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Coronavirus Employee Resources

Latest Update: August 5, 2020 at 4 p.m.. | Updated: Managers, Supervisors and Timekeepers

Managers, Supervisors and Timekeepers

What if I need guidance on an HR or employee matter?

If you ever need assistance or are in doubt about an employee issue consult your HR business partner.

What should I do if an employee does not follow the university’s established protocols during COVID-19 such as the face covering/mask protocol?

All employees are expected comply with the university’s health strategies including wearing face coverings. Supervisors should communicate regularly with their employees about these protocols as they will go a long way to keep our environment safe. Failure to adhere to these protocols place our community at risk and may be subject to disciplinary action. 

Managers play a critical role in ensuring the safety of their employees, as well as the general Tulane community, by taking the appropriate steps to address non-compliance situations whether you observe the behavior and/or it may be reported to you.  It is important that you respond quickly and appropriately to those situations. 

Please review the Manager’s Guide for Addressing Non-Compliance During COVID-19 for more information.

What steps should I take if an employee reports they suspect they may have COVID-19 or have been confirmed positive with COVID-19?

You should follow this four-step plan when addressing a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case:

  • Isolate/Quarantine Suspected or Confirmed Employees
     
    • The employee who is either suspected of having COVID-19 or confirmed positive should remain at home until released by a physician or public health official. If a medical note releasing the employee is unavailable, follow the CDC guidelines on when an employee may discontinue self-isolation, which contain specific requirements dependent upon whether the employee tested positive for COVID-19 and the symptoms exhibited.
    • If available, offer COVID-19 leave, advise FMLA paperwork will be forthcoming, and notify the timekeeper of the start date of the leave.
    • Notify Tulane’s Leave Coordinator or HR business partner to send FMLA paperwork to the employee.
       
  • Address and Isolate Employees Working Near an Employee Suspected of Having COVID-19 or Confirmed Infected Co-Worker
     
    • Contact Scott Tims in Campus Health, your leader, and an HR business partner to discuss the course of action.
    • The HR business partner will notify Tulane’s Workers’ Compensation office who will work with the supervisor to determine the Workers’ Compensation process.
    • Tulane’s contact tracer will determine who worked closely with the suspected/confirmed infected employee. Generally, a person who was within 6 feet of the employee for 15 minutes or more may need to be sent home and quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines to ensure the infection does not spread. While quarantined, those employees should self-monitor for symptoms, avoid contact with high-risk individuals and seek medical attention if symptoms develop.
    • Please note that the CDC has developed alternative guidelines for critical workers, such as healthcare workers. In these cases, asymptomatic employees who have been directly exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 can continue to work if certain guidelines are met. The CDC may issue even further guidance once businesses begin to reopen, as evidenced by this brand new webpage devoted to reopened businesses.
       
  • Clean and Disinfect Your Workplace
     
    • After a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the workplace including cleaning and disinfecting all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill person, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
       
  • Notify Your Employees
     
    • Following a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, and as recommended by the CDC, notify all employees who work in the location or area where the employee works of the situation without revealing any confidential medical information such as the name of the employee. Inform employees of the actions you have taken, including requiring employees who worked closely to the infected worker to go home. Let employees know about your sanitizing and cleaning efforts and remind them to seek medical attention if they exhibit symptoms. The failure to notify employees at your location of a confirmed case may be a violation of OSHA’s general duty clause, which requires all employers to provide employees with a safe work environment.
What guidance should I follow when an employee reports that they are ready to return to work after testing positive for COVID-19 or caring for an ill family member who was positive?

If the employee is able to work remotely, supervisors should allow them to do so. Employees returning to work should secure permission from their supervisor before returning to a Tulane work site. The university follows CDC guidelines for employees returning to work. The CDC offers different strategies intended to be applied as appropriate based on local conditions and operational needs. Please consult with your HR business partner if you have questions.

For Timekeepers: How do I update Kronos to capture COVID-19 leave?

Instructions for using the COVID-19 leave pay code in Kronos can be found here.

 

COVID-19 Accessibility Request FAQs

What types of accommodations can I request and who do I need to contact?

Reasonable accommodations can take many forms, from modifying the physical layout of an office space, to providing protective equipment or assistive technology, to a flexible schedule or remote work. Whether an accommodation is considered reasonable depends on several factors, including the requirements of your particular job.  If you’d like to talk about different types of accommodations before you decide whether to apply for them, you can schedule a call or Zoom meeting with Kathryn Lafrentz to discuss options.

For all inquiries related to COVID-19, faculty should start by consulting with Kathryn Lafrentz, ADA/504 coordinator.  Staff should start by consulting with the HR business partner.  The ADA/504 coordinator and HR business partner will then make appropriate referrals, as needed.

What medical conditions would qualify as a disability in the context of COVID-19?

If you have a medical condition that places you at higher risk from COVID-19, you may be a qualified individual with a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and you may be entitled to reasonable accommodations at work. There is no exhaustive list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities under the ADA; however, if you have an underlying medical condition that puts you at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, we recommend that you talk to Kathryn Lafrentz about the possibility of accommodations. You can be qualified for accommodations even if you have never requested them before, and if your needs change, you can discontinue or modify your accommodations at any time.

What if I have no underlying health conditions, but I have a family member that does, and I am concerned about exposing them to COVID-19?

If the medical conditions that form the basis for your request are those of family member, not your own, the request does not fall under the ADA/504.  However, there are two other avenues you could take for such requests.

The first option would be to refer you to the FMLA Coordinator, Bunnie Sylve.  You may be eligible for job-protected family medical leave as covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) based on the serious medical condition of a close family member.  FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave within a rolling 12-month period; FMLA leave may be taken intermittently or in block form.  If you wish to continue working (just remotely), FMLA leave may not be your preferred option.

The second option is to refer your request as a non-ADA job modification. For faculty, during the COVID-19 return to work process, the academic dean’s offices are working to process these types of requests in consultation with the HR business partner.  For staff, these requests are processed by department supervisors in consultation with the HR business partner.

What if I am worried about childcare options?

If you do not have an underlying medical condition that places you at higher risk from COVID-19, but you do have concerns related to childcare, your request would not fall under the ADA/504.  In that case, the request will be processed as a non-ADA job modification.

What if I am over the age of 65 but do not have any underlying health conditions that place me at higher risk from COVID-19?

Unfortunately, unlike the ADA/504, the federal age discrimination statute (ADEA) does not have provisions for reasonable accommodations. That means that employees who request a job modification based on age alone are not entitled to them under the law, even though they are at higher risk from COVID-19 per the CDC guidelines. That said, the university recognizes the risk posed by the virus and is trying to reduce that risk wherever possible, in some cases by providing remote work opportunities.

What is the process of requesting accommodations due to an underlying medical condition that places me at higher risk from COVID-19?

If you would like to move forward with requesting accommodations, the application has two steps: 1) fill out the Employee Reasonable Accommodations Request Form; and 2) provide documentation from your medical provider regarding your condition. 

Once we have your completed request form and medical documentation, Kathryn Lafrentz may reach out to you for more information about your job duties or other aspects of your request. For faculty, a physical presence on campus is typically considered an essential function of the job. That said, requests for reasonable accommodations (including remote work) are considered on a case-by-case basis and involve an interactive process in which we consider the facts of your individual situation.

What does my doctor’s letter need to say?

If you decide to request reasonable accommodations under the ADA/504, your request and medical documentation will be submitted directly to Kathryn Lafrentz. The medical documentation should ideally be in the form of a letter from your doctor or other medical provider (signed/dated/on letterhead) which confirms your medical condition/symptoms, gives their anticipated duration (if known), and describes the functional limitations imposed by the condition that could affect your work. If your provider is comfortable recommending accommodations that could help you at work, please ask them to include that information in the letter.

Your doctor can email the documentation directly to klafrentz@tulane.edu, or you can provide it to Kathryn Lafrentz yourself – whatever is most convenient. We will keep any medical documentation you submit in a confidential file, separate from your general HR personnel file.

Will asking for accommodations affect my ability to be promoted or have negative effects on my job? Could it affect my eligibility for any other service, teaching, or employment considerations at Tulane?

Under the ADA/504, there can be no adverse employment action resulting from a person’s choice to request accommodations or file a discrimination complaint based on a disability.
 
Apart from receiving requested accommodations, an employee with a disability should not be treated differently with regard to any aspect of employment.  The ADA strictly prohibits disability discrimination in all areas of employment, including (but not limited to) hiring, performance improvement/conduct proceedings, termination, promotion, work-related travel, and professional development.  

A person with a disability who is receiving accommodations can be terminated if they are no longer qualified for the job, or are not meeting the performance and conduct standards required of all Tulane employees.  However, those employment standards must be applied equitably across the board; a person with a disability should not be held to higher standards or subject to stricter scrutiny than non-disabled peers.

Who has access to the information that I share? Will you share this information with anyone outside of the university?

Your request and any documentation will be kept in a confidential file, separate from your general HR personnel file.

We do not share information about a person’s ADA application or medical condition outside of the university, unless that information is discoverable/subpoenaed as part of a legal proceeding.  The only other circumstance where that action would be warranted would be an emergency where the requestor told us that they posed an immediate risk of serious bodily harm to themselves or other people.

What does my supervisor/department chair need to know about my request?

We will ask for your permission before speaking to anyone else, including your supervisor/department chair, regarding your request.  Your chair should keep the fact that you are requesting accommodations (as well as the reason for the request) confidential and should not request any medical documentation from you.

Once we receive medical documentation and determine that you are ADA qualified, we will consult with your chair and academic dean about the requirements of your job and the needs of your department but will not share the medical basis for your request with them.

 

Temporary Emergency COVID-19 Paid Leave

For what purpose can employees use COVID-19 leave?

Eligible employees may use COVID-19 leave for:

  • Self-quarantine, isolation or family care needs related to COVID-19 exposure/illness,
  • Caring for children that are at home due to the K-12 school or daycare closures. Note: this is primarily intended for employees that are unable to work remotely although COVID-19 leave may be used to offset the hours remote workers are reasonably unable to work due to childcare issues such as inability to work a full adjusted schedule,
  • An employee is unable to work all of the hours in a work day due to a reduced schedule as a result of staggering shifts put in place to maintain social distancing.
  • Other reasonably related COVID-19 circumstances (as determined in Tulane's discretion)

This special type of leave is neither sick nor vacation. Any unused COVID-19 leave will not accrue or be paid upon separation.

Is COVID-19 leave available to me if I am able to work remotely, but my children are home because of school/day care closures?

When the schools/day cares closed, leadership recognized the potential hardship created for many employees. We have employees with functions that require them to physically report to work for Tulane’s essential work to continue. These workers could not leave their children without supervision, thus one of the reasons for the COVID-19 leave was to provide temporary pay continuance for those unable to work remotely due to childcare issues. If an employee’s role allows them to work remotely, and they are also caring for children, we are recommending for leaders to work with employees to adjust schedules to the extent possible. This will allow for the supervision of children and further pay continuance without the use of COVID-19 leave so that it may be available should an illness occur. Should reasonable circumstances beyond the employee’s control cause hardship due to work demands and childcare, we are recommending consultation with your leader and/or HR business partner to discuss options, which may include the use of COVID-19 leave.

How do I request use of COVID-19 leave and how do I report it on my timesheet?

Employees must request COVID-19 leave through their Supervisors. Employees are not responsible for entering COVID-19 leave in Kronos. Supervisors must notify the timekeeper of the date the employee began COVID-19 leave. The timekeeper will enter the time in Kronos as COVID-19PL. Sick and vacation time not related to the coronavirus should be entered as normal in Kronos.

Are employees required to use sick or vacation leave if they are directed to stay home by a healthcare provider or government health agency due to COVID-19?

When possible, departments are encouraged to allow employees to work remotely if they are directed to stay home from work by a healthcare provider or government health agency due to COVID-19. For eligible employees who are unable to work remotely and are directed to stay home by a healthcare provider or government agency due to COVID-19, COVID-19 leave may be used first before other forms of leave (e.g. sick or vacation) are used.

What happens when I have exhausted COVID-19 leave?

When COVID-19 leave is exhausted, staff may use sick time. If sick time is exhausted, staff may use vacation time.

Supervisors may reach out to your HR business partner for further guidance if COVID-19 leave, sick time, and vacation time is exhausted.

Can I keep the COVID-19 leave if I do not use it during the COVID-19 outbreak?

No. Any unused COVID-19 leave will not accrue nor be paid upon separation of employment. COVID-19 leave may only be used for COVID-19 related circumstances. The purpose of the temporary emergency leave is to give employees the most flexibility during this fluid situation. These policies are subject to change.

 

Flexible Work Arrangements/Remote Work

What are Flexible Work Arrangements?

Flexible work arrangements, including working remotely, support the practice of social distancing. Supervisors are encouraged to develop and implement flexible work arrangements into their operations to help reduce the spread of the virus.

  • Supervisory approval is required for remote work and should be considered with the exception of critical work that cannot be done remotely, such as clinical operations. See the Transition to Remote Work document for more guidance.
  • Supervisors may also consider staggering start and end times or implementing compressed work weeks to further reduce the number of people working near one another.
  • Supervisors should be accommodating to employees who have been told by health professionals to self-quarantine. This may include working remotely or allowing employees to use COVID-19 leave to cover that period if the employee is unable to work.
  • Supervisors may assign alternative temporary duties outside of employees' normal job duties during this period, as a means to support on-going business continuity.
How long will the Flexible Work Arrangements be in effect?

We are continually reassessing our policies in light of the ongoing pandemic. The flexible work arrangements protocol is effective until further notice and is subject to change at the sole discretion of the university.

For Managers: How do I implement remote work in response to COVID-19?
  • Identify the roles that are critical to your departmental operations that cannot be performed remotely. Please review flexible work arrangements guidelines and collaborate with your designated HR business partner on next steps for such workers.
  • All other employees are expected to work remotely.
  • Determine if these employees can perform their existing duties remotely. If not, use your discretion to assign additional temporary duties so that employees have an appropriate work load. Document all changes to an employee’s temporary work responsibilities. Remind hourly employees to log work hours in Kronos. Contact your HR business partner if you have questions or feasibility concerns.
  • Assess technological capabilities for employees to perform remote work. Contact Information Technology and/or refer to Information Technology’s website for security and privacy protocols and guidance.
  • Take an inventory of the types of equipment your workers will need to work remotely and ensure they have access to them. This could include laptops, desktop computers, monitors, phones, printers, chargers, office supplies, and similar materials.
For Managers: How do I manage remote work?

There are a number of steps a manager can take to ensure that the temporary remote work time goes well for your department and Tulane.

  • From a functionality standpoint, you should tell your employees which communications platform the workers will be required to participate in. It could be email, Zoom Conferencing, or some other designated tool.
  • Managers should remain flexible and creative. Track overall productivity, not moment-by-moment activities.
  • Ensure clear expectations/responsibilities are set.
  • Other suggestions for effectively managing your remote team include:
    -Stay in regular communication with your team. Schedule regular conference calls or Zoom meetings;
    -Develop and distribute an agenda for conference call and meetings;
    -Prepare meeting minutes and task lists after virtual meetings are completed and follow up on task/assignments.
  • For resources visit the Linkedin Learning Work Anywhere Resources page.
For Employees: What do I do if I need to work remotely but my job duties cannot be performed remotely?

Your supervisor may be able to assign you additional temporary duties so that you have an appropriate work load. Make sure that you and your supervisor document all changes to your temporary work responsibilities. Non-exempt, hourly paid employees should clock in and out of Kronos as normal.

If your supervisor cannot assign you temporary duties that can be performed remotely and that are an appropriate work load you may need to use COVID-19 leave. If that has been exhausted then you may use sick time. If sick time is exhausted, then you may use vacation time. 

Note:  COVID-19 leave may not be used if you are able to work, whether in-person or remotely, but refuse to do so.

 

General

What if I think I have been exposed to COVID-19?
  • If you are sick, stay home and seek medical care.
  • If you are concerned that you may have contracted COVID-19, your healthcare provider will help you determine whether quarantine or isolation is needed.
  • If you are concerned about exposure, and are not working remotely, please notify your supervisor immediately.
  • If you do not have a primary care provider, please call the Louisiana Department of Health hotline at 1-855-523-2652.
What do I do if my healthcare provider tells me to self-quarantine?

If an employee is told by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, even if the employee is not symptomatic, the employee should stay home. If the employee is currently working from home and can continue to work, the employee will receive pay as normal based on the regular work schedule.

If the illness or quarantine prevents the employee from working, then the COVID-19 leave may be utilized. The employee should notify their supervisor as soon as possible of the need to self-quarantine.

What if I have been ill or caring for a family member who has COVID-19? What do I need to do to return to work?

We are following CDC guidelines for returning to work. Please stay in contact with your supervisor and secure permission before returning to work.

How can I stay current about university operations as it relates to COVID-19?

For the most updated information about university operations, please visit COVID-19 Response & Resources. Additionally, major announcements and updates will be sent to your Tulane email. You can also follow @Tulane on Twitter.

Has the due date to file federal income tax changed as a result of COVID-19?

Yes, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest. Visit the IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief web page for more details or consult with your tax advisor.

 

Health & Wellbeing

What Telemedicine/Virtual Visit options are available?

Telemedicine, sometimes referred to as virtual visits, allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. In an effort to protect both patients and staff during the COVID-19 outbreak, many health care providers are requiring certain visits to be performed virtually. We encourage this practice and have included the chart below to help you understand the differences between these virtual visits, and the recently added Teladoc option. Both options are covered within our plans.

In Person Office Visit

Traditional walk-in or by appointment visits to your provider's office

  • Both POS and HRA Plans: You pay a copay
  • HDHP: You pay the full cost of the visit until your deductible is met. After deductible is met you pay 20%.
Virtual Visits

Virtual appointment with your regular provider, set up by the provider's office.

  • Both POS and HRA Plans: You pay a copay
  • HDHP: You pay the full cost of the visit until your deductible is met. After deductible is met you pay 20%.
Teladoc

Teladoc is an independent company that provides 24/7/365 access to a board-certified physician through the convenience of phone or video consults. Visit www.teladoc.com or call 866-789-8155 to set up your account and log in with your username and password whenever you need a consult with a Teladoc physician.

  • Both POS and HRA Plans: $0 copay effective 4/01 for 90 days
  • HDHP: You pay the full cost of the visit until your deductible is met. After deductible is met you pay 20%.
Is testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) covered under Tulane’s medical Insurance?

COVID-19 testing is covered at 100% consistent with Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance where such testing is medically necessary not covered as part of the public health service. No co-pays apply and the deductible is waived on the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

What if I have difficulty getting my maintenance prescriptions?

The health plan will increase access to prescription medications by encouraging members to use their 90-day mail order benefit. The health plan will also ensure formulary flexibility if there are shortages or access issues. Patients will not be liable for additional charges that stem from obtaining a non-preferred medication if the preferred medication is not available due to shortage or access issues.  For more information on how to access the mail-order benefit, login to MyHealthToolkitla.com, click on Benefits, then 2020 Pharmacy Benefits. Once that opens, click on View your Pharmacy Benefits and this opens to your Optum page. There you can request the home delivery option for your prescriptions.

How are medical services for the coronavirus (COVID-19) covered under Tulane’s medical Insurance?

Prior authorizations will be waived for diagnostic tests and for covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance for members diagnosed with COVID-19. The health plan will make dedicated clinical staff available to address inquiries related to medical services, ensuring timeliness of responses related to COVID-19. BCBS will ensure patient testing and any subsequently needed care is done in close coordination with federal, state and public health authorities.

How can we help employees who are experiencing heightened anxiety around COVID-19 pandemic?

The Employee Assistance Program is available for faculty and staff seeking counseling or support to manage stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak. Crisis resources specific to COVID-19 can be found here. More information about Employee Assistance Programs can be found here. Employees can reach the counseling hotline at 833-848-1764. Tulane is our company code.

What assistance is available to employees who are traveling?

Travel assistance benefits are available to employees covered under The Standard life insurance plan, as well as their eligible dependents (spouse and children through age 25). If an employee or eligible dependent is traveling and has tested positive for COVID-19, their request would be treated like a standard medical case. If the individual is eligible for transport benefits, those benefits would be arranged in accordance with the departing and receiving country’s government clearance on flying. Pre-trip planning services as well as emergency transportation and medical assistance services if a person is traveling at least 100 miles from home or internationally for 180 days or less. Links to the travel assistance flyer and employee card are here for your convenience. We would encourage everyone to either keep the card with them, or put this information in their cell phone prior to any travel.

Travel Assistance - Employee Flyer

Travel Assistance Employee Card

Will one-on-one retirement plan counseling sessions with TIAA and Fidelity be available?

Both TIAA and Fidelity are suspending in-person meetings. Meetings already scheduled will be held telephonically.

 

Student Employees

Can students continue to work as student employees?

Tulane is doing everything possible to reduce the concentration of people on campus and at our workplaces. Our intention is to allow as many of our student employees as possible to work remotely, while continuing to carry out the essential work of the University. Students may continue to work on-site for critical work that may not be performed remotely. Students should contact their supervisors to discuss any modifications to shifts, schedules or remote work possibilities.

How can students find a job?

Students looking for work should contact the Student Employment Office, SEHR@tulane.edu or 504-247-1700 for assistance. They are also encouraged to search Jobs posted on https://www.collegecentral.com/tulane/.

I need to make an appointment to present my I-9 supporting documents, where can I go?

Students can email SEHR@tulane.edu for instructions on how to complete the I-9 verification through a remote process.