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K-State Today

March 10, 2020

Employee questions about COVID-19 answered

Submitted by Human Capital Services

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that institutions of higher education be prepared if employees are impacted by COVID-19. With those recommendations in mind, the Division of Human Capital Services has compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding procedures and processes as the COVID-19 situation develops. All FAQ about this situation are listed on the university's COVID-19 update page as is other information about university operations. 

Is the university continuing under normal operations?

Faculty and staff should follow normal operating procedures. This includes normal processes for requesting modifications to work location, schedule, telecommuting, job duties; or for requesting use of any type of leave. If you are ill and not feeling well, please consider staying home from work. Notify your supervisor and use any leave that you might be eligible to use for an illness. This will help keep our workforce healthy.

What options do I have if I am concerned about reporting to work due to the coronavirus?

If you have a medical condition impacting your ability to report to work, contact your supervisor to follow approved leave procedures including the request of sick leave or other leave available. If extended leave for Family and Medical Leave, or FMLA, is needed, please follow the normal departmental procedure. Questions about FMLA or sick leave may be directed to the benefits team at 785-532-6277. If Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, accommodations are requested, please contact the ADA Coordinator at 785-532-1868.

I don't have a medical condition, but I am concerned about workplace exposure to coronavirus. How do I know what to do?

The university is closely monitoring the coronavirus and updates specific to K-State will be provided on the university's update website.

What do I do if I am returning from a location that the CDC advises self-isolation and not returning to work, or I have an employee I supervise who is in this situation?

Employees and supervisors should follow CDC travel health guidance when self-isolation or not returning to work for a period of time is advised. If an employee is required to self-isolate and/or stay at home based on these guidelines, they should use approved leave and monitor their health during travel and for the recommended 14 days after returning to the United States.

If an employee is unable to return to the U.S. from a location due to travel restrictions or because they are unable to get their visa stamped by the U.S. Embassy in that country, can they work?

Any supervisor requesting that an employee perform work in that country should contact Human Capital Services at 785-532-6277 and the IT Help Desk at helpdesk@k-state.edu with any information security, compliance or risk concerns.

Are there alternatives to using leave?

Upon prior authorization from the supervisor and if business operations allow, employees in these situations may request telecommuting from home or an alternate location. Faculty members should seek approval from the appropriate department chair, head or dean. The procedure for this request will not follow our formal telecommuting agreement process. Feel free to contact Employee Relations and Engagement for guidance at 785-532-6277.

What is the process for seeking approval for telecommuting in this situation?

A formal telecommuting agreement is not required to work from home/alternate location on an infrequent basis or for a brief period of time in this specific situation. If an employee requests to work from home/alternative location, the employee should email their supervisor to identify the location the employee wishes to work from and for how long. The supervisor should respond back either approving or denying the request along with clearly identifying the expectations for the work and the time period approved. Supervisors of employees on H1-B visas should contact Maria Bebee at 785-532-6449 before proceeding with any telecommuting. Employees should be in regular contact with their supervisor during this time about their work, productivity, etc. Supervisors may, at any time, revoke permission for employees to work from home/alternate work site.

Am I required to have a dedicated home office for telecommuting?

Employees can work from any approved alternative work site that allows them to fully perform the duties of their position.

How will K-State notify us if operations are changed?

The most up-to-date information about how the university is preparing and handling programs in response to COVID-19 will be posted in K-State Today and on the COVID-19 update website. In addition, check the FAQ website regularly regarding this fluid situation. A record of all K-State Today articles about COVID-19 is compiled at the bottom of the COVID-19 summary page.

What if I still have questions regarding leave and work options?

If you have questions regarding the use of leave, please contact Human Capital Services' benefits and resource center teams at 785-532-6277. If you have questions about telecommuting or other employment concerns, please contact Human Capital Services' employee relations and engagement team at 785-532-6277.

How can I help combat anxiety?

We understand that members of the K-State community may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety during this time. Human Capital Services encourages employees who feel anxious or worried about friends and family because of the coronavirus to contact the K-State Employee Assistance Plan, or EAP, which is available to help. Kansas EAP may be reached available 24/7 at 888-275-1205, press option 1.