Grant-funded employees: FAQ


Will I get paid while I am away from work if I am unwell or self-isolating?

Yes, you will continue to be paid. Please report your absence promptly to your supervisor.

What happens if my appointment ends before I am able to return to work?

Please contact your supervisor to let them know about your appointment date. The Office of Research Services and research accounting will assist your supervisor in making plans to cover these circumstances.

My lab is closed. Will I continue to be paid?

Please contact your supervisor to determine whether or not your employment relationship can be continued.

What if I want to be laid off or have my contract ended early?

Please contact your supervisor to determine whether or not your employment relationship can be ended.


If my grant-funded employee is not working (due to illness, isolation or lack of work) can I continue to pay them with my grant?

The answer depends on the ruling of the funding source. The following provides information from the major granting agencies: 

For questions on eligibility of employees from other research funding, please contact Office of Research Services (ORS)  and Research Accounting who will assist you with this process.

What if my grant-funded employee wants to be laid off or have their contract ended early?

It is possible a grant-funded employee will request layoff or early termination of contract in order to benefit from some of the special COVID benefits being offered to individuals whose job is affected by the pandemic. If you truly have no work for the employee into the foreseeable future, you may, with their written agreement, undertake a layoff or termination in accordance with the Employment Standards Act.

If you are considering a layoff or termination, please contact ORS

I have no work or insufficient funding for my grant-funded employee. Should I lay them off or terminate their work contract? ** UPDATE **

As an employer, it is your decision whether or not to lay off or terminate your employee. 

On April 27, the provincial government released new principles to help guide all public sector employers, including UVic, in their decision-making regarding staffing. The new principles are designed to foster local staffing solutions and/or take advantage of federal income support programs in order to minimize the impact on jobs and incomes, including layoffs, while encouraging employers to consider several key factors in their decision-making regarding staffing, including service delivery, fiscal stability, and business continuity with an eye to contemplating the resumption of operations consistent with the Provincial Health Officer’s guidelines.

To assist you in your staffing adjustment options in a research context, here are some considerations:

  1. What are the prospects for providing this employee with work in the foreseeable future? How quickly could you resume research operations from the time campus attendance is permitted? (Subject to provincial regulations and changes in COVID-19 infection rates, this could be as early as late May/early June.) Would you be able to provide the employee with work while observing the Provincial Health Officer’s guidelines including physical distancing?
  2. Protecting Research Continuity: The pandemic response and related lab closures is not permanent although its duration, or whether we will have future closures, is unknown. Highly qualified personnel are hard to replace. If you layoff or terminate your employee, will you be able to replace them when the time comes?
  3. Operating within the constraints of available funding: Governments, granting agencies and universities are providing opportunities for support to offset the impact on research. Is it more appropriate to temporarily or permanently reduce your staffing at this time given uncertainty?
  4. Are there other alternatives? Does your staff member have access to vacation or paid or unpaid leaves that can be given instead of a layoff or termination? (The Employment Standards Act sets out a number of leave options and a new one has been developed specific to COVID-19.) Please refer contact ORS Susan Ellis for more information.
  5. What financial obligations would arise if there was a layoff or termination? A layoff of a GFRE may be considered a termination of their employment, triggering notice and/or severance obligations. Similarly, termination of GFRE employment will result in notice and/or severance obligations. Visit the BC government’s website for guidance.

If you are considering laying off or terminating your employee, please contact ORS Susan Ellis

My grant-funded research employee is unwell and not sure if they should come into the work at the university. Should I ask them to get a note from their health care practitioner?

Advise your grant-funded research employee (GFRE) to stay home until they are well and to seek medical advice if needed. Direct them to this website for further information.

On March 23, 2020, the BC Legislature passed amendments to the BC Employment Standards Act (ESA) to provide for an unpaid COVID-19 Related Leave to cover COVID-19 illness, self-isolation, care of child or dependent adult, unable to return home due to travel restrictions; directed not to report to work by employer due to concerns of COVID-19 exposure. 

The BC Public Service COVID-19 response on the need for a doctor’s note on return is: A doctor’s note is not required. Workers can return to their routine activities 10 days after onset of symptoms if their temperature is normal and their symptoms, other than cough, have resolved. Chronic cough may persist for a few weeks, but individuals are no longer infectious to others.

My grant-funded research employee has come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and is not sure if they should come into the work at the university. What should I advise?

All UVic employees, including grant-funded employees, are being asked to work from home if possible.

If your employee has any symptoms at all of a cold or influenza, even if they're mild, advise them to stay away from others. If they have been to areas where we know there has been transmission of COVID-19, then advise them to contact their health care provider or call 8-1-1, and to tell health care providers about recent travel if they become ill after returning to Canada.

Those who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by laboratory testing should stay home or self-isolate in their room alone for 14 days after their last encounter with the individual. They should monitor themselves daily for symptoms (fever, cough muscle aches, difficulty breathing).

Should I continue to pay my grant-funded research employee if they are unwell and not at work or are self-isolating?

Yes. All grant-funded staff who stay home because they have flu-like symptoms, or have COVID-19, or are self-isolating following close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should continue to be paid.

What happens if my grant ends before my employee is able to return to work?

Please contact Debra Anderson in the Office of Research Services and Melissa Joyce in Research Accounting who will assist you to make a plan to cover these circumstances.

For the latest UVic information, please check this website for updates. If you have further questions not covered by these FAQs, please email .