Human Resources FAQs
Employees should contact their healthcare providers for guidance. Employees who are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath should stay home following usual procedures for notifying their supervisor. Management may approve paid administrative leave for temporary and permanent employees who request leave due to having symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 through March 31, 2020. If an employee is feeling well enough to work, they may also arrange with their supervisor to work remotely, if possible, but employees who are sick for any reason should focus on getting well rather than working.
It is impossible to pinpoint precisely when and where someone contracts Covid-19.. There are programs available, such as the Family First Relief Coronavirus Act (FFRCA) – regardless of how the illness was contracted.
The employee may be eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL), Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML), administrative leave, personal leave, or a combination thereof, if they are demonstrating symptoms potentially related to Covid-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) in accordance with the guidelines set forth below. If the employee feels well enough to work, the supervisor could allow the employee to work remotely full-time or part-time.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL): The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides up to two weeks of EPSL (80 hours, pro-rated for part-time employees) to all active employees (both permanent and temporary). Employees who have been designated as health care providers and emergency responders have been excluded from eligibility. This leave is counted separately from a permanent employee’s normally accrued sick leave.
Please follow-up via email to Office of Human Resources - Calvin Holloway – email@example.com for specifics.
Flexibility should be exercised. You may consider the options available in your space. For example, conference rooms could be used for meetings with students. Perhaps in establishing appointments, use a block of time and schedule the conference room for usage. Also, please consider using alternative meeting spaces such as the library, Thompson Center, etc. Virtual meetings will also continue to be an option – to the extent possible.
Plexiglass shields will be provided for certain offices considered forward facing. These will be put in place after classroom spaces are completed. Signage will be displayed throughout buildings to encourage social distancing and other precautions.
For March 16 – March 31, 2020, a permanent or temporary employee may be granted paid administrative leave if:
- The employee is quarantined by a public health official due to possible exposure but has not been determined to be infected with COVID-19
- The employee is having symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or is caring for a dependent with such symptoms
- The employee is high risk for COVID-19 infection or is a caregiver to someone who is high risk
- The employee must care for a parent, child, or spouse due to a child/elder care facility or school closing
- The employee is not a mandatory employee and due to the nature of their position, cannot perform their duties remotely
Employees who are quarantined at the direction of public health officials will receive paid administrative leave until the specified period of time ends or the employee becomes ill, whichever comes first. This applies to both permanent and temporary employees. Written verification from a public health official is required to confirm this status as soon as practicable.
Once a permanent employee becomes ill, then the employee can receive paid administrative leave through March 31, 2020, and if ill beyond that date, use available compensatory leave, sick leave, vacation leave, or bonus leave. If the employee does not have enough sick leave, the institution may work with the employee to advance leave or make arrangements for the employee to make up the time if the UNC System or institution determines that the work situation will allow it.
Management may approve paid administrative leave for temporary and permanent employees who request leave due to having symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) through March 31, 2020. If a permanent employee does not otherwise have enough paid leave available, the institution may work with the employee to advance sick or vacation leave or to make arrangements for the employee to make up the time if the UNC System or institution determines that the work situation will allow it.
Yes. Non-mandatory employees (permanent and temporary) should discuss their options for working offsite with their supervisors. If a supervisor determines that the employee cannot perform their duties remotely, then the employee may be granted paid administrative leave through March 31, 2020. After March 31, permanent employees would have to use available vacation leave, bonus leave, or compensatory time. Temporary employees who cannot work remotely after March 31 will not receive compensation under current policy provisions.
Similar to adverse weather make-up provisions, after March 31, 2020, permanent employees may use paid administrative leave and make up the time within 24 months if the employee is sick and has exhausted their sick leave, or the employee cannot work due to closings of child/elder care facilities or schools (employee does not have to exhaust their available leave to use make up leave).
Through March 31, 2020, both temporary and permanent employees may use paid administrative leave for these two issues. After March 31, permanent employees may use the make-up leave if applicable; temporary employees would not have paid leave available to them.
Public health officials have identified people as "high-risk" for contracting COVID-19 and experiencing greater complications as those who meet any of the following criteria or who may care for someone with any of the following criteria:
- are over 65 years of age,
- have underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, and/or
- have weakened immune systems.
If there is reason to believe an employee has been exposed, or has a high-risk individual in the household, and the employee cannot perform work remotely, then the employee may use paid administrative leave through March 31, 2020. Afterward, if the employee is not symptomatic or is not caring for a symptomatic or high-risk family member, then the employee would need to use available vacation, bonus, or compensatory time.
Through March 31, 2020, only mandatory employees should report to work onsite. After March 31, employees with medical conditions that could be exacerbated by COVID-19 should contact Human Resources and/or the institution’s ADA Compliance Officer to request an accommodation. Accommodations may include work from home arrangements, adjustments of work schedules, or adjustments of work locations. Employees will be required to provide medical documentation of their condition and how it may be exacerbated by COVID-19.
The UNC System is monitoring information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 and pregnant women. Through March 31, 2020, only mandatory employees should report to work onsite. After March 31, supervisors should work with Human Resources and/or the institution’s ADA Compliance Officer to review available options based on the essential job functions, healthcare provider information, and the most recently available guidance from the CDC and other public health officials.
Yes. When the UNC System Office or an institution is open but a non-mandatory employee is required to stay home with a spouse, child, or parent because of the closure of a daycare facility, school, or eldercare facility, the non-mandatory employee may use paid administrative leave through March 31, 2020 if the employee cannot work from home due to the child/elder needs or because their work cannot be performed remotely. Supervisors may discuss alternative work off- hours work teleworking schedules that may better accommodate the employee’s needs, and teleworking arrangement may include a combination of part-time work and paid leave.
After March 31, the non-mandatory employee may, with approval of their supervisor, be allowed to work at home, to elect to use available leave, or, if the employee has insufficient leave available, to advance leave or to allow the employee to make up time within 24 months as provided by policy. The institution has the right to request appropriate documentation to substantiate need.
Through March 31, only mandatory employees should report to work onsite. Supervisors may determine whether an employee should work their full schedule onsite or work a combination onsite/telework schedule. Employees will need to coordinate with their supervisors to determine the parameters of their teleworking arrangements. This kind of arrangement may include other onsite social distancing practices (employees being onsite alternate days, or some in the morning, some in the afternoon, etc.) to reduce close contact among employees or to fulfill mandatory onsite work.
Through March 31, only mandatory employees should report to work onsite. Supervisors may determine whether an employee should work their full schedule onsite, offsite, or work a combination onsite/telework schedule. Teleworking arrangements may include working part-time or full-time offsite. The supervisor will make the final determination, since decisions for employees working onsite must be coordinated to reduce close contact among employees.
All permanent and temporary employees, including student employees, who are not designated as mandatory and who cannot perform their work duties from home may receive paid administrative leave through March 31, 2020. After March 31, permanent employees would have to use available vacation/bonus leave or compensatory time or take leave without pay. Temporary employees who cannot work remotely after March 31 will not receive compensation under current policy provisions.
If an employee is not subject to quarantine by public health authorities, but the employee has symptoms associated with a communicable disease, then UNC System or constituent institution leadership may direct the employee to not report to work. Contact Human Resources for guidance. Management may approve paid administrative leave for temporary and permanent employees demonstrating symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath through March 31, 2020. If the employee feels well enough to work, the supervisor could allow the employee to work remotely full-time or part-time.
Not all positions may be able to telework for a sustained period of time. We encourage supervisors to try to find assignments that employees can perform remotely, such as online training, if their regular duties cannot be done outside the office. Otherwise, both permanent and temporary employees may use paid administrative leave through March 31, 2020. After March 31, permanent employees who cannot work from home would need to use available vacation/bonus leave or compensatory time. Temporary employees who cannot work remotely after March 31 will not receive compensation under current policy provisions.
Yes. Additional employees may be designated to work as needed due to the length of the emergency, illness of mandatory employees, or other needs. Employees are expected to receive appropriate information and training as needed. If mandatory personnel are required to remain at the worksite for an extended period of time, the University will provide adequate housing and food.
Blue Cross Blue Shield NC will expand and promote access to virtual visits with primary care providers wherever possible. Members who have concerns about whether they have been exposed to COVID-19 should call their primary care provider to determine if telehealth services are available. Virtual visits are covered under the State Health Plan.
The State Health Plan will cover any coronavirus testing requested by a healthcare provider or public health authority; however, there may still be an office visit co-pay required.
Yes. Because North Carolina has declared a State of Emergency, State Health Plan members can request an early refill on 30-day prescriptions for maintenance medications at any in-network pharmacy. Consult with your provider and pharmacy.
Research conducted in-person at off-campus locations must comply with all applicable laws and regulations (HHS, NC-Forsyth County DOH, CDC, WHO, and any other relevant health agencies for updates).
Therefore, modify your protocol to use remote interaction such as telephone or Zoom.
Yes, you can continue to engage in any research-related activities (e.g., recruitment, consent, data collection) that do not require in-person interaction. If you already have IRB approval to conduct these types of activities, then there is no need for any further action.
If your current IRB-approved study involves in-person activities, consider whether it is feasible to modify to use remote interaction. Amendments to currently approved protocols will be required. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of the modification and any resulting changes to your consent process and data security plans.
If you would like to modify your study procedures to replace in-person study visits with virtual/remote or phone options, these changes must be approved in advance by the IRB as an amendment to the approved study.
For the following types of modifications, please send an email to email@example.com with a description of the modification and any resulting changes to your consent process and data security plans.
- Social Distancing (move from in-person to remote data collection)
- Recruitment process change (move from in-person to remote)
- Consent process change (move from in-person to remote, written to oral, etc.)
- Enrollment (changes in the number of participants being recruited/enrolled)
- Study site/location changes
- Study population change (e.g., change in age range, location of participants)
- Personnel (add or remove study team members)
Other: send us an email describing the change, and we will let you know if we need more information.
Yes, the PI may decide to voluntarily pause, delay, or reschedule interactions with participants because of COVID-19; in such cases, there is no need to inform the IRB, regardless of the review level. However, you must:
- ensure the voluntary pause does not increase any risk to the study participants if your study is a greater-than-minimal risk study that involves some type of patient care.
- contact study participants who will be affected by this pause (e.g., a study visit will be cancelled, etc.).
- Investigators should notify the study sponsor and any other necessary individuals or agencies, as required.
- Investigators should document the voluntary pause in their research records.
Yes. Even if the research is paused for the time being, the PI must still submit the request for Continuing Review to ensure that the study's IRB approval remains active. This will allow the research to begin immediately when appropriate and/or permitted.
COVID-19 Resources for Researchers
- Use of Electronic Informed Consent: Questions and Answers (updated 12/2016)
- Guidance for NIH-funded Clinical Trials and Human Subjects Studies Affected by COVID-19 (updated 3/16/20)
- Interim Guidance for Patients on Clinical Trials Supported by the NCI Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program and the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) (updated 3/13/20)