COVID-19 – Employee FAQ

LAST UPDATED:  Thursday, July 9 – 10:55am

Recent updates to the following sections: Working from Home/Working on Campus and Trojans Helping Trojans

 

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 information can be found as follows:

BENEFITS – HEALTH CARE AND MENTAL HEALTH

  • Employees enrolled in the USC Trojan Care EPO and USC PPO plans will have the care they receive covered if diagnosed as having COVID-19. Out-of-pocket expenses for the focused test used to diagnose COVID-19 will also be waived.
  • Employees enrolled in the Anthem HMO health plan will have the care and treatment they receive covered if diagnosed with COVID-19. Anthem will also waive out-of-pocket expenses for the focused test used to diagnose COVID-19 and for the care visit where the test takes place.
  • For employees enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente HMO, cost sharing (deductibles, copayments and coinsurance) will be reduced to zero ($0.00) for medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 including the visit, associated lab testing, and radiology services in a plan hospital, emergency or urgent care setting, or medical office. If a member is diagnosed with COVID-19, all treatment including but not limited to hospital, transportation and pharmacy services will be covered in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the coverage document for the member’s health plan.

All employees and their dependents enrolled in the aforementioned plans through USC will receive the COVID-19 coverage outlined above.

  • At this time, employees enrolled in the USC Trojan Care EPO and USC PPO plans are required to pay their standard co-pay for consultation.
  • Employees enrolled in the Anthem HMO and MyChoice Anthem HMO can access virtual care at no out-of-pocket cost. More information can be found here.
  • Kaiser Permanente members can connect to care anytime, anywhere. To make an appointment, call 1-833-KP4CARE (1-833-574-2273) or 711 (TTY), M-F from 7am-7pm. Employees can also schedule appointments online at kp.org/getcare or with the Kaiser Permanente app.

  • The Center for Work and Family Life is open and available to help USC faculty and staff with mental health-related concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Highly-trained clinicians are available to discuss employee well-being, stress, anxiety, and other behavioral health issues. The phone lines are open, and Center staff members are currently scheduling remote session appointments by Zoom and teleconference for any staff, faculty, their families, and retirees. For more information, visit the Mental Health Resources page.
  • Employees enrolled in the USC Trojan Care EPO and USC PPO have access to Lyra Mental Health, which provides care for mental/emotional health at no cost. For more information, visit lyrahealth.com or see Coping with the Coronavirus Epidemic.
  • Employees enrolled in Anthem HMO and MyChoice Anthem HMO should contact their health care providers to see what mental health care options are available.
  • Employees enrolled in Kaiser Permanente HMO plan have access to mental health and wellness services and support. See kp.org for more information.
  • All employees should check the weekly Gateway Connect email, and the front page of the Employee Gateway, for regularly-scheduled mental health breaks/opportunities offered by a variety of campus entities.

BENEFITS – RETIREMENT PLANS

Yes, employees can request retirement plan loans and distributions, as the COVID-19 pandemic is a qualifying event.

To take a loan against their retirement accounts, employees should contact their retirement plan provider:

For information on hardship distributions, and any other questions related to retirement plans, please contact the HR Service Center at uschr@usc.edu or 213-821-8100 M-F from 8am-6pm.

WORKING FROM HOME, WORKING ON CAMPUS

Our progress through the phases of Project Restart will not follow a calendar schedule. Instead, those decisions will be based on conditions on and around campuses, the continued spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles, and the need to adhere to federal, state, and local guidance.

For now, the great majority of our Trojan community should continue working remotely.

During times when USC must follow its business continuity plans, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University must distinguish between essential roles and work from home roles. Essential roles are those that allow USC to maintain continuity of critical operations to support our community. For example, providing housing and meal services to students living in University housing or providing medical care. These are roles that cannot be completed from home, thus requiring employees in these roles to work in University locations. All other roles that can be completed from home without affecting critical University functions are work from home.

COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave was provided through June 30, 2020 for those staff whose work could not be performed from home. As of July 1, those who cannot yet return to campus have been placed on unpaid administrative leave. See the COVID-19 Employee Resource Guide for details.

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.

USC is determining when employees can return to work based on conditions on and around campuses, the continued spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles, and the need to adhere to federal, state, and local guidance. Each school and department has been asked to submit for approval its own phased campus restart plan that adheres to the University’s guidelines. This ensures that we are able to think through an exhaustive list of contingencies and school-specific needs, and that we remain nimble, ready to move forward – or if needed, back – through each phase as conditions dictate and with the health and safety of our community at the forefront.

When employees are asked to return to work, they will be required to complete a TrojanLearn training module and daily Trojan Check process. Additionally, it will be required that all members of the USC community adhere to health, hygiene and safety guidelines such as maintaining physical distancing, wearing a face covering, limiting unnecessary gathering, and leveraging conference calls or video conferencing rather than in-person meetings. Managers are expected to establish flexible work schedules. Cleaning regimens are being implemented in areas where employees will be working.

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, employee may submit a workers’ compensation claim, which will go through the standard claim decision-making process. Access the workers’ compensation claim form HERE.

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.

Those with university-issued equipment who must still use personal internet for internet access are eligible for the COVID-19 stipend.

No. Employees with university-issued equipment that allows them to connect to the internet without any personal charge (for example, those with a university-issued laptop that connects to the internet via a hot spot on their university-issued phone) 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.

 

The stipend is retroactively effective to March 16, 2020.

Yes, stipends are taxable income.

PAY

Payroll Services is mailing all paper checks. Please ensure your address is updated in Workday. We highly encourage everyone to set up direct deposit.

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.

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.

STUDENT WORKERS

CHILD CARE

USC child care centers are doing the following to protect our littlest Trojans:

  • Following all guidance from the CDC and local health authorities;
  • Staffing to ensure they adhere to social distancing mandates;
  • Adhering to additional safety and cleanliness precautions, including temperature screenings for anyone entering their facilities, including both children and employees.

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. The 30-day notification for withdrawal has been waived. If parents are interested in re-enrolling their children for the fall semester, they will need to pay the $100 registration fee. Re-enrollment for the fall semester would need to take place within 14 calendar days of the end of the COVID-19 work from home period. More information about this due date will be communicated as changes in state, county, and local mandates are confirmed.

Tuition has been suspended for registered families who are now home with their children and are not using Bright Horizons services. For these parents, tuition for the last half of March will be applied as a credit to their Bright Horizons account for future child care. Parents who do not re-enroll with Bright Horizons will have their credit reimbursed.

Yes, employees whose child care center is closed or who do not need child/dependent care at this time because they are working from home are able to suspend their dependent flexible spending account, as these situations meet the criteria for a qualifying event. To do this, please log in to Workday and follow these instructions on the Employee Gateway.

For employees who must come into the office and require back-up child care, it may be 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). NOTE: Benefits may vary by location, and some employees are governed by contracts that do not include these benefits; check directly with Bright Horizons.

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.”

During this situation, the limit on days of back-up care has been waived.

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

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

During the pandemic, USC has waived the limit on days that parents can access back-up care.

Yes, Bright Horizons still has capacity in many of its centers. Please note that due to the increase in demand for back-up care, you may experience delays in reaching the Bright Horizons registration service via phone or web. Bright Horizons is actively working to reduce these delays and suggests registering through its smartphone apps (iOS or Android).

No, crisis care is no longer active.

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.

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

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.

Parking permit fees have been suspended for all employees through July 31.

So that essential employees working on campus during the pandemic can park as close to their offices as possible, employees with 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.

Employees may cancel their transit pass for May or beyond by emailing Rideshare Coordinator Maira Meza.

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. Questions should be directed to mail7777@usc.edu.

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.

TROJANS HELPING TROJANS

The COVID-19 Employee Resource Guide includes a great deal of information for employees who have been placed on unpaid leave. In addition, employees who need help - or wish to help other employees - should consider the Employee Support Fund, or the new Major Disaster Leave Sharing plan.

Employees are encouraged to reach out to their HR Partner, who will connect them with opportunities for support.

HIRING AND ONBOARDING

To protect the health and well-being of our students, employees and candidates, the university is putting a temporary pause on hiring activity for all positions, including those that are vacant as of April 1, 2020. The exceptions to this are emergency positions, healthcare positions, grant-funded positions, fundraising positions, and regulatory-funded positions.

The USC Onboarding and Orientation program is offered online for the time being. Please direct questions to the HR Service Center.

The temporary pause does not affect emergency positions, healthcare positions, research positions, funding positions, or grant-funded or regulatory-required positions. If you are concerned about an open position, please contact your Human Resources Partner.

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.
26+
Contact the editors

9 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.

  3. Hello, what happens to us Hospitality workers who can’t work from home after June 1st? And what about high risk employees, will usc recommend them stay home?

  4. What if your dept is already talking about cutting hours or days due to budget cuts but it is all due to the COVID pandemic and they are already stating we can use vacation for the hours or days we will be short.
    Some do not have enough accruals to use therefore it will be without pay. And they plan to do this AFTER JUNE 1 when the COVID ADMIN leave will end.
    What are the options to use for the short days and hours all due to COVID?

  5. Hello, any updates on student workers? The whole section has been removed. What will happen to them in Fall2020?

    • We removed the student worker Q&A as they referenced the Spring 2020 semester; information for Fall 2020 is in development and as soon as it’s available we will post it here.

Comment