Covid-19 Human Resources FAQ

For general FAQs and information, visit the Lakers Together websiteGeneral FAQ

Information for employees on returning to the workplace and campus ramp up
Lakers Returning to the Workplace

For more information and resources on flexible and remote work.Lakers Working Together

Detailed Michigan and Federal labor law posters. Includes existing and newly developed for COVID-19.
Michigan & Federal Labor Law Posters

Information on the new law and how GVSU is complying.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Covid-19 Human Resources FAQ

Question Answer

Q: What is the protocol for holding meetings and events on campus?

Please refer to the meetings and events protocol.

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Q: What are the guidelines for business travel and reimbursement during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Please refer to the business travel and reimbursement guidelines.

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Q: Will I qualify for FMLA, if I am absent or a qualifying family member requires care, due to COVID-19?

A: Yes, if you are an FMLA qualifying faculty or staff member. If you are absent and unable to work remotely you will need to complete the qualifying leave paperwork for EPSL, FMLA or EMFLA as applicable and you will need to keep your supervisor informed through your standard departmental call in procedures.

If faculty or staff qualifies for FMLA leave, the FMLA leave runs concurrent with existing paid/unpaid leaves of absence taken for FMLA qualifying purposes. Health, prescription, and dental benefits will continue with the normal University and employee contribution(s) for the duration of the FMLA leave, even if the employee paid accruals have been exhausted. (7/15/20)

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Q: Will I get paid if the human resources/payroll department operations are suspended due to a pandemic?

A: This is very unlikely; however, an important component of each department’s pandemic planning is operational preparedness to identify its critical functions and the personnel required to carry them out. The Controller and Administrative Offices have conducted pandemic planning, including processing payroll in a timely manner. All plans are in place to process payroll as a crucial priority, but in the event this is not possible, communications will be issued via appropriate websites and emails providing relevant information. (7/15/20)

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Q: Who do I contact if I have additional unanswered questions?

A: There is an email coronavirus@gvsu.edu, and questions will be answered as quickly as possible. There is also a phone line for other questions: (616) 331-INFO (331-4636). (4/15/20)

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Q: What will happen to my benefits in the event my accruals, paid leave, and/or FMLA leave run out before I am able to return to work?

A: It is unlikely that paid salary continuation/sick/short-term disability leave benefits would run out due to illness from the COVID-19 virus. If faculty and staff are unable to return to work due to illness and have exhausted their sick leave or salary continuation, and FMLA leave (if applicable) they may qualify for long term disability benefits or request to be placed on an unpaid leave of absence. Faculty and staff may continue benefit coverage during an unpaid leave of absence by making premium payments. Retirement contributions are suspended during the unpaid leave period. (7/15/20)

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Q: What should I do with student employees that are not ill and want to work during this time?

A: Please refer to Student Employment for all questions related to work arrangements for student employees. For Graduate Assistant questions please contact Irene Fountain. (7/15/20)

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Q: What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

A: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act enacted by the Department of Labor went into effect April 1, 2020. The act is meant to assist you during COVID-19 by providing additional leave options. These new options are available through Dec. 31, 2020. View employee rights under the act here.

New leave options include:

  1. Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA)
  2. Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)

Additional information may be found on the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) website. (7/15/20)

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Q: What is the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA)?

A: The federal government has expanded the existing FMLA to provide up to 12 weeks of partially paid coronavirus-related family leave (EFMLA). Eligible employees may take this leave if they are unable to work or telework due to the need to care for a minor child whose school or daycare is closed, or daycare is unavailable, due to COVID-19. Additional information and required forms are located on the Families First Coronavirus Act website. (7/15/20)

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Q: What is happening with current or upcoming hiring/recruiting?

A: Recruiting and hiring will continue. To keep the interview process moving, virtual interviews are encouraged.

If offers have been extended and start dates are in the next few weeks, hiring managers/search chairs and Appointing Officers can determine the best scenario for each circumstance.  

The HR Administration team is prepared to receive and process appointment letters and documents. We are encouraging only electronic submissions to hradmin@gvsu.edu.

Any hires that begin after July 26, such as Fall Faculty, can complete the Form I-9 in the usual fashion by setting up an appointment with their department. If the department needs HR to assist in completing the Form I-9, please have the department or the faculty member contact HR to schedule an appointment at hro@gvsu.edu or 616-331-2215.

If a refresher is needed on how to complete the Form I-9, here is a great resource provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We encourage you to share this resource with your departments.

For Form I-9 questions, please contact the HR Employment Services team at hremploy@gvsu.edu or 331-2215. (8/3/20)

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Q: What is Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?

A: This new act provides eligible employees up to 80 hours (up to 50 hours for student employees) of fully or partially paid leave for the following reasons:

  1. You are subject to a government-ordered quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. You are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. You are caring for an individual who is subject to a government-ordered quarantine or a health care provider’s recommendation to self-quarantine.
  5. You are caring for a child whose school or place of care has been closed due to COVID-19.
  6. You are “experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.” (7/15/20)
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Q: What do I need to consider when working remotely?

A: Information and resources are available on the Lakers Working Together site.

Accessing, sending, and responding to university email through the Outlook Web Client from personal computers and devices is OK while working remotely – documents containing sensitive information should not be saved from email to personal computers or devices. Installing VPN software on personal computers to access secure or high privilege systems (Banner Admin, Argos, OnBase, etc.) is not recommended. As an alternative, and if approved by your department, you can coordinate with Information Technology to configure your desktop computer to work from off site – contact IT at 616-331-2035 to make arrangements.

More information on off-campus access using VPN can be found here: https://www.gvsu.edu/it/gvsu-accounts-59.htm

GVSU issued Windows computers DO NOT need VPN to access GVSU network resources from off campus. GVSU issued Mac computers WILL need VPN. Additional criteria for using VPN and instructions for enrolling in DUO MFA for VPN access can be found on this page: https://www.gvsu.edu/it/duo-multifactor-authentication-233.htm

If you don’t already have VPN access please enroll in VPN/Duo MFA from on campus here: https://www.gvsu.edu/it/duo-multifactor-authentication-233.htm

If enrolling in VPN / Duo MFA from off campus please contact the IT Helpdesk via email at helpdesk@gvsu.edu. (7/15/20)

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Q: I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Are there telephonic resources available for my emotional well-being?

A: Encompass, your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), recognizes that unexpected events can create heightened emotional reactions for employees. Encompass offers a wide array of online and telephonic resources, including remote counseling. Encompass is available to support all service options in a telephonic format for both intakes and clients who are currently engaged in services. Encompass services are available via phone 24/7 at 1-800-788-8630.

Encompass has recently updated their online resources at MyLifeExpert.com. First time users can create a profile using the code: GVSUNI. The website will continue to be updated with the most recent information related to COVID-19.

To help support employees who may be experiencing reactions, Encompass has compiled a packet entitled Normal Reactions to Abnormal Events.

*As a reminder, GVSU faculty, staff and their families have access to and are encouraged to use Encompass. Encompass is a third-party, confidential provider and will not share any of your information with GVSU. (7/15/20)

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Q: How will unemployment compensation apply in a pandemic?

A: If the faculty or staff is out of work due to layoff (lack of work, lack of funds, other cause) they would likely be eligible for benefits.

University sick leave benefits and compensation will continue to apply for eligible faculty and staff. Temporary employees are encouraged to work with their supervisor regarding on campus and remote work plans. Please review the guide to applying for unemployment benefits during COVID-19 for further information. (7/15/20)

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Q: How will I get paid if I currently receive a paper check?

A: Effective immediately Payroll will no longer be handing out paper paychecks on campus. This is for the protection of all staff, faculty, student employees and our campus community. 

For all future paydays, Payroll will be mailing out the paper paychecks the day before payday.

Please consider signing up for direct deposit as soon as possible to avoid any delays that may happen with the US mail. With direct deposit Payroll can deliver employee's pay to their bank safe and efficiently without any delay.   

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Payroll at 616-331-2237 or payroll@gvsu.edu. Payroll is for the most part working remotely but will return calls and emails as soon as possible. (7/13/20)

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Q: How should time entry be handled during the current pandemic?

A: If leave time is needed please reference the necessary forms for EPSL, FMLA, and EFMLA.

Beginning June 28, 2020 employees will be able to use leave time from the EPSL and EFMLA balances for qualifying events:

  • the employee is subject to a government-ordered quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
  • the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  • the employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis
  • the employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a government-ordered quarantine or a health care provider’s recommendation to self-quarantine
  • the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care has been closed due to COVID-19
  • the “employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.” 

Time Reporting:

  • For the qualifying events, employees will be required to exhaust EPSL (up to a maximum of 80 hours) before using other paid leave balances.
    • Employees must complete/submit the EPSL form and for both salaried and hourly staff log time in UltraTime using the EPS time code in UltraTime.
  • After EPSL has been exhausted, employees will need to use other applicable paid leave balances (EFMLA, salary continuation, vacation) to cover leave time before being in an unpaid status.
    • This includes supplementing qualifying EFMLA (2/3 pay) with vacation until vacation balances have been exhausted.
    • EFMLA forms must be completed/submitted where applicable.
    • Hourly staff will need to utilize the EFM time code in UltraTime.

Any employee who had preplanned vacation days can continue to enter vacation time if they took the time off of work. Staff can also continue to request vacation per current processes.

For information on student employment, visit: https://www.gvsu.edu/i/covid-19-frequently-asked-questions-223.htm (7/15/20)

 

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Q: How does Workers' Compensation apply in a pandemic?

A: Workers’ compensation is a system established by state law that provides wage replacement, medical, and rehabilitation benefits to workers who are injured on the job. Because it is extremely difficult to trace the origin of a communicable disease, an illness such as COVID-19, is usually not a covered illness. Employees with a work related injury or illness should complete the injury report form, so your claim may be filed and case reviewed for qualifying workers' compensation benefits. (7/15/20)

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Q: Can my supervisor mandate that I cancel my vacation?

A: Yes, consistent with existing policies, a supervisor may cancel or deny a request for vacation in order to meet the business needs of the unit. (7/15/20)

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Q: Can I apply for Long-Term disability (LTD)?

A: It is very unlikely that this virus will cause such a long-term illness, however, to be eligible for LTD, you must meet the definition of a disability, as defined by the University’s long-term disability insurance carrier.

For eligible faculty and staff, benefits normally begin following the completion of 180 days of continuous disability if unable to work due to sickness or bodily injury. (7/15/20)

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Q: Can faculty and staff be asked why they are sick, i.e. COVID-19 related?

A: Faculty and staff may be asked the reason, not a specific diagnosis, for their absence by their supervisor. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to self-report if under self-quarantine or a high risk population. Staff should also complete a self-assessment prior to arriving on campus each day. If symptoms of illness are not present, supervisors should work with their employees to be flexible and creative with remote work options, as much as possible. (7/15/20)

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Q: Can faculty and staff be asked to work outside their job classification and/or in another department?

A: Yes, an emergency situation might require working outside of normal job responsibilities. The college/department for which work is performed is responsible for compensation at the individual’s regular base rate for their original classification/appointment. Support staff represented by unions will be compensated in accordance with the terms of their collective bargaining agreement or existing practices. Supervisors/staff are encouraged to consider different and creative opportunities for work to maintain operational continuity. (7/15/20)

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Q: Are there resources that provide strategies to help faculty create teachable moments in times of crises and develop respectful rapport despite varied perspectives?

A: Yes, the FTLC has dedicated resources located on their Responding to Crisis page. (7/15/20)

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Q: Are there options for consulting a physician using virtual care?

A: Yes, through your Priority Health coverage you can consult a physician through Spectrum Health Now. Find details regarding Spectrum Health Now options here. Additional resources are available through Spectrum Health here.

**Note the cost of medically-necessary COVID-19 tests for members, including out-of-state members, will have copays and deductibles waived through their Priority Health coverage. (7/13/20)

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Q: Will established absentee guidelines/policies/procedures be followed?

A: Yes, standard university and departmental absentee guidelines, policies and procedures will be followed. (7/15/20)

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Q: What is the new leave balance for EPS on my paycheck?

A: The new EPS balance is for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

If you need to utilize time off for one of the qualifying reasons, this code will be used for compliance and tracking purposes. It will not impact your pay received. If you do not require the use of the EPSL this will remain at 0 on your pay stub. It is just noting the hours used as of that pay period.

If you need to utilize the EPSL you’ll need to complete the necessary forms located on the FFCRA website. (7/15/20)

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