Frequently Asked Questions

Work-Related

see also HR Coronavirus Resources

General

 What should I do to ensure social distancing while at work?

Social distancing as defined by the Centers for Disease Control means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible. We are encouraging the use of Zoom, teleconferencing, etc., working from home, flexible work hours, and other actions to maximize social distancing.

 What should I do if I need time away from work due to self-quarantine or self-isolation or another reason related to COVID (ex: child’s school is closed or need to take care of an immediate family member)?

There are several options if you need time away for reasons related to COVID. 

See the UWSP HR Coronavirus website under Needing Time Away from Work section.

 What should I do if I feel I’m being treated unfairly, discriminated against, or harassed due to concerns around this issue?

If you experience or witness harassment or discrimination, you are encouraged to file a bias incident report.  

Employees may contact Human Resources to report if they prefer. For resources and support: Connect with Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or CAP Services as needed. 

Students may contact the Dean of Students office with questions and to connect to resources. 

 What information can or will the university share regarding any student or employee who recently traveled overseas?

In compliance with state and federal health privacy laws, UWSP will not release names or identifying information of any student or employee. 

 I have concerns about a colleague/employee within my department being at work (they have traveled, or they are showing coronavirus symptoms), what should I do?

Speak with your supervisor about your concerns.

Supervisors: Speak with your employee to fully assess the situation. Review the resources which may be helpful:

 What should I do if the media calls?

Media inquiries may be directed to University Communications and Marketing at 715-346-2490. 

 I am facing a complex circumstance, with whom do I speak?

There may be times when employees require additional support that our current policies have not considered. If you are involved with a particularly difficult circumstance, our Human Resources staff are available to offer guidance and support.  For confidential assistance, you are welcome to use the Employee Assistance Program. Both are a benefit to you and your family to help with emotional support, legal assistance and even financial counseling.

​Returning to Campus

 What is the proper PPE and safety protocols for returning to campus?

Pivot Point: Guide to Returning to Campus and the appendices provide safety protocols that we have already put in place, and more are forthcoming. PPE has been issued to all employees and administrative controls are in place to reduce and eliminate the opportunity for spread. We would never intentionally return an employee to a hazardous work environment and are doing a great deal to minimize or eliminate the risks.

 What is the campus administration doing to effectively provide face coverings, develop sanitizing protocols and offer guidance on how employees should facilitate conversations with their supervisors about continuing to work from home?

During the July 30, 2020 Town Hall, campus sanitation practices were shared along with how we will determine any needs for even greater sanitizing. PPE has been issued, sanitization stations are available for access, and CDC guidelines (which are very prescriptive, strict, and conservative) are being implemented and enforced.

Supervisors were provided resources and training to have conversations with their employees and on how to redesign work to best modify according to the needs of employees. To see these resources, visit the UWSP HR COVID-19 page and review the Return to UW-Stevens Point for Work section materials. Individuals who are able to successfully work remotely are encouraged to continue doing so. This results in fewer people on campus to provide even more distancing opportunities and eliminating those remote workers as possible opportunities for spread to the employees working on campus.

 What happens if I do not have accrued leave or prefer to take unpaid leave (or have an employee who prefers or needs to take unpaid leave)?

It is the supervisor's discretion to approve an unpaid leave. Typically, if the leave is medically related, Human Resources has an employee complete a form. Given the situation of COVID-19, HR is suspending this practice for leaves due to a COVID-19 medical purpose. Before an employee takes unpaid leave for any reason, it is critical for the employee to understand the benefits and leave implications to taking unpaid leave. Individuals should contact Tina Rajski, benefits specialist, or hr@uwsp.edu.

If unable to be on campus physically or expectations change

 What about contingency preparations?

Please review your organization's essential and non-essential staff position designations. Review your Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan. Should the University suspend operations, your essential staff will need to understand if they are permitted to work remotely or if they are required to report to campus. In addition, your non-essential staff will need to understand that they should not report to their work location while the University or campuses are closed. 

Given the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation, we recommend that supervisors continue to discuss flexible working arrangements, such as flexible working hours or working remotely during suspended operations with non-essential campus staff and student workers. If productive work can be performed, supervisors are being tasked with setting those expectations and facilitating such work. UWSP encourages supervisors to be flexible and creative in considering temporary remote work arrangements so that the work of your department continues, and the needs of the University, students, faculty and staff are met. 

 I am being assigned different duties or remote work, what is expected from me?

You are expected to work if provided or expected to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. If working remotely: Human Resources has created a Working Remotely Guide to support you. The guide is a fluid document and will be updated regularly. More information is available within the Working Remotely FAQ section.

There is no change to requesting time off expectations, planned leave is based on supervisor approval. As with normal practice, individuals may request to take leave in accordance with UWS 1210 and UWS 1211 if they would like time away from work which is not related to the lack of work, being ill, or to take care of an immediate family member who is ill. 

 What should I do if I am ill?

First, take care of yourself. Do not report to campus. If you feel well enough to work remotely, you may do so in coordination with your supervisor's approval and expectations. If you cannot work due to illness, follow normal expectations for planned and unplanned absence requests/notifications. Also see the UWSP HR Coronavirus website under Needing Time Away from Work section.

 Is short-term disability applicable to COVID-19?

If you have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, short-term disability may apply. Visit the Disability Benefits webpage for information.

 What should I do if I’m afraid to go to work due to fear of being exposed to COVID-19?

Speak to your supervisor regarding your concerns. If you are able to have a flexible work arrangement, you may do so with your supervisor's approval. 

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for all employees, including student employees. EAP can help us work through anxieties and devise solutions and strategies that will allow us to be successful as employees and for our personal wellness and well-being. 

Working Remotely

 What is working remotely during COVID-19?

UWSP's commitment to safely and effectively meeting the public health challenges presented by COVID-19 extends to ensuring that University employees are permitted to work from home or another remote location whenever necessary during this particular health event.

Arrangements for working remotely are not new. However, they may be unfamiliar to supervisors and managers who have never done so, the Working Remotely Guide will help you and your team navigate potential remote working scenarios. 

Included in these resource pages, you will find guidance for supervisors, employees, and departments designed to help set up temporary remote work arrangements quickly and successfully. 

 What is working remotely and how does it differ from other forms of work?

Working remotely or telecommuting is a work arrangement in which some or all of the work is performed from home or another off-site location. In general, regular office hours are worked and deviations from that schedule require supervisor approval. 

Permanent telecommuting at UWSP is defined as an individual only working remotely or most of their working hours are done remotely. Telecommuting in this manner is done so on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the UWSP Telecommuting Policy and approval of a telecommuting agreement. If a telecommuting agreement is needed, please contact hr@uwsp.edu.  

Human Resources has created a Working Remotely Guide to support supervisors and employees. This is a fluid document and may be updated.

 Which jobs are suited for working remotely?

Working remotely is easiest to implement for jobs or tasks that require reading, writing, research, working with data, and talking on the phone. During this particular health event, meetings may also be better accommodated through Zoom or other meeting arrangement. In general, and at management's discretion, a position is suited to working remotely if the job or some components of it can be done off-site without disruption to the flow of work and communication. However, if the position is well suited, but the remaining work in need of completion is not suited to working remotely, leave arrangement will need to made and entered into the timesheet. 

 Which jobs are not as well suited for working remotely?

It is not uncommon to require employees in positions involving in-person contact, in-person customer service, or that rely upon specific equipment or supplies which are only available in the work location to work on site. Management and supervisory roles also generally may be excluded from consideration for remote working arrangements unless a department finds such an arrangement practical in meeting job responsibilities. Some jobs that may not seem appropriate at first may be modified so that employees can work remotely. 

 What’s most important to starting a productive remote working arrangement?

When clearly outlined and executed remote working arrangements can prove beneficial to employees and managers alike. Managers should articulate clear procedures regarding check-in times and hours of availability. With proper planning, communications problems can be minimized. Indeed, well-planned flexible work arrangements sometimes enable departments to extend their service hours, and to make more effective use of space and equipment.

 Are there support resources for technology (such as ZOOM) use to work remotely?

Remote Desktop

The following videos and documents to help students and teachers get up and running with Zoom:

Teaching Focused:

Human Resources has created a Working Remotely Guide to support supervisors and employees. This is a fluid document and may be updated.

Supervisors

 What is expected of me as a supervisor during this time specifically for operations?

To maintain operations, work should be flexible and assigned when possible. You are encouraged to create flexible work arrangements to maximize business operations. You have the discretion to determine which employees may perform work remotely and which employees are required to perform their work duties on campus due to the nature of their work and/or staffing needs. Related work, which is not normally performed by the employee, may be assigned. Additionally, you have the discretion to determine if work can reasonably be completed through a flexible schedule. 

 I have concerns about a colleague/employee within my department being at work (having traveled or showing symptoms), what should I do?

Supervisors: Speak with your employee to fully assess the situation. Review the resources which may be helpful:

 What are the supervisor guidelines for supporting remote work?

Working remotely functions best when supervisors and employees communicate clearly about expectations. Below are resources to support your success.

Remote Work Parameters and Guidelines

Leadership and Department Checklists for Telecommuting

Remote Work Plan Template Excel Sheet

 What should I do if I have relied on student employees for essential functions or duties (ex: customer service, answering phones, caring for animals, etc.) and the student employees are not returning to campus or I do not have enough student employees to cover the essential functions?

Refer to your department's Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan.  

If your COOP did not cover this, work with your department management to update your plan.  However, if no student employees are available, coordinate the work to be completed by department personnel to complete the duties. You may work across units and departments to see if there may be available labor in those areas. 

 Since classes will be online, can I have student employees work more than 25 hours?

No. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements and SYS 1237 still apply. Student employees, if working, should remain under 25 hours to not trigger fines under ACA.  In 2017, UWSP incurred $9,605 in ACA fines for the previous year.  These fines will be charged back to the units that created them.

 Can a student work remotely?

Review the eligibility requirements of the Interim: Short-Term Telecommuting Policy. It could be very difficult to meet all those eligibility requirements for a student employee. However, the eligibility requirements are quite clear and those employees that meet it can do so. Refer to the "Working Remotely" section of the FAQs on this page.

Student Employees

 Classes are online, can I work on-campus more than 25 hours?

No. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements and SYS 1237 still apply. Student employees, if working, should remain under 25 hours to not trigger fines under ACA.  

 As a student employee, can I work remotely?

Review the eligibility requirements of the Interim: Short-Term Telecommuting Policy. It could be very difficult to meet all those eligibility requirements for a student employee. However, the eligibility requirements are quite clear and those employees that meet it can do so. Refer to the "Working Remotely" section of the FAQs on this page.

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