The COVID-19 virus poses an unprecedented public health threat. The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) wishes to promote employee, student, and community health and safety by encouraging social distancing, including self-isolation, during the presence of COVID-19 in the institution community or State of Maryland. The university is working to provide options that may be used to adjust your personal and family risk, and taking actions that could help limit the spread of illness in the community. We should prepare so we can help lessen the risk for everyone, even if we do not feel personally at risk.
How we will work
In April, Governor Larry Hogan unveiled his plan for a safe, effective, and gradual approach to reopening public life and the economy of Maryland as outlined in his Maryland Strong Roadmap for Recovery.
Since the state and USM have agreed to begin planning for reopening, the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) leadership team has begun making plans for a safe and gradual process for the resumption of on-campus operations. A Campus Reopening Task Force (CRTF) has been established comprised of colleagues throughout the USG Community who are assisting in formulating detailed strategies and actions for reopening the campus. There will not be a single date for the full reopening of the physical campus; the campus plan will be guided by public health expertise. At this time, access to campus buildings continues to be restricted and most employees will continue working remotely to provide services. This is a dynamic and evolving situation and the decision to return to on-site will be continually evaluated.
- What is Telework?
A: Telework/work from home is a work arrangement in which employees complete the same work normally performed at the workplace, but do it from home or other locations away from the office.
- Who is eligible to telework?
A: All USG staff including regular faculty or staff member, contingent 1 or contingent 2 employee, student employee are eligible to telework and provide access to services remotely until on-site facilities are re-opened, if their duties can be accomplished via telework
- How do employees know if they are in a position that is eligible for telework?
A: Many employees already have telework arrangements under institutional policies and agreements. Though not all jobs are suitable for telework, many are. Any employee who is unsure whether their job is suitable for telework should speak with their supervisor.
- What if my job is not suitable for telework? Am I required to report on-site?
A: Any staff not deemed essential should not be present on-site to perform their duties at this time. Employees who are not on any previously approved leave of any type and are in positions that are not appropriate for telework will be placed on administrative leave.
- What if I have not previously signed the agreement with HR and my supervisor for a telework arrangement?
A: At this time we are asking all employees who are teleowrking to review the telework agreement along with their supervisor and return it to the Office of Human Resources with all signatures.
- If it is determined that I am eligible to telework, how do I obtain the appropriate equipment, files and access to systems?
A. Employees should consult with their immediate supervisors regarding telework equipment and access to systems.
- Would I be able to telework if my child's school closes?
A: Certain common restrictions on teleworking may be waived. For example, the restriction on teleworking from home when caring for children or dependent adults will be waived if employees believe they can telework while providing any necessary care.
- I have small children at home and their school is closed. I believe I can still accomplish my tasks, but I need flexibility in my work hours in order to get my work done. Is this acceptable?
A. Employees should consult with their immediate supervisors to discuss adjustments to their work schedule. The University is strongly encouraging supervisors to be flexible in light of the extraordinary circumstances; however, depending on the type of work the employee performs, adjusting the work schedule may not be possible in all cases. Employees who believe they will be unable to successfully complete their tasks while caring for children should see the section on “Expanded Paid Family and Medical Leave”.
- Will employees who are required to report to work as usual when the facility is temporarily closed receive additional compensation?
A: At this time, only if an employee is deemed essential can be asked to report on-site. Nonexempt employees who are required to work on campus during this period will be paid as usual. In addition, if other employees who support that operation or work in that building are granted administrative leave for the same time period, the employees who are required to work on campus should be given the choice of receiving compensatory leave or a cash equivalent payment equal to the amount of administrative leave granted those employees.
- Will teleworking employees be granted additonal administrative leave?
A: All teleworking employees will receive their regular pay; they will not be granted any additional paid Administrative Leave.
- If I am Essential, do I have the option to telework or am I required to come in physically to work?
A. Essential employees should consult with their immediate supervisor to determine whether they need to report physically to campus.
- What should an employee do if they are expected to telework but they feel sick?
A: Any employee who is sick should stay home, contact their health care provider, and communicate their status to their supervisor as soon as possible. You may be eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and/or Extended Family Medical Leave (EFML). Please contact your HR representative for assistance and/or consult with the UHR Leave Management Team at email@example.com for details on this and other available leave options.
- What if an employee is teleworking and becomes too ill to work or cannot work because they need to take care of an ill family member?
A: Please see the answer above.
- Are there any best practice guidelines for teleworking during COVID-19?
- What if I have questions about work, leave and other issues during the online work period?
A: Employees should consult with the supervisors or their designees during the online work period.
- If my child’s school or daycare facility is closed due to COVID-19, what leave should I use?
A. Before an employee uses leave to cover an absence due to school/daycare closure, the employee should speak with their supervisor to determine whether their position is eligible for telework. If so, the employee would not use leave, but would make arrangements to telework. The usual restrictions on teleworking from home when children 12 or under are present will be waived if the employee believes they can safely telework while providing any necessary supervision and care of such children.
If the supervisor determines that telework is not appropriate for the employee’s position, the employee may be eligible to use the new Expanded Family and Medical Leave. Consult with UHR’s Leave Management team at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
- If an employee is absent due to illness related to COVID-19 and exhausts their accrued leave, are there other leave options?
A. Depending on eligibility, employees may have access to additional paid leave. Contact a member of UHR’s Leave Management team at email@example.com for more information.
- If I am required to self-isolate, what type of leave should I be using?
A. If the employee is required to self-isolate because they are showing symptoms and are reasonably believed to be infected with COVID-19, they may be eligible to use the new Emergency Paid Sick Leave for up to 80 hours. Consult with UHR’s Leave Management team at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on this and other available leave options.
- If I am out on pre-approved leave already and the campus moves to an online work environment will I be granted Administrative Leave?
A. Employees who were on pre-approved leave at the time that the University moved to an online work environment are considered “in a prior leave status” and are not eligible for Administrative Leave. They will continue in this status until the end of the approved leave.
- What do I do if my child’s school is closed for an extended period of time?
A. Employees should speak with their supervisors to determine whether their positions are eligible for telework. If so, the employee would make arrangements to telework. Employees in this situation may be eligible to request the new Expanded Family and Medical leave (EFML). Contact the UHR Leave Management team at email@example.com to discuss the situation. More information on EFML is provided in the FAQ's below.
- Can I request Family Medical Leave online?
- If I test positive for COVID-19, do I need to provide a doctor's note before returning to wok?
A: Yes. In addition, employees should contact their supervisors immediately to inform of the diagnosis. This is essential to protect co-workers and others.
- Would an employee who is afraid of coming to work and contracting COVID-19 be eligible for paid sick leave?
A. No, an employee’s concern for contracting the virus is not included within the six allowable reasons for leave. The employee, however, may be eligible for leave under another employer policy (such as a leave of absence, accrued vacation, etc.) as per the requirements of that policy.
If an employee’s fear, however, is related to a serious health condition, they may be eligible for traditional FMLA leave. Normal notice and certification procedures would be followed for that determination.
- If an employee takes FMLA leave for his or her own serious health condition related to COVID-19, is the employee eligible for this new category of paid FMLA Leave?
A. No. The new paid FMLA leave entitlement is for one reason only—to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or whose caregiver is unavailable due to COVID-19-related issues.
Such an employee would, however, likely be eligible for up to 10 days of emergency paid sick leave if:
- The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
- Who is eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?
- How much EPSL can I request?
A. You may request up to but no more than 2 weeks/10 days (80 hours) of EPSL if you are unable to work or telework for one of the qualifying reasons below. Part-time employees are eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work averaged over a two-week period.
- When can I request EPSL?
A. You may request EPSL if you are unable to work or telework due to a need for leave for any combination of the following reasons:
- You are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- You are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and you are seeking medical diagnosis;
- You are caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order due to COVID-19 or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- You are caring for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
- You are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- How much will I be paid while taking EPSL?
A. For qualifying reasons #1 – #3, leave is paid at full pay up to $511 per day. For qualifying reasons #4 – #6, the leave is paid at ⅔ pay up to $200 per day. When you are being paid at ⅔ pay, you have the choice to “top up” your pay to receive full pay by using your own accrued leave (annual, personal, sick, compensatory), advanced sick leave, and/or additional sick leave (hourly employees) to supplement your pay.
- How do I request EPSL and what documentation do I need to submit to support my request for leave?
To request EPSL, complete all sections of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave & Expanded Paid Family and Medical Leave form applicable to the reason you are requesting leave and after you sign the form, obtain your manager’s and department head/chair’s signature. Once complete, please submit the request to UHR’s Leave Management team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If additional information or documentation is needed, a leave consultant will contact you.
- May I take EPSL intermittently?
A. If you are working on-site, EPSL may only be taken intermittently when you are caring for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable.. If you are teleworking, EPSL may be taken intermittently for any qualifying reason. Please contact the Leave Management team at email@example.com to discuss the specifics of your request.
- When am I eligible for EPSL to self-quarantine?
A. You are eligible for EPSL when you are unable to work or telework as a result of a healthcare provider directing or advising you to stay home or quarantine yourself because the healthcare provider believes you may have COVID-19 or are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
- Will I be eligible for EPSL if I am unable to work or telework because I am expereincing COVID-19 symptoms but choose not to seek a medical diagnosis or the advice of a healthcare provider?
A. No. You will not be eligible for EPSL if you unilaterally decide to self-quarantine for an illness without medical advice, even if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Can I take EPSL to care for any individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised to self-quarantine?
A. No. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, you may not take EPSL for someone with whom you have no relationship. EPSL may only be taken when you are unable to work or telework due to the need to care for an immediate family member, someone who regularly resides in your home, or for someone where your relationship creates an expectation that you care for them and they expect or depend on you to provide care during the quarantine or self-quarantine period.
- Do I need to provide a doctor’s note before returning to work on-site?
A. Yes, if the reason for your absence is due to a physician advising you to self-quarantine or you are caring for an individual whose physician has advised them to to self-quarantine, or if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis. This is to ensure the safety and well-being of your co-workers and others with whom you may come into contact.
Expanded Family Medical Leave
- Who is eligible for Expanded Paid Family and Medical Leave (EFML)?
A. Any employee with 30 calendar days of service, regardless of employment category or FTE, who is scheduled to work (on-site or remotely) can apply for EFML. It is important to note that if you aren’t scheduled to work due to reduction of hours, closure of a unit, furlough, or layoff, then the provisions of EFML do not apply to you. This new leave is available for use April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 and may not be carried over into calendar year 2021.
- How much EFML can I request?
A. You may request up to but no more than 12 weeks of EFML if you are unable to work or telework for one of the qualifying reasons below. Please note that when you are taking leave for qualifying reason #5 above, EPSL and EFML will run concurrently. This means that all of the leave that you take to care for your child whose school/place of care is closed will count towards the 12-week total amount of EFML. Part-time employees are eligible for leave for the number of hours on average that the employee is normally scheduled to work during a two-week period.
- When can I request EFML?
A. You may request EFML if you are unable to work or telework due to a need for leave to care for a minor child whose school, place of care, or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
- How much will I be paid while taking EFML?
A. The first 2 weeks of EFML are unpaid. You may choose to use any EPSL for which you are eligible, your own accrued paid annual, personal, sick, or compensatory leave, advanced sick leave, and/or additional sick leave (hourly employees) during the initial 2-week period
For the remaining weeks of EFML, you must exhaust all of your accrued paid annual, personal, sick, or compensatory leave first. Any accrued paid leave is paid at 100%. After exhausting accrued leave, you will be paid at two-thirds pay (up to $200 daily and $10,000 total). During this period, you can choose to request advanced sick leave or additional sick leave (hourly employees), if eligible, in order to “top up” the law-provided ⅔ pay, thus maintaining your full pay rate.
- What is a “place of care”?
A. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a “place of care” is a physical location in which care is provided to your child such as daycare facilities, preschools, before and after school care programs, homes, summer enrichment programs, and respite care programs.
- Who is my “childcare provider”?
A. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a “childcare provider” is someone who cares for your child such as individuals paid to provide childcare on a regular basis like nannies, au pairs, and babysitters. It also includes individuals who provide childcare at no cost and without a license on a regular basis such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, or neighbors.
- Can more than one parent take EPSL or EFML simultaneously to care for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable?
A. You may take EPSL and/or EFML to care for your child only when you need to, and actually are, caring for your child when you are unable to work or telework. Generally, you do not need to take such leave if a co-parent, co-guardian, or your usual childcare provider is available to provide care.
- If my child’s school or place of care has moved to online instruction or to another model in which children are expected or required to complete assignments at home, is it “closed”?
A. Yes. If the physical location where your child received instruction or care is now closed, the school or place of care is considered “closed” for purposes of ESPL and EFML.
- May I take EFML intermittently?
A. Yes, EFML can be taken intermittently when both you and your manager agree upon a schedule.
- How do I request EFML and what documentation do I need to submit to support my request for leave?
A. To request EFML complete all sections of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave & Expanded Paid Family and Medical Leave form and after you sign the form, obtain your manager and department head/chair’s signature. Once complete, please submit the form to the Leave Management team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If additional information or documentation is needed, a leave consultant will contact you.
- Is the EFML in addition to any FML that I have already taken?
A. No. The EFML is not an additional 12 weeks of FML. The law simply adds an additional reason for which an employee can qualify for FML. If you have already taken FML during the 12-month period immediately prior to the start of your EFML leave for any other qualifying reason then you will only be able to request the balance of the 12 weeks. For example, if you took 4 weeks of FML earlier in the year to recover from surgery, you would only be entitled to request 8 weeks of EFML now to care for your minor child while their school is closed.
- Is testing mandatory?
A: Effective August 31, the University System of Maryland (USM) has issued a mandate that all students, faculty, and staff are required to take a COVID-19 test within 14 days prior to returning to campus.
- If someone has a family member that took a test because they were around someone that tested positive would they have to notify USG?
A: We ask that you notify your supervisor. HR recommends that you self-isolate for 14 days and monitor your symptoms should you believe you may be potentially exposed to the virus through your family member. We defer you to the supervisor to discuss this and come to a decision. Please note, it is important to keep the health and safety of all staff members in mind.
- If someone has tested positive how long before USG will let everyone know?
A: USG will not notify everyone. USG will work closely with the county's public health department for contact tracing. In the event you were in close proximity to the person who tested positive, you will be contacted.
- How often do we need to get a COVID-19 test?
A: USM is looking at how institutions should approach ongoing regular testing and how we should proceed with it. It has not been formalized yet and we are awaiting further guidance from the system.
- Is there a difference for employees who plan to be on campus regularly versus those only on campus occasionally?
A: It is not the frequency but the amount of time you spend on campus that is important. If you are stopping by to pick up items, mail etc. and would not be on campus for more than 15 minutes, you are not required to get tested.
- If I am working from home and I test positive, am I required to notify USG?
A: No. If you are not working on campus, you are not required to notify USG. Please follow the instructions from your health care provider. Should you need to seek leave options, you will need to notify your supervisor and contact the Office of Human Resources.
TIMESHEETS AND PAYROLL
- Should I continue completing my timesheets the same way while working online?
A: Yes, employees should continue to complete timesheets.
- If I don’t have direct deposit during online work environment measures, how do I receive my paycheck?
A: Currently, paper paychecks are distributed to the employee through their employing unit’s administrative office. If you do not have direct deposit of your paycheck, we strongly recommend that you enroll in the Payroll Direct Deposit program.
- Is there an extended deadline to submit PRD forms?
A: The deadline date for the submission of your PRD reports has been extended to May 15, 2020. This date may change based on circumstances.
Form I-9 Compliance
A: As of 03/20/2020, the Department of Homeland Security has announced flexibility in the requirements of Form I-9 compliance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement relaxes the requirement for employers to review Form I-9 documents in person.
- The change applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location no exceptions are allowed at this time.
- This policy change may be implemented for 60 days from 03/20/2020 or three business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.
- The I-9 creator may inspect Section 2 documents remotely via video link, fax, email, etc within three business days of the start date.
- The I-9 creator must retain copies of the Section 2 documents provided.
- A note stating “COVID-19” must be created documenting the reason for the physical document inspection delay.
- All employees onboarded using remote document verification must report to their employer for in-person document inspection within three business days of the return to normal operations.
- A note stating “Documents Physically Examined” and the date of physical inspection of the Section 2 documents must be created.
- This change also applies to the Section 3 Reverification requirement.
- Retirement Enrollment forms for New Hires, Retirement Applications, SRA Forms, etc - Information on where to send these forms can be found at https://uhr.umd.edu/coronavirus/retirement-forms-processing-guidelines-during-covid-19/
Payroll/Direct Deposit Forms
- Direct Deposit and W-4 forms can be mailed directly to Maryland State Central Payroll Bureau (CPB). The form should be mailed to:
Central Payroll Bureau, P.O. Box 2396, Annapolis, MD 21404. When completing the form, the employee MUST:
1. Check "University of Maryland" for the Payroll System
2. Write "360222" for the Agency Code
3. Write "UMCP" for the Agency Name
4. Check "Initiate" for Action
5. Complete ALL bank information as instructed on the form
6. Sign and date the form
- NRA forms (i.e W4, W9, CSF form) has to be original and submitted to NRA coordinator until further notice. Please contact Neetha Thomas in the Office of Human Resources for more information.
- If I contract COVID-19 while at work, am I covered by workers' compensation?
A: It depends on the nature of the employee’s job. If employees contract an illness that is common in the community, such as the flu, their job does not put them at any higher risk than the general public. In that case, it would not be covered by workers’ compensation. Some jobs, such as in health care, may create a much higher likelihood of becoming infected with an illness and may, therefore, be covered by workers’ compensation. The University encourages anyone who believes that an injury or illness is work-related to report it to their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources.
- If I am injured while teleworking, will workers' compensation cover me?
A: The University encourages anyone who believes that they have been injured while teleworking to report it to their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources.
DISCLOSURE AND CONFIDENTIALITY
- An employee in my unit is sick and is at work. Can I let other people know so that they can keep themselves from getting sick?
A: If a coworker has come to work sick, inform your own supervisor so that the supervisor can speak with the employee and direct them to go home. While it is important to be vigilant about preventing the spread of illness, no one should assume that a sick coworker has COVID-19. As with any confidential health information, do not under any circumstance disclose this information to anyone other than those who have an absolute and identifiable need to know.
- My coworker has told me that they have contracted COVID-19. I think that it is my responsibility to let my other coworkers know this information. Can I tell others?
A: No. As with any confidential health information, do not under any circumstance disclose this information to anyone other than those who have an absolute and identifiable need to know. Failing to follow this recommendation not only could result in an overreaction among other employees, but it may also violate confidentiality requirements, which in turn could lead to disciplinary action.
- Do we have a final updated "Working on the USG Campus" policy that can be distributed to Contractors? Where and what are those updated policies? If I'm a Contractor, that's what I would ask if someone started pushing "policy" requirements on me.
A: USG is adopting and leveraging UMCP's Contractor COVID-19 testing requirement(s). More information can be found at https://purchase.umd.edu/
- Are Contractors required to show proof of negative COVID-19 tests 14 days before they come on campus? If so, where is that mandate and who verifies/confirms the Contractors documents?
A: Not at this time. We are working with UMCP to determine whether or not we want to require our contractors to show proof of negative results. As more information becomes available, it will be communicated.
RESOURCES FOR MANAGING FEARS AND ANXIETY
As information about COVID-19 grows, there can be a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions. We understand this time can be stressful.
- For employees interested in support, please contact the UMCP Faculty Staff Assistance Program.
- Center For Counseling and Consultation
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
- How to Cope with Anxiety About Coronavirus
- UMD Virtual Meditation Program
- Mindfulness Practices -Video
The health and safety of each employee is paramount for the university. We will continue putting measures in place that prioritize our community’s health and prevent the spread of infection. If you have questions regarding employment, please talk with your supervisor or contact the Office of Human Resources Staff, Nitshu Joshi at email@example.com and/or Neetha Thomas at nthomas3@ umd.edu.