Coronavirus resources for employees

For the latest updates on University operations, consult the McGill coronavirus site.



Working during the ramp-up

Are staff expected to work remotely during the ramp-up?

Employees who have not been requested to return to campus are asked to continue to work remotely.

During Phase 5 of the University ramp-up, student-facing staff will gradually return to campus and, in accordance with the needs of their individual units, will alternate between working on-campus and working from home.

Only employees who have been authorized by their manager to return to campus should work on-site.

Can I come in to work on campus during the ramp-up?

Building access is restricted to employees who have been authorized by their manager to return to campus.

Employees who wish to return to work on campus should speak with their manager.

Employees wishing to return to campus to retrieve personal or work-related items should make the request to their manager and fill out the forms distributed by building managers.

What policies are in place for people who are authorized to work on campus?

Before returning to campus, consult the Employee Guide – Return to campus, a quick reference to relevant policies, procedures, and directives.

Does McGill plan to lay off employees?

The University will do its very best to avoid laying people off, even in this unprecedented and unpredictable global crisis. Budget measures have been implemented to reduce expenses, especially non-salary expenses.

To help avoid lay-offs, many duties and work processes will have to be adapted to the reality of COVID-19. Ultimately, we need to work together to protect the essential academic mission of McGill, maintain the financial wellbeing of our University and minimize the impact of the pandemic on employees.

Health and self-isolation

How will employees required to self-isolate be affected?

When feasible, employees required to self-isolate will be invited to work from home.

Employees who travel outside Canada while the non-essential travel advisory from the Government of Canada is in force, and who cannot work from home, will be unpaid while in quarantine.

Employees in self-isolation for other reasons (symptoms or close contact with a confirmed case) will be on paid leave or STD (short-term disability), as determined by the Disability Manager.

Why are employees with a weakened immune system, chronic condition, or 70 and over being asked to identify their condition?

Public health authorities recognize that the COVID-19 virus presents a higher risk to those with a weakened immune system, a chronic condition (such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, etc.) or aged 70 years or older.

Employees who are at risk of developing complications to COVID-19 will be asked to work from home where their work responsibilities can be fully conducted remotely in accordance with government recommendations.

  • If the University determines that:
  • Working from home is not possible and/or;
  • The employee is required to provide necessary activities and functions on campus,
  • then a case-by-case evaluation must be carried out and the medical condition must be documented by providing information to [at]
  • If it is determined that the medical condition does not put the employee at risk of complications, the employee will be asked to return to work on campus.
  • If it is determined that the medical condition puts the employee at risk of complications, should the employee be diagnosed with COVID-19, the following can take place:
  • The University will have the responsibility to put in place the recommendations of the Direction de la santé publique (DSP) in the workplace, and the employee will have to apply them. Should the employee have reasonable motives to believe that the work environment puts their health at risk, they can exercise their right to refuse work as per section 12 of the Loi sur la santé et la sécurité du travail (LSST).
  • The University may decide to reassign the employee to other tasks.
  • The employee retains the right to remain at work insofar as the employee has been adequately informed about the risks related to the work and that the University has taken all necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • If the University determines that it is not possible to make the necessary accommodations to safely return the employee to the workplace, the employee will be invited to take vacation days, banked overtime, floating days or an unpaid leave of absence subject to University policies.

What if an employee does not want to come into work because they fear for their safety?

Employees should contact their manager to discuss their specific situation and concerns. Numerous measures, including but not limited to increased cleaning, have been put in place to keep our workplace a safe environment. All employees coming into work must apply the necessary hygiene precautions, such as hand washing and social distancing, as recommended by the authorities.

Are virtual appointments covered by my plan?

Virtual appointments are an eligible expense provided the health care practitioner is

  • licensed and registered in the province in which they are practicing,
  • has an eligible qualification as determined by Manulife, and
  • is practicing within the guidelines of their governing body.

Any practitioner offering virtual care must first be licensed by their college or governing body. The college/association or governing body and the practitioner’s scope of practice must permit virtual appointments for the service being claimed.

Manulife continues to monitor provincial guidelines about virtual care, which are quickly evolving. Based on information known today, they will consider claims for virtual appointments to be an eligible expense for the following practitioners, subject to the terms of McGill’s contract:

  • Chiropractor
  • Dietitian
  • Occupational therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Speech therapist

Manulife recommends speaking with your professional to confirm the specific services they can deliver online. You should also rely on them to follow the appropriate protocols.

How do I report if I have been diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you have received a positive test result for COVID-19, follow the steps described here in the Directives for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Hours and pay

If I'm working from home, do I need to follow the regular schedule?

Employees are expected to be available during their regularly scheduled hours. They can request to adjust their hours while working remotely, and managers are asked to show flexibility.

Does the current COVID situation affect vacation scheduling?

As is generally the norm, employees will be expected to take a significant portion of their vacation during the summer, unless their units request that they remain at work during those months.

In scheduling vacation, managers and employees should take into account that given the uncertainties related to the COVID-19 situation, there may not be the same degree of flexibility as normal for employees in scheduling vacations not taken during the summer.

Family obligations and support

My small children are home with me - what are my options?

If you are unable to work from home or on campus due to family obligations, you have a variety of options to explore while looking into alternative family arrangements:

You must inform your manager as soon as possible if you need time off to look after a family member. Managers must be sensitive and flexible in dealing with employees’ requests under the current circumstances. A dialogue is recommended in order to properly assess the situation and identify different options.

What happens if I cannot be at work because a family member is in self-isolation and requires assistance?

We ask you to discuss possible arrangements with your immediate supervisor. If working from home is feasible while you assist the person under isolation, you will be invited to do so.

If working from home is not possible, you have a variety of options to explore while looking into alternative family arrangements:

You must inform your manager as soon as possible if you need time off to look after a family member. Managers must be sensitive and flexible in dealing with employees’ requests under the current circumstances. A dialogue is recommended in order to properly assess the situation and identify different options.

Who can I talk to for support?

You can speak with your manager, contact your local HR representative or central Human Resources or call the Employee Assistance Program. All contact between you and your EFAP counsellor is confidential and at no cost to you.

Additionally, the HR Health & Well-being Program provides numerous resources available remotely. Read the online evidence-based tips and sign up for an event.

How can I contact Human Resources while their offices are closed?

Do not hesitate to contact either your local HR representative or central Human Resources. HR continues to serve and develop resources for our community throughout the pandemic.

While our offices are physically closed, the best way to reach us is by email at [at] or phone at 514-398-4747 between 8:30am and 5pm.

Discover virtual counselling services available through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

Reporting Illness

How to report illness and self-isolation as an employee or student

Staying healthy

Consult our health and wellness resources for staff

Working Remotely

Access technical information on working during the closure

Back to top