Covid-19 staffing strategies | University of Oxford

Covid-19 staffing strategies

Find out about some of the temporary measures we are taking to protect jobs, deploy resources, and support all our staff under the conditions of coronavirus. 

The impacts of Covid-19 have brought rapid and often uncomfortable changes to the way we live and work. From the closure of our museums to the move to online teaching, from cancellation of events to increased challenges for staff juggling jobs with caring responsibilities, the impacts have left no one unaffected.

Whilst the University continues to scope the size of our financial risks and the extent of income loss from these impacts, we need to take sensible, pragmatic actions now in order to ensure we sustain academic excellence throughout this period of uncertainty and mitigate any longer-term risks. We are putting careful thought and coordination into rallying our resources, taking actions, and planning for the future, even as we take necessarily quick decisions to address the financial challenges we currently face.

A key priority is to manage and deploy our staffing resources most effectively, and it is in this context that we are implementing a number of staffing protocols in all departments, units and faculties across the University. These are:

Recruitment and redeployment

A new recruitment freeze and redeployment protocol will come into effect immediately to control salary costs and manage staffing resources.

This protocol defines a stricter authorisation process for the recruitment of all staff, except research posts that are fully funded from external grants, and supports our current staff by strengthening redeployment arrangements. It allows for greater movement between roles, fills capacity where there are constraints, and offers more opportunities to employees whose contracts are ending.

Job retention and furlough

For staff unable to work because of the nature of their jobs or their caring responsibilities, we will place them on furlough and apply to the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to reclaim 80% of their salary costs (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month) while continuing to keep them employed.

The University has committed to continuing to pay all furloughed employees 100% of their salary during any period of furlough supported by the current round of the Government’s CJRS. Furloughed staff members will see no changes to their salaries, benefits or pension arrangements; they remain employees of the University on the same terms and conditions, but carry out no work at all for the employer (or any organisation linked or associated with the employer) during the period of their furlough.

This was initially rolled out as a pilot scheme in six departments from 21 April, and is now to be implemented for all eligible University employees.

  • Detailed guidance, including FAQs, is provided for all staff on the HR Support website. We appreciate that this may be a process with a lot of questions raised and will take time to identify all staff affected. Thank you in advance for your cooperation as we work to support you and your colleagues. 


As a key strategic priority, we are engaging urgently with funders and government about the provision of additional funding to enable projects impacted by Covid-19 disruption to be extended, including to provide for extension of some posts to maintain delivery of research and support the careers of research and research support staff.


Colleagues in departments and colleges looking for detailed guidance about managing teaching, exams and assessment, and wider student support, should refer to the coronavirus advice page for student-facing staff on the Academic Support website (staff single sign-on required).
Students should refer to the student coronavirus advice page on the Oxford Students website.

Staff support

We have already instigated a range of measures and resources to support staff working and well-being, especially during these uncertain times. 

We appreciate that the unpredictable nature of the current situation can feel particularly unsettling for staff. The measures being implemented are aimed to support staff with their various circumstances, protect individuals' incomes, and enable us to operate as smoothly as possible during this period. Afterwards, they will allow us to protect jobs by contributing to the University’s longer-term financial sustainability.

If you would like to find out more about what the University is doing to support and protect our staff and students as we continue to deliver our academic mission, please visit our Coronavirus Resources page. 

This page was last updated on: 21 April 2020

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