Q&A for Employees

What will be the determination if Pacific closes due to coronavirus?

We are in daily conversation with the university Coronavirus Task Force and officials from OHA and are monitoring this situation closely. This is a dynamic situation and there is no one trigger that may cause us to suspend operations. We will be working closely with health officials should members of the Pacific community be diagnosed with COVID-19.

If a staff member is placed under self-monitoring/self-isolation, mandated quarantine or becomes ill from COVID-19 will that staff person still get paid?

The health and wellbeing of our community remains our number one priority. As such, and in response to the current COVID-19 situation the university has authorized eligible employees to use up to 14 days of paid emergency leave. Eligibility requirements for this leave include diagnosis by a medical provider or direction to isolate by a governmental entity, the inability to remotely work and the exhaustion of sick and vacation balances. Additionally, sufficient verifiable documentation is required. Please utilize Paycom when utilizing these hours, under accrual type, choose, “Emergency Medical Leave” (EML).

If an absence for illness goes beyond 14 days, an employee may be eligible for Short Term Disability and should contact Tracy King (Benefits Manager HR).

Can I work from home?

We are taking measures as a proactive response to adapt to the delivery of our instruction to students and to increase social distancing practices as we keep the well-being of our students, employees and community a top priority.  Therefore, in situations where employees can carry out their job duties in a remote setting, the university will work to facilitate the remote work.  Our general policy (A.6 Work At Home policy) for remote work can provide guidance as assessments are made.  CDC defined vulnerable employees should minimize contact and follow the procedures outlined below in item 4.

Who should faculty or staff members contact if they have a condition that makes them more vulnerable to coronavirus and have received specific instructions from their healthcare provider?

Please email both Tracy King (HR Benefits Manager) and your supervisor, director or dean to alert us that you are part of the CDC defined vulnerable population and provide to HR any relevant medical documentation that will assist us in accommodating your needs.

Can employees take sick and/or vacation time to care for children who are home due to school closures related to COVID-19?

If the supervisor agrees the employee can work remotely that should be allowed and facilitated by the university unless an undue hardship exists.  If an employee can not work remotely then they may use their leave balances (sick or vacation) to cover any absences.

How do staff report absences? 

Staff unable to come to work due to COVID-19 symptoms (fever of 100 degrees or above, cough or sore throat), self-monitoring/self-isolation, or mandated quarantine, or daycare or school closure that requires them to be home with their child may work remotely if operationally feasible. If remote work is not operationally feasible, employees may use available leave balances, including sick leave. All employees, including faculty and staff should report coronavirus-like symptoms to their supervisor/director/dean and register their illness here.  

Supervisors should actively encourage sick employees to stay home, but should not require employees who are sick to validate their illness. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.

What is Pacific doing to protect students and employees?

As part of our standard operations, Custodial Services is continuing its cleaning and disinfection throughout campus. In addition, we encourage areas to wipe down high-traffic areas and door knobs often with disinfectant wipes. Due to the concerns of COVID-19, we encourage departments to continue to source a supply of facial tissues and Clorox-type wipes for office and classroom usage.  

What should a supervisor do if an employee comes to work ill?

Employees should stay home when they are ill, particularly if they have a fever. Managers should give their employees explicit permission to stay home when they are ill. Employees should be encouraged to care for themselves, by resting and recovering, before returning to work. If a manager or employee is concerned that an employee/coworker is ill at work, the manager should have a private conversation with the employee, ensure the employee feels free to go home if they are feeling ill, and encourage the employee to take care of themselves first. The university can exclude employees and students from campus based on CDC recommendations that, “if you are sick, you should stay home.”  

If an employee has indirect contact with an infected person, should they still attend work?

As COVID-19 becomes more widespread in the U.S., the university is preparing for the possibility that students, employees and instructors will come into direct or indirect contact with someone infected. For employees who may have had tertiary contact (i.e., contact with someone who came into contact with an infected person), we are following CDC guidelines which consider this a low-risk scenario, not requiring any restrictions or self-isolation. We understand this can feel very scary and encourage managers and supervisors to help employees become informed and take precautions.

How can I assist employees who are anxious about COVID-19?

The news, and especially the uncertainty, can feel very scary. We want to make sure you are aware the campus website has a dedicated coronavirus webpage. Additionally, the Employee Assistance Program offers confidential, cost-free assessment, intervention, consultation and referral services to all employees.

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