Employee COVID-19 FAQ

Learn about COVID-19 related leave pay from the USU Human Resources.

Can an employee who is symptomatic be required to go home?

Yes. A supervisor can and should require an employee who is ill to stay home to recover. Employees may qualify for paid leave benefits under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective 4/1/2020. Non-benefited employees may also qualify for special paid leaves during the outbreak.  For questions about reporting time away from work, email hr@usu.edu or contact the HR Solutions Center at 435 797-0122.

If an employee is self-isolating for symptoms that may indicate a COVID-19 infection, when can they return to work?

Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged by Utah public health officials to seek testing to confirm whether they have the virus. Individuals who are in self-isolation may leave isolation in accordance with CDC guidance.  In all cases, employees should follow the guidance of their healthcare provider and local health department. 

What if an ill employee is concerned about not coming to work because they do not have USU sick leave available?

For the present time, supervisors are authorized to approve telework and/or flexible schedules wherever possible for positions where work can be done remotely. For positions unsuitable for telework, USU is taking preventative efforts aimed at containing potential cases of COVID-19 by asking those who recently traveled and those who have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath – however mild – to stay home and practice social distancing which will protect those who continue to come to work. Employees who cannot telework and do not qualify for any COVID-19 related leave, may request USU annual leave. Individuals in need of ADA accommodations should contact HR.

This public health emergency affects everyone differently, and USU encourages all employees to support each other and to promote mental wellness during this time.

How will pay for non-benefited employees (with no accrued leave) be handled if they are symptomatic or asked to self-isolate?

Non-benefited employees may qualify for paid leave benefits under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective 4/1/2020. If an employee does not qualify for FFCRA leave, supervisors should contact email hr@usu.edu or contact the HR Solutions Center at 435 797-0122.

What if an employee is anxious about coming to work for fear of contracting COVID-19?

For the present time, supervisors are authorized to approve telework and/or flexible schedules wherever possible for positions where work can be done remotely. For positions unsuitable for telework, USU is taking preventative efforts aimed at containing potential cases of COVID-19 by asking those who recently traveled and those who have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath – however mild – to stay home and practice social distancing which will protect those who continue to come to school and work. Employees who cannot telework and do not qualify for any COVID-19 related leave, may request USU annual leave. Individuals in need of ADA accommodations should contact HR.

This public health emergency affects everyone differently, and USU encourages all employees to support each other and to promote mental wellness during this time.

What should a supervisor do if an employee has underlying health issues or is at a greater risk for complications from COVID-19?

If an employee has an underlying health condition that puts them at a greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19, supervisors should be supportive of their concerns. If possible, the employee should work remotely or be provided with other accommodations to help them limit exposure to the virus. Requests for accommodations for at-risk employees  will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Supervisors who have questions about accommodating at-risk employees should contact HR.

Can an employee work remotely if they are sick or if they are caring for a sick family member?

Yes. Supervisors and employees should work together to identify flexible and creative solutions to ensure continuous university operations. During the current public health emergency, supervisors are authorized to approve telework and/or flexible schedules wherever possible, including for those who are taking precautionary measures like self-isolating or caring for a sick family member. Employees who are too sick to report for work are not expected to work. Supervisors should expect that more employees may need to stay home and/or telework to care for sick family members or to take care of children who are home due to public school closures during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Employees may use FFCRA emergency paid leave or emergency family medical leave to cover work time missed due to illness or to care for a sick family member. 

What if an employee leaves for personal travel during the outbreak? Will they be allowed to return to campus?

Employees should adhere to all travel guidance provided by the CDC, the state of Utah, and their local health department and local government authorities. Currently, both federal and state governments have directed individuals to avoid discretionary travel. Employees who choose to personally travel to areas where there are major disaster declarations need to plan to self-isolate upon return for up to 14 days. If the employee is unable to telework while in self-isolation, they may use paid leave under FFCRA or USU accrued leave to the extent eligible.

Will USU cover the cost of any out-of-pocket expenses for an employee whose university-related travel is canceled or affected due to the outbreak?

University-related travel is canceled through May 31. Employees should first try to cancel and seek refunds for cancellations. For expenses where a refund is not possible, departments should reimburse employees for out-of-pocket work-related expenses. Costs for family members, unless formally approved via USU Policy 515: Travel, will not be covered or reimbursed.

Can search committees still bring in candidates to interview?

No. Between now and May 31, search committees should conduct interviews using virtual meeting methods to limit the potential exposure to campus and the candidate. If some in-person interviews have already been conducted, it is permissible to conduct the remaining interviews using virtual methods. For additional assistance in how to communicate status to candidates during this period, please contact HR at hr@usu.edu or call 435-797-0122.