Covid-19 Human Resources FAQ

For general FAQs and information, visit the GVSU Emergency website.General FAQ
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: May I retrieve necessary items from my on campus office in order to be able to continue working from home?

A: Yes, you can get items from your office. Any staff not deemed essential may not work from campus. However the governor’s executive order allows employees to return to campus to retrieve items necessary to continue work at home. If you need to pick up items, you may go to your office after advising your appointing officer, who will verify you need to return to get supplies for business continuity. Employees may use their access card to enter the exterior doors of buildings. Employees who do not have access cards may contact the Department of Public Safety at (616) 331-3255 for building access. Employees coming to campus need to be healthy, maintain distance from others, wash their hands or sanitize them immediately prior to and after leaving the campus. Employees should collect all items needed so multiple trips are not required.

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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. Due to the advised CDC timelines for displaying Covid-19 symptoms, if you require an absence for more than 15 days, please contact Human Resources and additional documentation may be requested as needed.

If you are absent for 15 days or less, coordinate your time off directly with your supervisor and follow 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.

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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.

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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 phoneline for other questions: (616) 331-INFO (331-4636).

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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 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.

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Q: What should our department do if our office/staff are not required to work on campus and working remotely?

A: Please place a department or building sign in your window to alert potential student or client visitors of the current remote work circumstances. Sign templates can be found on the faculty and staff information pages.

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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.

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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.

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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. 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.

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Q: What is happening with performance reviews/ePDP?

A: The 2020 performance appraisal process will continue. We strongly encourage using the alternate forms instead of the ePDP system.

Reviews for AP staff, including meeting with the staff members, are due by April 17. We cannot adjust this date due to the link to the annual salary planning process. Performance scores for AP staff should be communicated to Executive Officers per normal process and practice for your area.

Reviews should be delivered via virtual technology, using video. HR has developed tools for supervisors and staff to adjust to the current environment and deliver reviews virtually.

Reviews for PSS staff, including meeting with the staff members, are due by May 31. We will revisit this date be adjusted depending on developments over the next few weeks.

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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 spring/summer adjunct faculty appointment letters. We are encouraging only electronic submissions to hradmin@gvsu.edu.

HR will be utilizing a program for secure electronic submissions of the I-9 form. New hires will be contacted with information on how to submit their I-9 by the employment team. Please contact the employment team with questions and for support.

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

A: This new act provides eligible employees up to 80 hours 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 is seeking 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.”
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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.

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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 the 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.

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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 that are able to work remotely are encouraged to work with their supervisor on remote work plans. If temporary employees do not have remote work available they are able to apply for unemployment benefits. Please review the guide to applying for unemployment benefits during COVID-19 for further information. 

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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 those that have paychecks from past pay periods Payroll will be mailing them to the employee's  permanent address on record on Monday 3/23/20 and Tuesday 3/24/20.  

For all future pay days 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.

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

A: Hourly employees should plan to ensure they are completing time entryIf they are unable to complete time entry, Supervisors can enter on the employee’s behalf. Please ensure the employee or supervisor completes time entry as payroll won’t be able to accommodate each employee individually given the high volume.

Normal time entry applies for actual hours worked.

If hourly employees are unable to work for the following reasons, they will continue to be paid 40-hours per week for full time staff, and pro-rated for other staff.  Utilize the time entry code WEA.

  • COVID –related absences for quarantine
  • Family Care related to COVID (i.e., caring for an ill or quarantined family member)
  • Child care due to closures of schools
  • Lack of Work (remote work is not viable for the role, but employee is not ill)
  • Utilize this code and process until further notice

Salaried employees, as of April 1, 2020, will need to track hours not worked due to COVID-19. They should enter this time in Ultratime using the code “COVID-19”. Supervisors will approve this when they approve quarterly vacation time. It is suggested staff enter this time bi-weekly to ensure logs are accurate. Staff will still receive their full pay using this code, however this tracking will ensure that they are getting their entitled benefits and the University remains in compliance with tracking. Utilize this process and code (COVID-19) until further notice. 

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

 

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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.

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Q: Does GVSU have any restrictions on personal travel?

A: The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the following destinations: China, Iran, most European countries, United Kingdom and Ireland. Most foreign nationals who have been in one of these countries during the previous 14 days will not be allowed to enter the United States.

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial travel options remain available, U.S. citizens should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite length of time. For more information about possible travel restrictions, contact your destination's U.S. Embassy or Consulate or visit the Department of State website.

It is recommend faculty and staff utilize the free virtual COVID-19 screening through Spectrum Health, if you have any concerns you may need to self-quarantine.

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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.

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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.

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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. 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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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