Employee health and safety


If You're Sick

Please do a daily health assessment before coming to campus. UNBC community members (students, faculty and staff) should stay home if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.  
If you are sick with flu-like symptoms or have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Stay home and let your manager/supervisor know about your absence.
  • If you are able to work from home, please discuss arrangements with your manager or supervisor.
  • If you are not able to work from home, please submit a UNBC leave form to Payroll.
  • Follow BCCDC guidance for how to self-monitor and self-isolate. 

If you begin to experience any flu-like symptoms while at work:

  • Isolate.
  • Use the BC thrive self-assessment and follow the instructions.
  • Follow BCCDC guidance for how to self-monitor and self-isolate. 
  • Let your manager/supervisor know that you are going home sick or are required to self-isolate.

If your symptoms worsen, please contact your family physician. You can also call 811 or the Northern Health Virtual Primary and Community Care Clinic at 1-844-645-7811.

As an employee, if you have a confirmed case of COVID-19, follow the guidelines and directions from BC Centre for Disease Control and/or your health practitioner. 

Additional information

  • Employees are no longer required to report COVID-related symptoms and/or absences to wellbeing@unbc.ca, so long as the absence is seven calendar days or less.
  • Should a medically-related absence extend beyond seven calendar days, as per the Collective Agreements, please complete a UNBC Leave Form and have your employees contact wellbeing@unbc.ca to initiate the medical leave process.  Employees may be required to provide clear, current and credible medical information that satisfies the University’s need to provide a safe and productive work and learning environment.
  • If you have questions or concerns about navigating this process, please contact wellbeing@unbc.ca for additional support.
  • The safety of the UNBC community remains a top priority. If you test positive for COVID-19 and have been on a campus, please advise unbccommand@unbc.ca so that additional cleaning and sanitization protocols can be initiated. 

Testing Guidance

A COVID-19 test is not recommended by Northern Health if:

  • You have no symptoms, even if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
  • You are fully vaccinated (two doses), experiencing mild symptoms and can manage your illness at home. Self-isolate for five days. Notify your close contacts so they can self-monitor for symptoms.

A COVID-19 test is recommended if:

  • You have symptoms, and:
    • You are at higher risk of severe illness.
    • You identify with a high risk setting such as health-care workers, first responders, residents of congregate settings, or live in a remote or rural community. 

More details about COVID-19 symptoms, testing and self-isolation, and self-assessment may be found on the Northern Health website.

If you feel unwell and are unsure about your symptoms, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1. If you test positive or have symptoms of COVID-19, follow public health guidance on how to self-isolate. Do not attend campus until your self-isolation period ends.

The BCCDC’s current recommendation is to not get tested if you have mild symptoms and are fully vaccinated. This preserves testing capacity for higher-risk environments. If you have mild symptoms, stay home and away from others for five days. If you no longer have a fever or symptoms you can return to work.

Rapid Test Availability

UNBC has received its delivery of rapid test kits and distribution is underway to the community. Tests will be available for all students and employees who are on campus and providing in-person service, teaching, conducting research, receiving service or attending classes.

Each of you will receive a carton of five rapid test kits. The kits are provided for symptomatic testing of employees and students; they are not meant for asymptomatic screening.

  • Prince George campus: Kits will be provided to faculty and staff through your department/programs.
  • Regional campuses and sites: Expect delivery this week for faculty, staff and students.
  • Housing Students: The housing office will notify you regarding the distribution of your kits.
  • Graduate students: Collect your kits from the NBCGSS lounge (availability and times to be communicated by NBCGSS)
  • Undergraduate students: Collect your kits from the NUGSS office (availability and times to be communicated by NUGSS)

Helpful links:

How to use a BTNX rapid test kit  

What to do after testing positive including isolation requirements and reporting your test results.


Sick Leaves and Benefits

Advise your supervisor as soon as possible, as you would with any illness. Employees who stay home because they are unwell (and are unable to work from home) should submit sick leave forms. Please refer to your respective collective agreement (if applicable) for more information on sick leave requirements.

Medical notes related to COVID-19 are not required.

Employees not previously eligible for paid sick time may now be eligible for 5 days of paid leave per year for any personal illness or injury. Your employer may request reasonably sufficient proof of illness. This entitlement is in addition to the 3 days of unpaid sick leave currently provided by the Employment Standards Act. You must have worked with your employer for at least 90 days to be eligible for the paid sick days.

If you are a Salaried employee, to receive paid sick leave, a completed UNBC Leave Form signed by you and your supervisor needs to be submitted to payroll@unbc.ca. Please indicate the date(s) and the number of hours missed and your schedule, if you work part-time hours.

If you are an Hourly employee who submits timesheets to be paid, please tick the sick leave box (new) on any days you missed work due to illness and submit approved timesheets by the normal biweekly Friday deadline by email to payroll@unbc.ca or by dropping off in the mailbox outside the Payroll Services Office.

If your medical condition worsens or your recovery period is lengthened, you may need to apply for medical EI and/or long-term disability benefits. Contact Kristi Muchalla, HR Partner, Employee Health and Wellbeing at wellbeing@unbc.ca  for more details.


Working alone

When working outside regular hours, or alone in an area of campus, please advise Security when you arrive on campus and give them an estimated duration of the work. Security will then periodically check in on you.

Provide Security with your name, the location you will be working (lab or office space), the room telephone number, and your cellphone contact if available. This is especially important if your activity involves the use of equipment, machinery or a potentially hazardous substance.

Security must be aware of your location should an emergency occur.


Benefits and travel medical insurance

Benefit entitlement and premiums remain unchanged at this time. Benefit carriers may have amended their policies and requirements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with SunLife before travelling.

University employees are provided with a Travel Card through SunLife, which is available on the SunLife app or website.

Review international medical insurance exclusions and trip interruption insurance.


Employee and family assistance program

The University's Employee and Family Assistance Program is provided by Homewood Health. Confidential counselling and life-smart services are available 24/7/365.

The UNBC Health and Well-being website provides more details on accessing services and numerous resources, webinars, flyers and tips you may find helpful.


Refusing unsafe work

As per WorkSafeBC, we have a duty of care for people’s health and safety and to provide a safe work space. The Safety Office, Human Resources, our Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee and unions are good resources to inquire with respect to refusing unsafe work. WorkSafe BC is monitoring and updating guidelines as it relates to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. At present, organizations must have a communicable disease plan.