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March 15, 2020

Current Employees

An employee has a child whose school or day care is closed, and they have no other childcare arrangements. What options are available?

Employees in this situation should promptly notify their manager. Children may not be brought to work for safety reasons. If the employee is able to work from home while supervising their child, the employee should email their supervisor to request to telecommute. If unable to telecommute, employees may take other paid leaves as applicable to their position and situation.

What are the requirements to telecommute?

The university is guided by state law and SFA Policy 11.27. The president has issued an executive order that allows department heads to request temporary telecommuting for their employees, and respective division heads to approve or deny the request. The communication should be executed via email. Detailed departmental records must be maintained that document the reason(s) for the request and the amount of time in a telecommuting capacity. Other than the temporary suspension of paper request and approval forms, Policy 11.27 should guide telecommuting considerations. It is important to understand that within this emergency situation, telecommuting is temporary, and with the containment of the coronavirus, the telecommuting request and approvals will return to the process outlined in Policy 11.27.

What are travel circumstances should employees be aware of?

Employees who have traveled internationally to or through any country or region designated as Level 3 by the CDC for COVID-19 are required to self-isolate off campus for 14 days before returning to campus and should contact their supervisor as soon as possible. Employees should submit documentation of the travel.

Employees who traveled on a cruise ship during the past 14 days should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. If a case of COVID19 was reported on the ship during the cruise, the employee should self-isolate off campus for 14 days. Stay home if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing and call ahead before you see medical care.

Employees with specific concerns should contact their supervisors as soon as possible to discuss their individual situations.

How do I report time missed due to COVID-19 ?

Payroll and Human Resources are working to establish relevant leave codes and procedures for reporting absences due to COVID-19. Updates are forthcoming.

What options are available if employees want to self-monitor or self-isolate due to risk factors?

Employees who belong to categories considered to be at higher-risk of getting sick from COVID-19 (adults 60+ OR people who have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease) should consult with their managers about telecommuting or working from home, where feasible. See more information at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html. Otherwise, employees may take other paid leaves as applicable to their position and situation.

Can supervisors ask for a doctor's note from an employee returning from self-isolation?

No. Supervisors may accept a doctor’s note if it is voluntarily provided by the employee, but they may not require a doctor’s note. However, supervisors may require details of the reason for self-isolation and documentation of their travel. The employee must notify their supervisor prior to returning to work and must be asymptomatic upon return from self-isolation.

Does Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave apply to absences due to confirmed cases of coronavirus?

Yes, coronavirus qualifies as a "serious health condition" under FMLA, allowing an eligible employee to take FMLA leave if either the employee or an immediate family member contracts the disease.

Recruiting, New Employees and Onboarding

I have a new employee scheduled to start in the next week. Can they still begin their employment?

Our recommendation is to delay the start of a new hire if at all possible. If that is not possible, then each department is responsible for ensuring that all needed services and information (EPAF, identifying identification, etc.) are available to enable the employee to perform work. You should carefully consider what it takes to onboard a new employee and if the necessary staff will be available. As an example, the USCIS has not provided any exceptions to the requirement to personally review documents for employment eligibility when completing Form I-9, so appropriate staff will need to be present for this task.

I have an active recruitment going on right now. Should I set up in-person interviews or continue with previously scheduled interviews?

Currently the campus is open, however, you should consider other alternatives to in-person interviews such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc. Our recommendation is to reach out to your candidate pool and advise them of our efforts to conduct our recruitment activities with minimal exposure to both the university and the candidate by either delaying interviews for the next two weeks or conducting virtual interviews. Delaying the interview process might result in lost candidates, however, the risks associated with personal contact may outweigh the loss.

I have a final candidate and we are ready to make an offer. What should I do?

Communicate your intentions to the candidate and if possible set a start date on or after April 6. Given the fluidity of the situation, all start dates may have to be adjusted to ensure each person’s safety concerns as well as availability of staff. All recruiting activity currently in process that has not resulted in an offer by Friday, March 13, 2020, should be delayed until further notice.

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