Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Guide - Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the question you are interested in, to see the response. Questions were asked by PACE or employee related questions submitted for the Talk with Tuminez Town Hall Meetings.  Updated 06/08/2020.

Campus

Which campus services will be open?

At the Yellow Level, campus remains open. Please see the uvu.info website or the Campus Service FAQ for information about any specific service closures. 

What areas of service are still available?

On June 8, all buildings on UVU’s Orem, West, Airport, and Lehi campuses will reopen and resume normal hours of operation. When Wasatch County is transitioned from Orange to a Yellow Health Risk status by the state, the Wasatch Campus will also reopen 21 days after that announcement.

PBA was slated to be released this month, is that going to happen or is the University going to wait until the legislature fixes the budget?

As previously announced, UVU’s 2019-20 PBA process was paused in early April given the economic impact of COVID-19 and the potential for tax fund reductions.  Communication from legislative leaders indicates that new tax fund appropriations for 2020-21 will be pulled back.  Thus, the amount of new ongoing funds available for allocation is very limited.

 A detailed list of funded PBA requests is now available on the PBA website. These PBA allocations approved by President’s Council on May 28, 2020, will be integrated into UVU’s 2020-21 operating budget to be presented to the Board of Trustees later this month. (TWT 06-19-2020)

At what point will the rise in reported COVID-19 cases cause UVU administration to return to level orange and close campus again? Would UVU return to level orange even if Utah stays on level yellow in order to keep the economy running? Why are we opening campus again when cases of the virus are still going up? The safety measures put in place help, but it is stressful to be around others who may be sick or are not following the guidelines. Is there a possibility of campus closing again this summer or in the fall or next spring?

 

The COVID-19 Task Force has met every workday March 14th – June 1, they now met every other workday. They look at key factors (similar to what Robin shared earlier in TWT meeting) on a case-by-case basis. If our cases spiked in Utah County or if we saw that we had an issue on campus where we were having tremendous transmission, then we would evaluate and we decide what the best course of action to make sure our employees are staying safe. We're making sure that we're using exceptional care as we're working through this pandemic. (TWT 06-17-2020)

 

COVID-19

When, where, and how should I get tested for the coronavirus?

Employees should contact their medical provider for information. UVU Student Health Services is not testing for the virus and serves students only. For more information regarding medical and RX benefits related to COVID-19, please refer to the Magellan RX management COVID-19 virus FAQ's and the Regence COVID-19 Notice of Claims

COVID-19 testing is covered at 100% in-network and out-of-network for covered employees. Refer to the Intermountain Healthcare testing locations or call Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi. As a reminder, employees must have all the symptoms to be tested and are encouraged to call ahead to see if testing is advised or available. 

What happens if someone on campus tests positive?

The local health department will be notified of people who have tested positive. They will then conduct tracking, tracing and surveillance. If you have had a significant exposure to a person testing positive, you will be contacted by the local health department. UVU has also created a voluntary self-reporting form that allows students, faculty, and staff to self-disclose if they have tested positive for COVID-19. With this information we will assist the health department as needed and ensure areas have been thoroughly cleaned if applicable. (TWT 04-08-2020)

What will happen if someone tests positive and they've been working on campus in an area with other employees?"

To ensure campus safety, we follow the CDC guidelines and the State Department of Health guidelines and follow their procedures if we have somebody test positive. Individuals who test positive, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and to get tested after they have recovered. We work with the Utah County Health Department to make sure we have contact and tracing going on. (TWT 06-17-2020) 

What COVID-19 / illness form should I complete?

The Employee COVID-19 Form should be completed if you have been tested(positive/negative) for COVID-19. This form is used to track, and diagnosis the spread of COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all employees, students, and visitors to campus.

The Recent Illness Release Form should be completed if you are returning to work and have been ill in the last 14 days. This form is a safety tool used to review symptoms prior to releasing an employee to work on campus. 

Will UVU be posting daily numbers of COVID-19 cases among employees and students?

If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you will be contacted directly by the county health department or UVU's Safety and Emergency Management Department.

Will UVU accept liability if employees return to work and get sick? If an employee must get medical care due to becoming sick, will the University pay for that? For part-time and student employees not covered by insurance, will they receive any assistance if they end up needing medical care or are hospitalized from contracting COVID-19 at work?

 

If an employee believes they contracted COVID-19 at work, they can file a workers compensation claim and the claim will be investigated for coverage eligibility. 

 

Benefits and Leave

If I am asked to self-isolate, can I still work and get paid, or do I need to take vacation leave, sick, unpaid time?

Employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19, and are required to not report to work, are required to use leave time or telecommute to work, with supervisor approval. Authorization to work from home will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. Supervisors are encouraged to provide part-time employees flexibility in their hours. Part-time employees will need to coordinate hours with their supervisor and plan to make up hours if needed. With supervisor approval, part-time employees may have the option to work more hours to make up missed hours but may not exceed 123 hours in a calendar month. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides UVU employees who are eligible with Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family Medical Leave (E-FMLA) for specified reasons related to COVID-19. More information can be found in the UVU FFCRA Information Sheet and the FFCRA FAQ. For more information, please visit the UVU Human Resources Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Guide

Do employees need to speak with HR to request continued remote work if they believe they are high risk?

Supervisors have the authority to approve continued remote work and/or alternative work schedules (if doing so will not disrupt the essential job functions and business need). If supervisors are unable to approve the request, employees can reach out to Human Resources to start an interactive process to review possible options (medical documentation is required).

To encourage employees to stay home when they are sick or have symptoms of being sick, are you going to provide additional PTO sick time?

Employees that are feeling ill (regardless of current circumstances) are requested not to come to work so they can heal and recover, as well as protect the campus community. The University does offer generous sick leave and sick leave accrual as well as leave provided through FMLA. Additionally, the Federal government has enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which provides employees with emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and expanded family and medical leave (E-FMLA) for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Employees can reach out to EmployeeWellness@uvu.edu for additional information regarding FFCRA.

What mental health services are available at this time?

UVU offers full-time employees the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), allowing benefits-eligible faculty to receive up to three counseling sessions free of charge. UVU benefits also include a robust list of mental health professionals. Please contact HR if you have questions. 

If you are having suicidal thoughts or are concerned about a loved one who may be having suicidal thoughts, please call the 24-hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or you can visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. For more information regarding suicide and prevention, please visit utahsuicideprevention.org.

Is there going to be any additional sick time given to those who have continued to work on campus during the "shut down"? Moving forward, will there be additional sick time provided to encourage employees to stay home when they are ill? One sick day a month is not enough when most illnesses last longer than 3 days, and we should only return once symptom free.

 Despite the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, UVU employees have delivered exceptional care, accountability and results whether they have been working on campus or working remotely. These efforts have been and continue to be impressive!

One of the requirements for reopening campus is ensuring that employees do not come to campus if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been asked to self-isolate or self-quarantine.  If you are ill, please notify your supervisor of your absence due to illness.  Further, UVU employees are asked to self-report if you have been or are being tested for COVID-19. The Employee COVID-19 Reporting Form helps in ensuring a safe working environment and in tracking the spread of COVID-19.  Employees who have recently been ill, should complete the Recent Illness Release Form available on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Guide webpage

UVU provides generous leave for full-time employees including the ability to accrue sick leave each month. And, as I mentioned earlier, the FFCRA provides for emergency paid sick leave for full and part-time employees impacted by COVID-19.  Under certain conditions, Human Resources may authorize the creation of a sick leave pool to allow full-time employees to donate accrued sick leave to other full-time employees.  And UVU offers regular FMLA.  Employees are encouraged to communicate with their supervisor and contact Human Resources with any questions about your individual situation.  

What is FFCRA?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides UVU employees who are eligible with Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family Medical Leave (E-FMLA) for specified reasons related to COVID-19. More information can be found in the UVU FFCRA Information Sheet and the FFCRA FAQ.

Will UVU accept liability if employees return to work and get sick? If an employee must get medical care due to becoming sick, will the University pay for that? For part-time and student employees not covered by insurance, will they receive any assistance if they end up needing medical care or are hospitalized from contracting COVID-19 at work?

If an employee believes they contracted COVID-19 at work, they can file a workers compensation claim and the claim will be investigated for coverage eligibility. 

 

Phased Return to Work

What is the expectation for full time staff returning to full time work on campus? How long are staff able to continue working at least partially from home?

Beginning June 8, most UVU facilities and offices reopened under modified conditions.  This expanded reopening did require or will require a return to campus for a number of employees across the university.  Each executive worked with their teams to develop a return to work plan for their areas.  Within these plans, supervisors are authorized to approve remote work (including flexible remote work schedules), wherever possible, for positions in which work can be done remotely and not impede university functions.  Employees authorized to continue temporary remote work (including flexible remote work schedules) must submit, with supervisors’ approval, a new Temporary Remote Work Agreement.  These new agreements can be for a short period of time or go through December 31, 2020. (TWT 06-17-2020)

What counts as high risk? How will "High Risk" employees be identified? How will supervisors identify high risk employees while maintaining their privacy as we begin to bring employees back to campus?

Governor Herbert’s Utah Leads Together plan, provides guidance on who is considered as “high risk”.  This plan and forthcoming USHE guidance provides instruction for high-risk individuals and those around them.

If any employee believes they are high risk based on this guidance, they are encouraged to contact Human Resources.  You may need to be provide personal health information to Human Resources, but Human Resources does not share personal health information with others, including your supervisor, so employee privacy is maintained.  Human Resources will work with you and your supervisor to implement the Tiered Guidelines for High Risk Individuals provided by USHE.

Perhaps most important, if we all consider everyone we may be working with as potentially “high risk”, we can demonstrate exceptional care for each other by vigilantly following the health guidelines of wearing a mask, maintaining 6 feet social distance, washing our hands frequently, covering coughs/sneezes, and not coming to campus when ill. 

What guidance would you give to MANAGERS of non student-facing offices where all work can be done remotely, who have pressured employees to return to campus starting June 8 only to sit isolated, in closed offices, and meet via TEAMS- both of which could be done in a more safe environment from home? What is our goal as a supervisor with balancing working from home with time working on campus? Should we be trying to have people spending more time working on campus than they are working from home or vice versa?

There is not a one-size-fits-all response to this question given the diversity of work staff perform for UVU, but there is guidance.  People managers, please review the training and guidebook available on UVU’s Return to Campus website.  It provides great information and a variety of resources to assist you.  As this guide indicates, if an employee’s job and your department/division allows for continued remote work (partial or full), the employee requests remote work, and their work can be done remotely and not impede University functions, supervisors have authority to approve remote work through the end of 2020 by submitting a new Temporary Remote Work Agreement  (TWT 06-17-2020)

Who can we turn to if we feel our supervisors and/or AVPs are being very rigid and not helping us with flexible schedules, especially when we are pregnant, have young children at home, and/or are having difficulty finding childcare. Who can we turn to if our supervisors are not communicating at all with the staff and leaving us completely in the dark?

To ensure continuity of processes, employees are requested to follow their chain of command. Working with Human Resources may be appropriate if an employee believes they are high risk and they are unable to work out an agreement with their supervisor, if an employee is requesting leave through FFCRA for child care challenges, or if the employee has other unresolved questions or concerns. (TWT 06-17-2020)

Will there be a grace period as employees return to campus for those that had to remove children from childcare to find new services?

 

Supervisors have the authority to approve continued remote work and/or alternative work schedules throughout the end of the calendar year (if doing so will not disrupt the essential job functions and business need).

Additionally, UVU has implemented the various programs provided by the Federal government through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) including emergency paid sick leave and emergency FMLA.  The emergency FMLA is available for employees (full and part time) caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or childcare provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.  You can find more information in UVU’s Coronavirus Employee Guide or by contacting  EmployeeWellness@uvu.edu.  (TWT 05-12-2020)

What if I feel unsafe to come to campus and my supervisor tells me I still must work on campus, what should I do?

At the Yellow Level, campus will remain open. All faculty and staff are expected to work as scheduled — either through telecommuting or on campus — in consultation with your supervisor. Your safety and well-being are of utmost importance to us. For more information, please visit the UVU Human Resources Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Guide

 

General Safety

Do I have to wear a mask? What do I do if a coworker refuses to wear a mask?

Masks are highly recommended when you will be in any contact with other people (i.e., meetings, front desks, common meeting areas, hallways, etc.). If an employee refuses to wear a mask, bring up your concerns to them and have a conversation. Supervisors do not have the right to require employees to wear masks.

The university is highly recommended the wearing of masks and provided a reusable mask to employees on campus. However, there has been no indication that the wearing of face masks will be enforced.

Will areas that have a lot of interpersonal communication and interaction, for example, tutoring labs and other support services, be allowed to require patrons to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and possibly have a forehead temperature check?

 

In our return-campus procedures, we've said that we expect employees to wear masks. We have a lot of different situations that are happening across campus. In fact, we have some face-to-face classes that are happening right now, and we've required those students and instructors to wear masks. Depending on the situation, environment, and the size of the room, we will have areas on campus that we will require people to wear masks to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. One of the best ways to show exception care is by wearing a mask which shows respect for one another and shows that we're trying to watch out for each other's health. (TWT 06/17/2020)

What if a colleague refuses to wear a mask or face shield in our department?

Talk to your supervisor about your concerns. Confronting a colleague is less than ideal. Many of our colleagues have health and other concerns that we don’t know about, and they prefer to keep them private. 

How often will our departments’ public spaces and offices be cleaned?

Departments will be responsible for cleaning their space beyond the daily cleaning Campus Services provides. Departments should consider ordering their own disinfectant and paper towels as well as requesting cleaning supplies from Campus Services. Faculty members and staff with concerns about cleanliness are to clean their own areas beyond what Campus Services provides. Administrative assistants cannot be assigned to clean individual offices or spaces occupied primarily by single individuals. If you do not feel comfortable with Custodial Services cleaning your offices, please post a note on your office door.

Is UVU’s air system filtered for viruses?

UVU has a filtering system, MERV, in all large buildings. Systems vary, since some areas such as the science buildings have traditionally needed higher levels of filtration. UVU will increase air exchange rates to push the air through the filters and slightly over-pressurize the buildings to help exchange the air. Filters are changed on a rigid schedule. Even before COVID-19, UVU was changing air filters more often than recommended.

Is UVU going to be requiring a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work?

Employees who are ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are to self-isolate at home. This includes an employee who tested positive, negative, or did not test at all for the COVID-19. Employees who have been tested for COVID-19 are encouraged to complete the Employee COVID-19 Reporting Form.
Will I have my temperature taken before reporting back to campus?
Employees who are in positions that put others at risk (e.g., health clinic, food services, etc.) will have their temperatures taken by qualified nursing students.

Can supervisors send their employees who show symptoms of COIVD-19 home?

If a supervisor observes an employee with COVID-19 symptoms, the supervisor must send the employee home.

Students have been surveyed, faculty have been surveyed, but staff have not. Why do staff seem to not have a voice in how we're returning to campus?

UVU’s Fall class schedule was published and students began registering before the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on instruction was understood. Thus, Academics has been working very hard, at all levels, to reframe instruction in compliance with health guidelines.  This reframing has required input from faculty and departments and an assessment of students’ expectations. There have been a number of conversations at the leadership level and within departments and with individual employees on how we are returning to campus. PACE is planning a survey of staff for later this week. (TWT 06-17-2020)

Working Remotely

I am an advisor and have been working from home since the first of March. It has been working fantastic and I am able to connect with my students and other advisors easily. I am in a high-risk age group and I filled out a work at home order and it says it goes through Dec 31, 2020. I have been told that I will need to return in July. If UVU is so concerned with faculty and students, in being able to continue to work and learn remotely, then I feel that staff should be given that same accommodations. What will happen for those of us who are high-risk?

 Again, HR has provided a number of resources for employees and supervisors of employees who may be high-risk.  Please review information on the Return to Campus website and on the COVID-19 Employee Guide FAQ website.  Supervisors have the authority to approve continued remote work and/or alternative work schedules (if doing so will not disrupt the essential job functions and business need). If supervisors are unable to approve the request, employees who may be high-risk can reach out to Human Resources to start an interactive process to review possible options. (TWT 06-17-2020)

I completed the Temporary Remote Work Agreement Form, but it is now outdated, how do I update the form?

Existing Temporary Remote Work Agreements related to COVID-19 will expire according to the group your supervisor has assigned (Group A - June 8; Group B - June 22; Group C - August 3). If your job and your supervisor/department allows for continued remote work, you request it, and your work can be done remotely and not impede university functions, your supervisor has full authority to approve further remote work through the end of the calendar year (must complete another Temporary Remote Work Agreement). (Updated 06/24/2020)

If I am directed by my supervisor to work from home, and I don’t have the necessary tools (computer, software, etc.), what am I supposed to do?

This concern should be discussed with your supervisor, who can determine resources that may be temporarily provided for you to perform your work from home. Employees must complete the Temporary Remote Work Agreement. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has provided support and options to work remotely. UVU has also provided Tips to Work Remotely.

If I am directed by my supervisor to forward my work phone to my cell phone, will I get paid for using my personal cell for work?

This concern should be discussed with your supervisor. In accordance with UVU Policy 329 Telephone and Cellular Phone Usage, employees required to use a personal cell phone to perform their duties may be provided an allowance from UVU for business purpose use. This form is available here. If you are not on campus and not forwarding your work phone, make sure you update your UVU voicemail

Will the administration understand if our efficiency rate goes down? And if it does, will our jobs be safe?

We appreciate the additional efforts our faculty will make to ensure that, despite these trying circumstances, our students receive the best education possible. We are grateful for our hardworking staff and their assistance in supporting our education mission and providing support to our university community. We recognize that this disruption will have an impact on productivity but are confident in the resilience and grit of our Wolverine community. Please communicate with your supervisor specific concerns about work assignments. 

What is the plan to return to work?

As part of Utah’s recovery efforts, the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) has organized a special USHE COVID-19 Task Force that is actively planning for future operations in a way that protects the safety of students, faculty, and staff. The task force recognizes that “recovery is not like flipping a switch; it’s more like moving a dial.” The work of this task force will continue to be in step with the governor’s Utah Leads Together 2.0 as they develop a comprehensive plan and timeline. UVU's return to normal operating conditions will be a phased approach.

In the coming weeks, employees will begin to return to campus in a phased approach defined by division leaders. Group A: Employees return June 8, Group B: Employees return June 22, Group C: Employees return August 3, Group D: High Risk: Consult supervisors regarding a continued remote work agreement. Please work with your supervisor or division leader to find out which group you have been assigned to return. Please read UVU’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan for specific details. (Updated 06/24/2020)

Will staff who are capable of working from home be permitted to continue to do so throughout the summer while UVU is mostly online?

Supervisors have the authority to approve continued remote work and/or alternative work schedules throughout the end of the calendar year (if doing so will not disrupt the essential job functions and business need).  Work at home expectations should be set between the supervisor and the employee and approved through a Temporary Remote Work Agreement Form

Can employees speak with HR directly instead of with their supervisor if they want to continue working from home?

To ensure continuity of processes, employees are requested to follow their proper chain of command. Working with Human Resources may be appropriate if an employee believes they are high risk and they are unable to work out an agreement with their supervisor, an employee is requesting leave through FFCRA, or there are unresolved questions or concerns.

Who do I speak with if I live with and/or care for someone who is considered high risk?

For requests due to dependents or family members, employees should work with their supervisors for possible options in their area. If an employee is requesting a leave of absence related to COVID-19 or to care for an individual, please reach out to Human Resources.

What do I do if I am not high risk but would still prefer to work from home?

Supervisors have the authority to approve continued remote work and/or alternative work schedules throughout the end of the calendar year (if doing so will not disrupt the essential job functions and business need). Work at home expectations should be set between the supervisor and the employee and approved through a Temporary Remote Work Agreement Form

 

Employee Travel

Am I allowed to travel out of the state/country on personal travel?

Employees are not forbidden from personal travel, but they need to understand the potential consequences of travel. Depending on the area they are traveling to, they may have to quarantine upon arrival for 14 days and quarantine upon return for 14 days. They may also not be able to return from their destination and not be able to return to campus for work when they anticipated. Employees who do travel are requested to fill out the Self Reporting Travel Questionnaire.

Can I travel for business purposes?

Starting July 1, 2020, all travel is required to be mission-critical AND approved by an executive. Please review the Travel FAQ for the most current business travel information.

If I have traveled outside of the state for personal or professional travel, what do I need to do?

The university is asking students, faculty, and staff to report personal or professional travel outside of Utah. Please fill out the Self-Reporting Travel Questionnaire to notify the university of your travel to allow the university to determine the risk of any potential spread of COVID-19. Individuals returning from high-risk areas should work with their supervisor to take precautionary measures and complete the Self-Reporting Travel Questionnaire.

 

Employment and Financial Impact

Do I have to work?

Yes. All faculty and staff (FT, PT, and Student) are expected to work as scheduled — either through telecommuting or on campus — in consultation with your supervisor. For more information, please visit the UVU Human Resources Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Guide

Some are worried about the financial impact of COVID-19. How will UVU try to minimize the financial impact of COVID-19?  

Given the emerging COVID-19 pandemic including its economic impact as well as the change from April 15 to July 15 for filing taxes, UVU anticipates the State Legislature will be calling several special sessions over the coming months to ensure the fiscal stability of the State. UVU is in a very good financial position with contingencies and reserves for rainy days. Further, University leadership is preparing now to respond to any financial reductions that may occur. Those preparations include the Temporary HR Guidelines and the Temporary Financial Resource Guidelines

How bad is the budget situation? When will the legislature tell us what our budget looks like for next year?

We are expecting the legislature to have several special sessions to address the current year budget (ending June 30) and next year’s budget (beginning July 1).  At their April special session, they reduced UVU’s carryforward from last fiscal year by $15 million but then restored it next year.  That reduction and replacement of funds has no impact on UVU’s operations.

Then, two weeks ago, we received a message from legislative leadership informing us that we should not expect to receive the new tax funds appropriated during March.  We had anticipated that scenario, which is why we paused PBA allocations and provided minimal compensation increases.  So, at this point, legislative actions have not caused us to cut any existing budgets.

However, we recognize that the economic impact of the pandemic on state tax revenues is still unclear.  The legislative fiscal analyst requested each university to provide scenarios for a 2%, 5%, or 10% tax fund reduction and we have provided that information to them.  More importantly, we are preparing now for potential base budget reductions by implementing Temporary Human Resource Guidelines to delay, pause, or freeze hiring (at the discretion of each Executive) and Temporary Financial Resource Management Guidelines.  By making strategic decisions in the near term on the use of our existing resources, UVU leaders will have better flexibility and more options for responding to any cuts. 

Is there a possibility that the University will furlough or lay-off employees? And if so, how will that be determined?

Our goal is to maintain and preserve jobs as best we can. However, due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Utah Valley University continues to operate under modified conditions requiring the temporary closure of certain programs, services, and facilities. These temporary closures have created a lack of work for a number of employees. Further, the economic impact of COVID-19 is creating budgetary constraints for UVU. This combination of operational and economic pressures requires UVU leadership to make some difficult personnel decisions. A furlough or layoff occurs through no fault of the employee. Refer to the Furlough FAQ or the Layoff FAQ for more information. As of right now only some part-time and student positions are being furloughed or laid off. No full-time positions are affected. If you are not sure if this affects you, contact your immediate supervisor.

Employees at schools around the country are being furloughed. Should I be concerned this could happen at UVU? If the fall semester is altered, what chance is there of having staff cuts, and what areas might be most impacted? Will voluntary unpaid leave be an option to keep the books in balance for UVU?

Great questions!  You don’t have to look very hard to find stories of universities or other businesses requiring employees to take unpaid leave.  Such actions may provide some universities with short-term, one-time savings.  Fortunately, at UVU, we do not have some of the fiscal challenges others may be experiencing.  We maintain contingencies and fund balances that will help us meet short-term financial challenges while we make strategic decisions for our long-term financial health.  With this in mind, I do not anticipate employees being asked to take unpaid leave to balance our books.

As you may know, since the end of March, UVU has been continuing to pay Category 3 employees, mostly part-time staff and student employees, who have not been able to perform their work on campus or remotely.  The Provost and Vice Presidents are currently determining which of their Category 3 employees could be moved to Category 1 (working on campus) or Category 2 (working remotely) by early June.  The remaining Category 3 employees that cannot perform their work on campus or remotely by early June will most likely be furloughed with the intent that they will return to work as UVU operations scale up and reopen.  Supervisors, working in conjunction with Human Resources, will be communicating with impacted Category 3 employees. 

Will UVU full time employees still be getting their $300 annual increase to cover the rise of healthcare costs this year?

Absolutely!  This increase will be effective on July 1, 2020, and full-time employees will see the change in their July 31 paychecks. 

Will UVU employees receive merit pay for the new coming fiscal year?

UVU received no new tax funds including no additional funding for compensation.  To fund medical plan increases, we used our 1.38% tuition increase and internal reallocation.  All full-time employees will receive $300 to their base salary to help offset medical premium share increases.  Unfortunately, we simply did not have any new ongoing funds available to allocate for merit pay increases for 20-21. (TWT 06-19-2020)

 

 Furlough

What is a furlough?
A furlough is a temporary separation from work with the expectation that the employee will return to work at the conclusion of the furlough period. Employees are not paid during a furlough, which is treated as a temporary, unpaid leave of absence. A furlough means that the employee ceases work for the university, does not conduct any business for the university, and does not receive pay. Please refer to the Furlough FAQ for a PDF of FAQ's.
Why would UVU furlough an employee?
Due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Utah Valley University continues to operate under modified conditions requiring the temporary closure of certain programs, services, and facilities. These temporary closures have created a lack of work for a number of employees. Further, the economic impact of COVID-19 is creating budgetary constraints for UVU. This combination of operational and economic pressures requires UVU leadership to make some difficult personnel decisions. A furlough occurs through no fault of the employee.
I have been furloughed; how will I know when I can return to work?
Furloughs resulting from the impact of COVID-19 are expected to last until temporary closure of the UVU program, service, or facility in which you work ends. UVU will notify you as the program, service, or facility in which you work is planned for reopening and when you should return to work. Please contact your supervisor for more details.
How long will the furlough last?
Furloughs resulting from the impact of COVID-19 are expected to last until temporary closure of the UVU program, service, or facility in which you work ends. UVU will notify you as the program, service, or facility in which you work is planned for reopening and when you should return to work. At the conclusion of this furlough, UVU expects that you will return to work.
How will I know that I have been furloughed?
You will be contacted directly by your executive leader and/or supervisor. You will be provided with the date on which the furlough will begin, and you are expected to continue to work until that date. A letter confirming the furlough will be emailed to the personal email address you provide.
Will I be eligible for unemployment?
While you are on furlough, you may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. Please review the information available through the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Information about unemployment during COVID-19 can be found here, and you can find information about filing an unemployment claim at this link. The letter emailed to you will provide some of the information you will need to submit an unemployment claim.
What about my health and dental insurance?
If you are a full-time, benefits-eligible employee enrolled in one of UVU’s medical and/or dental benefit plans, your coverage (including covered family members) will continue during the furlough period. UVU will pay the full cost of medical and/or dental premium — both the employer and employee premium share during the furlough period.

Can I change my health insurance?

Unfortunately, no. Being furloughed (which is an unpaid leave) is not a qualifying life event, since there is no loss of eligibility for healthcare benefits. However, you may be eligible to make a change if your spouse or dependent child has a qualifying life event. Visit this link for more information, or contact Human Resources if you need assistance.

What about my other benefits?

If you choose to continue your vision coverage, FSA contribution, HSA contribution, DCFSA contribution, or other supplemental insurances, you will be responsible for continuing the premium payment. Please work with the UVU Benefits Office, who will provide you with a monthly invoice so that you can pay UVU to make these contributions on your behalf.

Can I use my accrued vacation, personal, or sick time during the furlough?

No. A furlough is an unpaid leave.

Can I use my accrued leave time after I return?

Yes. The vacation and personal time you have accrued can be used following your return, subject to supervisor approval.

What about my retirement contribution?

Since retirement contributions are based on the payment of wages, contributions by the university will not be made.
Are there any mental health benefit resources available to help deal with the pressures of COVID-19 or my furlough?

Benefit-eligible employees can access mental health services by reaching out to the Regence BlueCross BlueShield behavioral health providers via regence.com, as well as to UVU’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Reliant Behavioral Health at the following links:

A free emotional health relief hotline through Intermountain Healthcare is available to anyone feeling emotional distress due to COVID-19. This hotline is available to all Utahns seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The phone number is 833-442-2211. 

I am currently signed up for summer and fall classes. What happens to my tuition remission benefit?
You may still utilize your tuition remission (waiver) benefits during the furlough period. Feel free to contact HR if you have any questions about eligibility.
What happens to my email?
Prior to the start of your furlough period, you should create an auto-reply message indicating that you are temporarily out of the office and provide the contact information for an individual who can provide additional assistance during your absence. Your email will remain active during the furlough. You should not delete any UVU-related email during your furlough, and you should not use UVU’s email for personal use.
I have equipment and keys that belong to UVU. Do I need to return them?
Please work with your supervisor to return any laptops or electronic equipment and any files, records, or documents. Your supervisor will also determine if you should retain any keys or proximity access during the furlough period.
What about personal items that I need in my office or work area?
Since time is available prior to the beginning of the furlough, there should be time to collect personal items from your work area. Please work with your supervisor to establish a time when you can safely come to campus prior to the furlough commencing. If something comes up during your furlough where you find you have forgotten something, please contact your supervisor.
Should I look for another job during the furlough time period?
At the conclusion of the furlough, UVU expects that you will return to work. However, you may choose to seek other employment. That is up to you. If you accept other employment and do not intend to return to UVU at the conclusion of the furlough, you must notify Human Resources.
Upon my return to work, will my wages be the same? Will I be eligible for future raises, if applicable?
Your pay will be the same when you return as when your furlough began. If compensation changes are implemented at the university, the changes will also apply when you return. 
How can I access food resources if needed?

The UVU Food Pantry has temporarily suspended our services to reduce strain on community food bank resources. To find community food resources closest to you, please visit bit.ly/UVUFOOD. As soon as we are able to resume our services, we will update the UVU Food Pantry website.

If you have children, all area school districts have been authorized to offer free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches for all children ages 0–18. For a list of locations, please contact your child’s school district.

Are there community resources available to students who are facing food or housing insecurity?
Yes. Please visit Student Care Website to access community resources or dial 211 to access the United Way of Utah County or visit the United Way Website to help support food or housing insecurity.
For Students – What if I can’t pay a bill or have an urgent, unexpected expense?

If you have a specific expense that threatens your housing, health, or safety, you can apply for the expense to be covered by the UVU emergency fund. These funds are usually given in amounts ranging from $50-$500. You are only eligible for this funding if you have already accepted all grants and/or scholarships available to you. Fill out the emergency fund application to submit your request.

You may also be interested in working with UVU’s Money Management Resource Center, which can help with managing money. Virtual appointments are now available.

How do I access Financial Aid?

Schedule a phone appointment: Financial Aid Website

Email: faresponse@uvu.edu

Live chat: Financial Aid Website

How can I access the CARES Act funding as a student?

Visit the Financial Aid website for more information.

What resources are available at Student Health Services?

The following resources are available:

Medical services

Mental health services

Psychiatric services

Crisis services

If you are in crisis, please access the SafeUT app, which will connect you to licensed counselors who are ready to respond 24/7 at no cost. You can text, call, or submit a tip anonymously.

Here are additional resources:

Tips for coping with COVID-19 anxiety

Managing stress and worries

Mental health and coping during COVID-19 (CDC)

 

Layoff 

What is a layoff?
A layoff is the dismissal of an employee without the expectation that the employee will return to work; the employee is let go from their job. Sometimes layoffs are referred to as a reduction in force. Please refer to the Layoff FAQ for a PDF of FAQ's.
Why would UVU layoff an employee?
 Due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Utah Valley University continues to operate under modified conditions requiring the closure of certain programs, services, and facilities. These closures have created a lack of work for a number of employees. Further, the economic impact of COVID-19 is creating budgetary constraints for UVU. This combination of operational and economic pressures requires UVU leadership to make some difficult personnel decisions. A layoff occurs through no fault of the employee.

If there is a second wave of COVID-19 and everything shuts down again, will there be layoffs?

 My hope is that as Utah and UVU reopens using a phased approach and as we, individually and collectively, follow health guidelines, we can avoid a second wave that would require us and/or the rest of the state to shut down.  Another shut down would not necessarily trigger layoffs.  As a result of the last shut down, we furloughed 132 employees and laid off 13.  A portion of these employees worked in areas that are not scheduled for full reopening for many months due to health guidelines (such as the Wee Care Center and the Noorda). (TWT 06-17-2020)
How will I know that I have been laid off?
 You will be contacted directly by your executive leader and/or supervisor. You will be provided with the date on which the layoff will begin, and you are expected to continue to work until that date. A letter confirming the layoff will be emailed to the personal email address you provide.
Will I be eligible for unemployment?
 You may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. Please review the information available through the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Information about unemployment during COVID-19 can be found here, and you can find information about filing an unemployment claim. The letter emailed to you will provide some of the information you will need to submit an unemployment claim.
What about my healthcare insurance coverage?
 If you are a full-time, benefits-eligible employee enrolled in one of UVU’s healthcare plans, you and your eligible family members may continue your UVU healthcare coverage for up to 18 months through COBRA. Wage Works, UVU’s COBRA administrator, will send you an information packet with instructions on how to enroll. You will have 60 days from the date you lose healthcare coverage to apply for COBRA. You will be responsible for the full cost of COBRA coverage which you will pay directly to Wage Works. 
Can I make a withdrawal from my 401(a) retirement account?
You are 100% vested in your 401(a) retirement account and are able to make a withdrawal when you terminate employment with UVU. Withdrawals taken before you have reached age 59 ½ may be subject to income tax on the amount withdrawn and a 10% IRS penalty. Additionally, due to UVU’s lag payroll, you must wait 31 days from the date you end employment to cash out or rollover your account. This will provide time for UVU to make the final contribution to your 401(a) account. Contact your investment provider(s) for additional information regarding your options.
What about my other benefits?
Participation in a flex spending account (FSA), or a dependent care flex spending account (DCFSA) or health savings account (HSA) will cease at the time of termination. You will have 90-days after the end of your employment to submit FSA and DCFSA claims for reimbursement. You may have supplemental benefits that provide an option to continue coverage after your employment ends. Contact your supplemental insurance carrier regarding options or Human Resources for additional information.
Are there any mental health benefit resources available to help deal with the pressures of COVID-19 or my layoff?
A free emotional health relief hotline through Intermountain Healthcare is available to anyone feeling emotional distress due to COVID-19. This hotline is available to all Utahns seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The phone number is 833-442-2211. 
I have equipment and keys that belong to UVU. Do I need to return them?
Please work with your supervisor to return any laptops or electronic equipment and any files, records, or documents. You will also be required to return any keys or proximity access cards.
What about my personal items that are in my office or work area?
Since time is available prior to the beginning of the layoff, there should be time to collect personal items from your work area. Please work with your supervisor to establish a time when you can safely come to campus prior to the layoff commencing.
How can I access food resources, if needed?

The UVU Food Pantry has temporarily suspended our services to reduce strain on community food bank resources. To find community food resources closest to you, please visit bit.ly/UVUFOOD. As soon as we are able to resume our services, we will update the UVU Food Pantry website.

If you have children, all area school districts have been authorized to offer free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches for all children ages 0–18. For a list of locations, please contact your child’s school district.

Are there community resources available to students who are facing food or housing insecurity?
Yes. Please visit Student Care Website to access community resources or dial 211 to access the United Way of Utah County or visit the United Way Website to help support food or housing insecurity.
For Students – What if I can’t pay a bill or have an urgent, unexpected expense?

If you have a specific expense that threatens your housing, health, or safety, you can apply for the expense to be covered by the UVU emergency fund. These funds are usually given in amounts ranging from $50-$500. You are only eligible for this funding if you have already accepted all grants and/or scholarships available to you. Fill out the emergency fund application to submit your request.

You may also be interested in working with UVU’s Money Management Resource Center, which can help with managing money. Virtual appointments are now available.

How do I access Financial Aid?

Schedule a phone appointment: Financial Aid Website

Email: faresponse@uvu.edu

Live chat: Financial Aid Website

How can I access the CARES Act funding as a student?

Visit the Financial Aid website for more information.

What resources are available at Student Health Services?

The following resources are available:

 Medical services

 Mental health services

 Psychiatric services

 Crisis services

If you are in crisis, please access the SafeUT app, which will connect you to licensed counselors who are ready to respond 24/7 at no cost. You can text, call, or submit a tip anonymously.

Here are additional resources:

 Tips for coping with COVID-19 anxiety

 Managing stress and worries

 Mental health and coping during COVID-19 (CDC)

Due to the continutally changing environment surrounding COVID-19, FAQ's that were previously asked but are no longer relevent to the current situation have been moved to a Employee Historical FAQ List