Human Resources: COVID-19 Remote Work and Supplemental Leave Protocol

To: Faculty and Staff
Last Updated: April 17, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.
Posted: March 17, 2020 at 10:24 a.m.

As guidance from local, state, and federal health officials continues to evolve in response to the coronavirus national emergency, we are taking the following steps to maintain operations while keeping our campus community safe and healthy, and to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.

The University’s Executive Management Council has issued a COVID-19 Emergency Response Protocol for Continuity of Operations and Employee Security. The first protocol advises supervisors in all departments to evaluate work-from-home options for employees who express a need to be at home as a result of a COVID19 non-illness related circumstance and to make those opportunities available where appropriate. For example, the need to care for a child who is displaced from school or daycare as the result of COVID-19. Employees who qualify will be asked to sign a remote work agreement. Employees cannot work from home if they are ill or are caring for a family member who is ill (but see the second protocol below).  Employees working from home are expected to work the same amount of hours per day but may have to adjust their normal work hours.

The second protocol authorizes up to 15 paid supplemental leave days for any employees who have a need to be at home as a result of any COVID-19 related circumstance, including illness. Employees in this circumstance will be required to use any available sick time before the supplemental days will be applied. The paid supplemental days are applied as needed and are not awarded in advance of their use. Employees may use supplemental leave days before using available vacation days. Employees who qualify to work from home are encouraged to use that option if the need is related to child care or other non-illness COVID-19 related needs.

The protocols and an application matrix are attached below this message for your review. The protocols will be in effect from Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until Monday, April 13, 2020 (*remote work extended until May 1, 2020), unless circumstances indicate a need to update the protocols. Any subsequent updates will be communicated to you in a similar manner as this message.

Please continue to monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus and campus safety information page. A copy of the protocol and application matrix will also be available on the HR webpage.

COVID-19 Response Protocol

The objectives of these protocols are to (1) sustain University operations through the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 national emergency, while (2) providing support to the extent practical for University employees impacted by these disruptions.

The protocols will be in effect March 17, 2020 through April 13, 2020 (*remote work extended until May 1, 2020). The University will continuously monitor circumstances covered by these protocols and may modify, suspend, or discontinue the protocols at any time, or extend the protocols beyond their end date.

Supervisors are encouraged to provide and require work-from-home opportunities in lieu of paid or unpaid leave time for employees so long as:
  1. The nature of the job allows for essential functions to be performed remotely;
  2. The employee is willing to make incidental returns to campus if job related circumstances make such returns necessary;
  3. The staff employee signs a remote work agreement, and;
  4. The reason for the absence is not due to the employee or a family member currently being ill.
    *Faculty remote work has already been implemented.
Employees will be provided up to 15 work days of supplemental paid leave in addition to their current vacation and sick time balances so long as the requested leave:
  1. Is to stay with a minor child whose school or daycare has closed because of the COVID-19 emergency;
  2. Is to care for a qualified family member who is ill with COVID-19, or;
  3. Is to meet the obligations of a quarantine associated with the COVID-19 emergency or is ill and has, suspects they may have COVID-19.
Employees will be required to first apply available sick time to the leave before the University will apply the leave time supplement.
  • Employees who notify the University they are ill or caring for a family member who is ill, without regard to the specific illness, are not subject to the remote work requirement and should be referred immediately to contact the Office of Human Resource Services.  

COVID-19 Protocol Application Matrix


First Protocol – Work from Home

Employee can do their work from home and requests to work from home. 

NOTE:
Employees who qualify are encouraged to use this protocol, if possible, for any non-illness COVID-19 related matters like child care or a quarantine. 

The department head considers this request and approves if appropriate.  Employee signs remote work agreement. No use of sick time or supplemental leave time.


Second Protocol – 15 Days Supplemental Leave

Employee doesn’t qualify to work from home and requests leave for a COVID-19 related circumstance, i.e. To stay home with a minor child due to school closure; quarantined by Valparaiso University or primary care physician due to potential exposure, is ill or is caring for an ill family member or; is in a high risk category as defined by the CDC.

Employee must first use available sick days before supplemental leave days are applied up to a maximum of 15 days


Employee qualifies to work from home but cannot work from home because he/she is ill or are caring for a family member who is ill 

Employee must first use available sick days before supplemental leave days are applied up to a maximum of 15 days


After 15 days of paid supplemental leave time, the following pay guidelines apply.

Employee is ill with COVID-19

Employee may use vacation time off.  After 7 days, eligible employees will be placed on Short Term Disability.  For employees who are ineligible for STD, and if vacation and sick time off benefits have been exhausted the employee may choose to take unpaid time off. 


Employee is quarantined by Valparaiso University or primary care physician because of exposure to someone infected with COVID-19

Employee must stay home for 14 days.  If due to other circumstances the employee has used their 15 days of paid time off, employee may use vacation time off benefits.  If vacation time off benefits have been exhausted the employee may choose to take time as unpaid.


Employee is needed to stay home to care for a family member who is ill with COVID-19

Employee may use vacation time off benefits.  If vacation time off benefits have been exhausted the employee may choose to take time as unpaid.


Valparaiso University campus suspends operations.

Valparaiso University Suspended Operations pay policy, 4.5.1.1 will be followed.  Essential personnel only will be required to report to campus and will be paid according to the suspended operations pay policy.