances of annual working time, holiday time, long-term account, or with unpaid leave.

Can the employer require me to undergo a COVID-19 test when I return from a risk area?

No. If the Confederation orders quarantine for returnees from certain countries, a COVID-19 test would be excessive. However, in this situation it is permissible to measure the person's temperature. If illness is suspected, the employer can send employees home.

Protection Concept of the University of Bern during Covid-19 for employees with an administrative function

The University of Bern's protection concept is the basis for the university unit’s ability to resume their activities in university premises and facilities. There is a separate protection concept for the research and continuing education areas.

Responsibility

The managing directorates are responsible for the implementation and compliance with the protection concept. The safety officers (GeSiBe, KOPAS) are authorised on behalf of the Managing Directorates to ensure compliance with this protection concept and have the right to issue instructions in this regard.

Protection Concept

  • Employees and other people will keep a distance of 1,5m between each other.
  • A general obligation to wear a mask applies for all indoor spaces of the University of Bern.
  • Employees do not have to wear masks at their stationary workstations, provided that the minimum distance of 1.5 meters can be maintained. However, wearing masks is compulsory on the way to the workplace and during other movements in the building.
  • For meetings, the standard area of at least 4m2 per person must be maintained.
  • If the distance rules cannot be observed, a hygiene mask must be worn.
  • Regular washing of hands is mandatory.
  • At-risk employees and risk groups must be protected as far as possible (Prioritization of protective measures and risk groups)
  • It is recommended to use public transport outside rush hours and to wear a mask when travelling.
  • In the event of a Sars-CoV-2 infection, in order to be able to trace personal contact of less than 1,5 meters and longer than 15 minutes, each person is obliged to keep a personal and daily updated logbook (digital or by form). The logbook must be kept for 4 weeks.
  • It is recommended that the Confederation's official "SwissCovid" tracing app is installed. However, it does not replace keeping a personal logbook. An entry in the personal logbook can only be dispensed with if it can be 100% guaranteed in certain situations that all persons present have installed and activated the app.
  • It is recommended that employees be deployed in shifts or in strictly separated teams.
  • Meetings and discussions should continue to be held via video or telephone conferences. Subject to the requirements of the protection concept, attended meetings can also be held again.
  • These are to be approved by the managing directors or - in consultation - with direct superiors.
  • University of Bern employees with possible Sars-Cov-2 infection or disease symptoms can be tested at the University Emergency Centre (UNZ) of the Inselspital on request. The University of Bern has made an agreement with the UNZ, in which this testing will be able to be carried out without complications. During service hours (daily 10:00- 17:00) you can report to the reception of the emergency unit and identify yourself with your UNICARD. Advance notification is not necessary. No costs will be incurred by employees. The invoice will be sent to the University of Bern. The results of the swab test are available within 36 hours. In the event of a positive COVID-19 result, patients will be informed by telephone. Negative results will not be reported. In urgent cases or when outside of service hours, a swab test can be performed as part of a normal medical consultation. Again, registration by telephone is not necessary, but a health insurance card will be required.

The institute directors and heads of department are responsible for occupational safety, health protection and environmental safety in their unit and have a health protection and safety officer (GeSiBe) at their disposal.

Depending on the size of the university unit, the directorates will appoint additional contact persons for occupational safety (KOPAS). Accordingly, they will define job descriptions for the GeSiBe or KOPAS, entrust a person suitable for the performance of the function with the corresponding tasks and competencies and grant sufficient time, financial and other resources to enable implementation of this task.

It should be noted that responsibility in the areas of occupational safety, health protection and environmental safety is necessarily the responsibility of the institute's management or the head of department and cannot be transferred to the GeSiBe or KOPAS. Corresponding information can also be found in the guidelines of the Exective Board of the University on the duties and employment of full and associate professors at the University of Bern dated 23 August 2011 (in German), and in the leaflet «Overview of the most important duties of the managing directors of the Institute» (in German) dated 20 December 2009/06.10.20152.

Further explanations of the responsibilities for safety arrangements can be found in the Safety and Environment Guidelines (in German) of the Risk Management Unit.

Working at home

Circumstances continue to demand flexibility, patience, and a pragmatic and caring attitude from all concerned.

Home office means simply that employees do their normal work from home. The usual terms of employment and mutual obligations still apply. Nothing changes in terms of an employee's duties when working from home.

Working time is recorded with the usual time recording system. If this is not available, working times are noted and subsequently recorded in the system.

In principle, the actual working time is recorded.

In exceptional cases, when a function is absolutely necessary to maintain emergency operations and cannot be performed from home, the institution can require you to be present on site. However, you must ensure that the protection concept of the university and thus the protective measures according to the FOPH (washing hands, keeping distance) are observed.

Supervisors will regulate this in accordance with company requirements. Basically the same times and availabilities apply as at the normal workplace.

Existing business or private infrastructure must be used. If nothing is available or if there are additional requirements, this is to be discussed with your superiors.

For coordination and cooperation while working from home, the following links provide information and instructions on the use and offers of technical tools:

www.lehre.unibe.ch/coronavirus
Informations about working from home (IT-services)

In continuing education no classroom teaching is planned until the end of May. Classroom teaching will be resumed as soon as allowed by official regulations. Until then, continuing education courses will be replaced generally by digital solutions. Participants will be informed by the program managers. 

Further explanations and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the website of the Canton of Bern (in German).

If you have any further questions, please contact info@pers.unibe.ch.

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Resolutions of the State Council (in German)

RRB 190/2020
RRB 265/2020
RRB 307/2020

RRB 266/2020
RRB 436/2020
RRB 632/2020
RRB 752/2020

RRB 1087/2020

 

Protect yourself and others - hygiene rules (FOPH)