COVID-19 – Employee FAQ

LAST UPDATED:  Wednesday, April 1 – 6:55am

New question/answer in HEALTH AND WELL-BEING section

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information on the page does not necessarily apply to employees of Keck Medicine of USC. Similarly, faculty and staff of Keck School of Medicine of USC, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and USC School of Pharmacy, may have different requirements that apply, as may other departments and units. Your direct Human Resources partner will have the most accurate and applicable information that applies to your situation. USC staff and faculty from the University Park Campus (including dual campus employees), contract staff, volunteers, students, vendors, and all others who work or conduct business in any Keck Medicine facility or other clinical or patient service environments should be prepared to adhere to the guidelines of each facility.

The information below pertains specifically to employees; additional FAQ can be found as follows:

HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

The USC COVID-19 site contains Medical FAQ that are kept up-to-date based on the latest developments. Employees with questions are encouraged to visit this page for more information. If employees ever have questions about the impact of their medical status on their work, they should contact their supervisor and Human Resources Partner.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released information that individuals who are older and/or have severe chronic medical conditions — such as heart, lung, or kidney disease — appear to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. They are advising this higher risk population to take heightened precautions: stay home, limit close contact (6 feet, 2 meters) in public places, and avoid crowds. If it is necessary to be in public places, people in this risk category should distance themselves from those who are sick, limit close contact with others, and wash their hands frequently.

Employees at higher risk should discuss their condition with their personal health care provider. They should contact their Human Resources Partner to evaluate their specific situation for consideration of an accommodations plan to support their health and well-being.

Wearing face masks routinely is not recommended for people who are not sick. Although employees will generally not be limited from wearing a mask while working, all cases will be reviewed to ensure wearing a mask does not pose a safety or other operational risk for that employee’s specific job duties. The university supplies masks to employees when use is required or recommended by USC Environmental Health and Safety.

With some limitations, yes. Generally, the university requires an employee to submit a doctor’s note that provides documentation of a disabling condition, explains the functional limitations, and recommends reasonable accommodations. During the current pandemic, we should minimize the extent to which health care resources are utilized for administrative purposes. Additionally, our employees may have difficulty obtaining doctor’s notes at this time. For these reasons, if, through the normal interactive process, it is determined that the accommodation can reasonably be implemented, it should be approved without requiring a doctor’s note. If there are concerns about the reasonableness of the request, or if there are concerns about the legitimacy of the employee’s representations, please contact Randall Ong (randallo@usc.edu or 213-821-8120), USC’s Disability Accommodations Coordinator before moving forward.

Each insurance plan page in the Gateway includes a box at the top of the page with any coronavirus-related updates. See:

https://employees.usc.edu/epo/

https://employees.usc.edu/ppo/

https://employees.usc.edu/hmo/

https://employees.usc.edu/kaiser-hmo/

https://employees.usc.edu/verdugo-hills-ppo/

TRAVEL

The USC COVID-19 site contains a Travel section that is kept up-to-date based on the latest developments. Employees with questions about travel are encouraged to visit this page for more information.

WORKING FROM HOME, WORKING IN THE OFFICE

Given the rapid changes to the pandemic response, no one is sure the exact date we will be able to welcome all of our employees back to campus. Our employees will not be returning mid-April, as we had earlier hoped. We will let them know when they can return to work safely on campus.

During challenging times like the one we are in with the COVID-19 situation, it becomes essential to launch our business continuity plans to ensure we continue to provide essential services to the USC community. As part of business continuity planning, each department/unit goes through the process of identifying the roles that are essential to continuing to prove services such as housing and medical care, and thus must be performed in the place of work rather than at home. These employees who are required to continue working in the office are considered essential workers. Those employees who can perform their work from home, or whose work is reduced or eliminated during situations like these, are classified as non-essential.

It is a measure of social responsibility to follow the guidance of medical professionals to limit unnecessary gathering.

As was communicated in the March 13 communications from university leadership, for those staff and student workers whose work cannot be performed from home, the university will allow a minimum of 20 days of paid administrative leave, which will be re-evaluated as the situation continues to evolve.

USC implemented social distancing guidelines to protect the Trojan Family and the entire community. As such, non-essential roles are required to work from home.

Supervisors should determine whether temporary employees are essential or non-essential workers. If non-essential and the work can be completed from home, then they can work from home.

Neither national, state, nor local medical experts have opined that it is unsafe for essential employees to come to work. Rather, it is socially responsible to limit unnecessary gathering. Essential workers are encouraged to use social distancing practices, including keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others and moving to conference calls or video conferencing rather than in-person meetings, and managers are expected to establish flexible work schedules. Additionally, increased cleaning regimens are being implemented in areas where essential employees will be working.

Employees should reach out to their supervisor and Human Resources Partner with ideas and recommendations to supplement social distancing practices that are already being implemented.

The ITS Keep Working resource site contains information for working remotely, including information about Zoom, an online platform for hosting web conferencing. If other technical questions arise, ITS can be reached at 213-740-5555 or consult@usc.edu.

Yes, employees working from home who are injured while performing work duties may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The reporting process is the same as if working on campus and begins with the employee notifying their supervisor. The workers’ compensation documentation must be completed, and Broadspire, our claims company, must be called at 800-495-2315.

If an employee contracts COVID-19 while performing work functions, a workers’ compensation claim can be submitted, which will go through the standard claim decision-making process.

COVID-19 TECHNOLOGY WORK FROM HOME STIPEND

The COVID-19 Technology Work From Home Stipend is $53 per month for employees who are working from home. It is to cover a reasonable percentage of the cell phone, internet expenses and other technology expenses that may be generated by working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

No, employees who already receive a mobile allowance are generally not eligible for the COVID-19 Technology Work from Home Stipend.

No, employees with university-issued equipment that includes a working internet hotspot are generally not eligible for the COVID-19 stipend.

In partnership with their Human Resources Partner, the supervisor or manager of each department and unit will identify those work from home employees who should be paid a COVID-19 technology stipend. Eligible employees who are working from home will not need to do anything to ensure they are paid the stipend.

 

Employees who believe that the stipend does not cover the reasonable costs they actually incur  must maintain accurate records of such charges and submit them via the approved channels as per university policy. See the university’s Reimbursements (Expenditures) policy.

Employees should contact their department’s Human Resources Partner with any questions about eligibility.

 

Yes, stipends are taxable income.

PAY

University Payroll Services will mail paper payroll checks (on cycle and off cycle paychecks) directly to employees via USPS. All employees are encouraged to verify and update their home address as needed in Workday to ensure they receive their live paychecks in a timely manner and to maintain social distancing.

Employees can sign up for direct deposit in Workday. During the COVID-19 situation, direct deposit will be active within 48 hours of an employee’s enrollment. To sign up for direct deposit, please follow the steps in this guide.

Please refer to the following chart:

Pay Period EIBs due to HRIS Allowance entries complete
Monthly Payroll Wednesday, March 18 Friday, March 20
University Biweekly Wednesday, April 1 Friday, April 3

Yes, employees can take accrued vacation time with supervisor approval, as per usual.

If employees are sick, we encourage them to take sick days to recover.

PAID ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE

COVID-19 Administrative Leave is only for employees who are unable to work from home and are not on any other type of leave. Employees who can work from home should track their time as usual. If they cannot work due to illness, then that time should be coded as sick time. If they are taking a day off and not working from home, then that time off should be coded as vacation, etc.

All exempt and non-exempt employees who are unable to work from home and who report their time off in Workday and Kronos should request the COVID-19 Administrative Leave (Paid Hours). As with other time off requests, this will route to the employee’s manager for approval.

No, the COVID-19 Administrative Leave is a 20-day leave for this current period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yes, employees can use COVID-19 Administrative Leave in hourly increments. For example, an employee on an 8 hour schedule could work for 5 hours, and also use COVID-19 Administrative Leave for the other 3 hours of that day. Please note the Leave is only available for 20 days through April 12.

Leaders in areas that use either of these systems will communicate the specific instructions on how to track these hours to their exempt and non-exempt employees who are unable to work from home.

The current paid administrative leave is for a minimum of 20 days with a commitment to re-evaluate this as the situation continues to evolve.

STUDENT WORKERS

All student workers are to record their hours as per their normal process in the payroll system(s) to which they are assigned, just as they would have prior to COVID-19.

Yes. All student workers, including federal work study students, should continue to log their normally scheduled hours into their payroll system (e.g., Workday, Kronos, etc.).

No, all student workers should document their hours as per their normal timekeeping practices.

Time already submitted for student workers using the COVID-19 time off code should be re-classed to regular hours. Please remember the deadline for Workday timesheet changes is 5am Friday morning.

Student workers are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during the semester and can be scheduled to work up to 40 hours during winter, spring, or summer break. During this situation, students will continue to be paid for the number of hours they are normally scheduled to work. For example, a student worker who is normally scheduled to work 2 hours per day, should continue to log 2 hours per day in their department’s payroll system.

CHILD CARE

USC child care centers are following guidance from the CDC, World Health Organization, and local health authorities. Families have been advised of additional restrictions to keep the children, families, and staff in our centers safe and healthy.

Yes, even with the recent announcements by Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti, the child care centers are considered essential services and thus will remain open. If at any time anything changes, parents will be notified immediately.

USC and Bright Horizons work together to ensure timely communication with the families enrolled in their programs. Parents are encouraged to ensure their center has the family’s most current contact information and local emergency contact.

Yes. For employees who must come into the office and require back-up child care, it is available through Bright Horizons (first time users, click on "First time user" at the bottom, then on the sign up page use username: USoCal, password: Benefits4You). Bright Horizons can also be reached at 877-BHCares (877-242-2737).

Employees also may access Sittercity, a web resource that can be used to find child care. Click here to access Sittercity, then click on “Use it” next to “Find Sitter, Nannies and Housekeepers.”

USC has secured the following co-pays through Bright Horizons:

  • $15 per day per child
  • $25 per day for 3 or more children
  • $6 per hour should you require in-home child care

Crisis care is activated by USC’s child care provider, Bright Horizons, in emergency situations. When activated, employees enrolled in back-up care through Bright Horizons may secure their own child care and be reimbursed up to $100 per day.

Employees will need to sign up for back-up care through Bright Horizons (first time users, click on "First time user" at the bottom, then on the sign up page use username: USoCal, password: Benefits4You). Bright Horizons can also be reached at 877-BHCares (877-242-2737).

Employees can also access Sittercity, a web resource that can be used to find child care. Click here to access Sittercity, then click on “Use it” next to “Find Sitter, Nannies and Housekeepers.”

This information must be designated through Bright Horizons. For instructions, please click HERE.

Parents must submit a Crisis Care Request for Reimbursement Form. For more details on the crisis care program, including the reimbursement form, click HERE.

Yes. Childcare is limited to children 6 years and under.

No. Please visit the Bright Horizons website for more information on locations as age limits may vary by location.

If an employee is not able to work due to having to care for their children during school closures, they can take time off under FMLA’s relaxed standards for the COVID-19 situation. As a reminder, FMLA is for time off only, not wage replacement.

UNIVERSITY SERVICES (BUILDING ACCESS, PARKING, DINING, MAIL, ETC.)

In accordance with local, county, and state “stay at home” directives, President Folt and Provost Zukoski announced that UPC and HSC buildings will remain locked, with access only to authorized faculty and staff who are performing essential services. Access requires physical keys or key cards.

Employees who do not have access should contact their building’s facilities manager to arrange access. Please do not contact the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for access. DPS should only be contacted for emergencies.

The building facilities manager can arrange access for contractors and vendors.

Faculty and staff in essential roles who are working at the UPC campus and have any of the following UPC structure permits - Downey, Royal, McCarthy, Figueroa, Flower, Grand or Shrine - may park in any of those facilities until further notice.

NOTE: The UPC Jefferson Structure is not included, nor are the HSC structures as those support medical facilities and are operating as normal. The Biggy and San Pablo Structures at HSC are staffed on a reduced schedule, between the hours of 7am-3pm.

Yes; for employees who are working from home and not using their permits, prorated refunds are being issued retroactive to March 16 for all employees who complete this online qualtrics form before midnight on Friday, April 3. Requests received after 12:01 Saturday morning, April 4, will only receive a prorated refund as of the date requested. Please see USC Transportation’s COVID-19 page here for their most recent news and updates.

Also, transit passes for the month of April may be cancelled by sending a form to our Rideshare Coordinator Maira Meza (mezaolve@usc.edu) before March 30. Requests received after that date can only be cancelled for May or beyond.  We are also working with Metro to determine if prorated refunds offered for their monthly program participants also apply to our corporate program.

We have established temporary coupon codes that transit program participants can use to park in specific locations at both UPC and HSC free of charge if they do not want to use public transportation during this COVID situation. All transit program participants (approx. 2,200) have been sent a direct email with detailed instructions. To date, nearly 200 program participants at both campuses have used a coupon code in the 48 hours since they were established. If you did not receive this email, please contact USC Transportation at 213-740-3575.

Information on services and locations provided during the work from home period can be found here.

Due to the changes to building accessibility, mail delivery is no longer supported as a standard service. Instead, the Mailing & Material Management Services (MMMS) team will hold mail until the university resumes normal operations. Any department that wants to pick up its mail instead of having it held should have its department’s mail coordinator respond to the MMMS survey that was distributed via email on March 16 and 20.

Employees with packages that are scheduled for delivery or are en route from FedEx, UPS or other third-party delivery companies should contact the carrier to reschedule or re-route the delivery.

If needed, deliveries can be routed to Mail & Material Management Services, which will remain accessible for business deliveries Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm. If you elect to deliver to Mail & Material Management Services, please send an email to mail7777@usc.edu with the carrier, tracking number and information needed to schedule the final pick-up or hold of the package.

The address to USC Mailing & Material Management Services is 3434 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90089-7777.

University Club will be cancelling the dues payroll deduction for members for March monthly and university biweekly pay period ending 3/18/2020.

RETIREMENT PLAN LOANS, HARDSHIP AND OTHER DISTRIBUTIONS

The Benefits Office is working remotely so the best way to submit your forms is by scanning and emailing your document to the HR Service Center at uschr@usc.edu. You will receive a confirmation email with an assigned case number. Please be sure to include your contact information so the Benefit Partner can reach you if additional information is required.

If you have already mailed or faxed your form to the Benefits Office, we are working to get those documents scanned through the HR Service Center but please know there might be a delay in processing your request.

Please do not attempt to hand-deliver your documents. The offices are not accessible to you until further notice.

I-9 VERIFICATIONS

Yes, for the next 60 days, ICE has temporarily relaxed standards for in-person verifications. All those responsible for I-9 verifications should complete onboarding as follows:

  • As usual, inspect the Section 2 acceptable documents. This can now be done remotely (e.g., via web conference, fax, email, etc.). Please recommend that the new employee send copies of this documentation in a password-protected format if possible (i.e., password-protected PDF).
  • As usual, obtain this documentation within the first three days of employment.
  • NEW: Enter “COVID-19” in the Section 2 “Additional Information” field, as the reason for the delay in physical inspection.
  • When physical verification is able to be done, the affected new hires must report to the department I-9 processor within three business days for in-person verification of acceptable documents so that we can update either Section 2 “additional information” or Section 3 with “documents physically examined on {date}.”
  • Process as usual.
17+
Contact the editors

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for all this information. Also, thank you for being so generous and humane with these policies (especially paying our student workers for the rest of the semester). This is an incredibly stressful time, and I feel very fortunate to work at USC!

  2. When you make updates to this wonderful document, could you somehow indicate the portion that is new? That would be very helpful. Thank you.

Comment

Employee update on Novel Coronavirus