Frequently Asked Questions for Employees

▼   USA Jags Flu Shot Incentive

Get your flu shot today! As an incentive for faculty and staff to get the flu vaccine, University main campus employees who accrue vacation and who receive the flu vaccine by 10/31/2020, will be eligible to receive one day of personal leave, prorated based on FTE. To submit your documentation:

1.       Scan or take a picture of your documentation

2.      Email your documentation to jagflushot@southalabama.edu

3.      Please include with your flu shot documentation your full name, J number, and  date of vaccination.

4.      Send!!!!!

Very Important!  You must get your flu shot by 10/31/2020 and email your documentation by 4:30 p.m. on 11/2/2020 to be eligible for the incentive.

For biweekly employees, the personal day will be effective on 11/8/2020 and 11/1/2020 for regular monthly employees. This personal day must be used by 01/31/2021.

University main campus employees who do not accrue vacation may receive a $25 Starbucks gift card as an incentive for getting the flu vaccine.

Free flu vaccines will be offered on campus at the intramural field house from 8 AM until 4 PM on October 14, 15, 28 and 29. You can receive the flu shot on campus or at an off-campus location.

▼   What is the GuideSafe™ Jag Healthcheck and Exposure Notification App?

As part of USA’s ongoing efforts to provide the safest possible environment, the University is making available two new tools that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The first of these tools is the GuideSafe™ Jag Healthcheck, a simple health screening tool that must be completed daily by all USA general division employees (not USA Health employees) and all USA students, except those who are fully remote (i.e. not coming to campus for any classes or activities). This daily health screening will take only a few minutes to complete, and will help identify possible cases of COVID-19 in our community. Jag Healthcheck is required to maintain your ability to come to campus.

Our second new tool is the GuideSafe™ Exposure Notification App, an anonymous system which, if you test positive for COVID-19, will allow the Alabama Department of Public Health to notify those you do not know — or cannot remember coming into contact with — that they may have been exposed. Users of the app exchange anonymous codes among their phones using Bluetooth — no location data is ever stored or exchanged, and your personal information is never shared. This tool is strongly encouraged for all members of the University community.

Both of these tools can be accessed through the free Guidesafe App, which is available at the app store for Apple and Android devices or by visiting the GuideSafe website.

In addition, Jag Healthcheck can be accessed directly from any device by going to the website jaghealthcheck.southalabama. edu.

For more information on these tools, please see the GuideSafe section of USA’s reopening websites for students, faculty and staff.

▼   What are the reentry requirements for Student Employees?

Student Employees will follow the same reentry requirements of general Students. For additional information please visit https://www.southalabama.edu/reopening/students.html.

▼   What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. For additional information and eligibility please visit https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/fmla.html

▼   What if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

You should not report to work if you have symptoms like fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle, body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and/or diarrhea.  You should report your absence in accordance with your department’s call-in procedure, even if you are working remotely or on administrative leave.  For your safety and the safety of others, your supervisor will ask you if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. If your response is yes, your supervisor will provide Human Resources with your contact information and ask you to remain at home and wait for a call from the USA Triage/Testing Center for further instructions.  If you have already sought your own medical treatment, please advise your supervisor.

You are required to provide your supervisor, as soon as a possible, but no later than three (3) calendar days, a medical update issued by your healthcare provider regarding medical recommendations and a plan to return to work.

Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19 should be treated as sick leave.  Use of Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) may also be a possibility. If your absence is COVID-19 related and you will remain out of work for more than 3 days, you must complete this form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf. The form must be submitted to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will then forward the form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for review and approval.

▼   What if I need to take care of a family member who has COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have sudden caring responsibilities for a family member, you should report your absence in accordance with your department’s call-in procedure. 

Absences due to illness or injury of a member of the employee’s immediate family related to COVID-19 should be treated as sick leave.  Use of Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) may also be a possibility. If your absence is COVID-19 related and you will remain out of work for more than 3 days, you must complete this form:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf.

The form must be submitted to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will then forward the form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for review and approval.

▼   What are my options if I am caring for my child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons?

Temporary remote working arrangements may be approved if you are unable to return to work due to a COVID-19 related event. Remote working possibilities will be dependent on the specific position and department needs. The duration of any remote working arrangement is at your supervisor’s discretion. You will need to submit a written request to your supervisor for review. Final approval is at the discretion of your supervisor and/or department head and division head.

However, if you are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons and you are unable to telework; you may be eligible for use of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). To apply you must complete a leave of absence request form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf. You must route the form via email to your supervisor. The form must be signed by your supervisor and then forwarded, along with any supporting documentation, to the email address indicated on the form for review and approval.  For additional information regarding supporting documentation please visit https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/fmla.html

▼   Who is an immediate Family Member under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

You may take paid sick leave under the FFCRA to care for an immediate family member or someone who regularly resides in your home. You may also take paid sick leave under the FFCRA to care for someone where the relationship creates an expectation that the employee must care for the person in a quarantine or self-quarantine situation, and that individual depends on you for care during the quarantine or self-quarantine. However, you may not take paid sick leave under the FFCRA to care for someone with whom you have no relationship. Nor can you take paid sick leave under the FFCRA to care for someone who does not expect or depend on your care during his or her quarantine or self-quarantine due to COVID-19.

▼   What type of verification/documentation is required once I am placed on COVID-19 related leave?

The required documentation is based on the type FFCRA qualifying reason you have selected on the leave of absence request form.

An employee is entitled to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including unable to telework, because the employee:

  1. Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (For the first two weeks you must provide a copy of any quarantine or isolation order. Your supervisor will verify by signing the request for a leave of absence form that you are eligible for this option because you have been required to quarantine. If the absence extends beyond two weeks, you will be required to provide Human Resources with a completed Medical Certification from your physician.)
  2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19; (You must provide Human Resources with a doctor’s note indicating the start date and end date of the absence. The doctor’s note is due immediately and can be sent to Human Resources via email. If your absence extends  beyond two weeks, you will be required to provide Human Resources with a completed Medical Certification from your physician)
  3. Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis; (You must provide Human Resources with a doctor’s note indicating the start date and end date of the absence. The doctor’s note is due immediately and can be sent to Human Resources via email. If your absence extends beyond two weeks, you will be required to provide Human Resources with a completed Medical Certification from your physician.)
  4. Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2); (You must provide Human Resources with a doctor’s note indicating the start date and end date of the absence. The doctor’s note is due immediately and can be sent to Human resource via email. If your absence extends beyond two weeks, you will be required to provide Human Resources with a completed Medical Certification from your family member’s physician.)
  5. Is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; (You must provide Human Resources with a statement from your daycare verifying the facility is closed, to include how long it is expected to be closed. An email from a daycare official is sufficient. The email should include the person’s full name, title, address, phone number and email address.  If acquiring this statement is impossible or the child is of regular school age, please issue a statement (via email) indicating the name(s) of your child(ren), date(s) of birth and name of the daycare or school they normally attend). For children over the age of 14 please provide a statement of circumstances that exists requiring care, and affirming that there is no other suitable person who can care for the child during the requested leave.
  6. Is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Please issue a statement indicating the reason for your request)
▼   What if I need to self-isolate?

The answer is condition specific.  For instance, if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have been ordered to self-isolate, these absences will be treated as sick leave.  Use of Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA may also be a possibility. You should not report to work if you have symptoms like fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle, body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and/or diarrhea.  You should report your absence in accordance with your department’s call-in procedure, even if you are working remotely or on administrative leave. 

If you are self-isolating out of personal choice, these absences will be treated as personal leave of absence. Approval for personal leave of absence is at the discretion of your department based on its operational needs.  For additional information on how to apply for a personal leave of absence, duration limit and your responsibilities while on a personal leave of absence please visit:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/absence.html

If you are self-isolating due to underlying medical conditions for yourself or a family member, you should contact Human Resources to explore other possible options. 

▼   Will I be required to self-quarantine if I travel?

While travel within the Unites States is currently not restricted, this is subject to change as the situation evolves. International travel for business purposes is currently restricted. Personal international travel may require self-isolation upon return home. The employee is encouraged to self-report, to his/her supervisor, international travel to a Level 2 or 3 country—as designated by the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html. For safety information and CDC recommendations while traveling please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html.

If the employee’s supervisor approves that telework is a feasible option, the employee self-isolating will work from home. If telework isn’t available, these absences may be eligible for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA if subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. For the first two weeks, you must provide a copy of any quarantine or isolation order and complete this form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf.

Your supervisor will verify by signing the leave of absence request form that you are eligible for this option because you have been required to quarantine. If the absence is extended beyond two weeks, you will be required to provide Human Resources with a completed Medical Certification from your physician if you are unable to return to work for medical reasons, otherwise these absences will be treated as a personal leave of absence.  For additional information on how to apply for a personal leave of absence, duration limit and your responsibilities while on a personal leave of absence please visit:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/absence.html

Your supervisor will send the leave of absence request form and supporting documentation to Human Resources for final review and approval.

The employee may be referred to the USA Triage/Testing Center and may choose to be tested to be able to return to work.

▼   If I am on leave will I get paid?

This answer is leave specific. For events covered and approved under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave/FFCRA, your pay is processed, as follows if you are:

  1. subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; you will receive up to 80 hours paid at 100% of your regular rate of pay, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total.
  2. advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19, you will receive up to 80 hours paid at 100% of your regular rate of pay, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total.
  3. experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis, you will receive up to 80 hours paid at 100% of your regular rate of pay, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total.
  4. caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2), you will receive up to 80 hours at 2/3 of your regular rate of pay, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total.
  5. caring for your child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons, you may be eligible for up to 12 weeks (90 calendar days) at 2/3 of your regular rate of pay for up to $200 daily and $12,000 total.
  6. experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you will receive up to 80 hours at 2/3 of your regular rate of pay, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total.

A part-time employee is eligible for leave and pay for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work during that period.

It is imperative appropriate pay codes are used when completing your timesheet (Web Time Entry):

OFS – use for reason #1, #2 and #3 if your salary is $132,860 or under.

OFT - use for reason #1, #2 and #3 if your salary is over $132,860.

OFF – use for reasons #4 and #6 if your salary is $78,000 or less.

OFG - use for reasons #4 and #6 if your salary is over $78,000.

OFC - (EFMLEA) use for reason #5 if your salary is $78,000 or less.

OFD - (EFMLEA) use for reason #5 if your salary is over $78,000.

For events covered under the Family Medical Leave Act please visit:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/fmla.html.

For events approved under a personal leave of absence please visit:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/absence.html

▼   Do I need to first use other paid leave before I can use FFCRA paid leave?

No. The FFCRA paid leave is in addition to any other paid leave you may be eligible for under the University’s Earned Time Off Program (sick and/or vacation). You are not required to exhaust any other paid leave before qualifying for FFCRA paid leave. However, for absences due to FFCRA covered events #4, #5 or #6 you may not use existing accrued sick or vacation to supplement the amount received from the FFCRA, up to your normal earnings. 

See FFCRA Employee Rights for a list of covered event and pay limits

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/resources/ffcra.pdf

▼   What if I need to be off longer than two weeks?

The answer is condition specific. Based on the qualifying event you were approved for under the FFCRA, you may be able to take additional leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (requires the employee to meet eligibility) or under a Personal leave of absence. 

For additional information regarding eligibility and the application process for a leave of absence of any type, please visit our Leave Policies webpage at:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/leavepolicies.html

For employees requesting leave under the FFCRA for caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons, employees may be eligible for an additional 10 weeks under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). An eligible employee may be entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period based on a rolling year for any combination of FMLA, EFMLEA, and EPSLA/FFCRA qualifying reasons.

▼   What happens to my employee benefits while I am on a FFCRA related leave?

Any group insurance coverage that you currently participate in will continue under the same terms and conditions. The University will continue withholding payroll deductions to cover the employee portion of insurance premiums.

▼   Can I work remotely?

The Campus Reopening Committee of the University continues to plan for the return of campus operations with the beginning of in-person classes on August 17th.  At that time, it is anticipated that all campus offices will be fully functioning with an in-person presence.  Employees that are not able to function fully and effectively at home will be expected to work on-campus or on-site.

Remote working possibilities will be dependent on the specific position and department needs. The duration of any remote working arrangements is at your supervisor’s discretion. You will need to submit a written request to your immediate supervisor for review. Final approval is at the discretion of the supervisor and the division head.

However, employees that have special medical circumstances or needs; or are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons and are unable to telework; or need a workplace accommodation, will have to be referred to Human Resources for review. An email will suffice to initiate the process. To request a workplace accommodation, please contact the HR Benefits Department at: employeebenefitshr@southalabama.edu.

Absences due to illness or injury of an employee related to COVID-19, when the employee is unable to telework, should be treated as sick leave.  Use of Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) may also be a possibility. If your leave is COVID-19 related and you will remain out of work for more than 3 business days you must complete this form: https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf. The form must be signed by your supervisor and then forwarded, along with any supporting documentation, to the email address indicated on the form for review and approval.  For additional information regarding supporting documentation please visit https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/fmla.html

▼   Why are some employees allowed to telework and other are required to come to work?

We are seeking to address individual needs consistently during this evolving situation. Some job duties simply cannot be performed from home and as long as the University remains open must continue to be performed on site.  You are encouraged to speak to your supervisor or you may contact Human Resources for further guidance.

The University will make every effort possible to provide a safe work environment. If you need a workplace accommodation that will allow you to safely perform you work on site please reach out to the Human Resources Office at:

https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/contactus.html

▼   When am I supposed to return to on site work?

Your supervisor will contact you with a date when your department will return to work on site.

Employees returning to on site work are required to complete the Jaguars Returning to Work Safely: Reentry Expectations and Safety Guidelines course.

▼   Are we going to be sanitizing work spaces differently?

Custodial Services will enhance cleaning efforts focusing on high touchpoint areas such as door knobs, handles, railings, elevator buttons and restrooms, using an EPA approved disinfectant to ensure office and work spaces are cleaned following CDC guidelines.  In addition, hand-sanitizing stations will be available in all buildings. 

Building occupants should also wipe down commonly used surfaces before and after use with products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface. This includes any shared-space location or equipment (e.g. copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, doorknobs, etc.).

▼   What can I do to reduce my risk exposure?

Masks/face coverings will be required for faculty, staff, students, vendors, contractors, and other members of the University community, with limited exceptions.

If more than one employee is engaging in official University business and riding in a vehicle at any one time, all employees in the vehicle will be required to wear masks. University vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.

Mask must be worn at all times inside except when someone is in their private office or lab alone. 

The JagTran services will require all riders to wear a mask while riding on any of its vehicles. The University Dining Hall and retail/Food court will require customers will to wear face masks unless sitting and eating at tables.

The use of face masks is required when there is any interaction among employees, students, contractors or vendors. Two face masks will be supplied by the University on a one-time basis and as long as supplies last; however, employees may elect to wear their own masks as long as they are consistent with parameters provided by the Committee. Specific guidance with respect to masking requirements can be found at www.southalabama.edu/reopening

Employees returning to on site work are required to complete the Jaguars Returning to Work Safely: Reentry Expectations and Safety Guidelines course.

For additional information to reduce your risk exposure please review CDC guidelines at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fprevention.html

▼   What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

If you experience symptoms, isolate yourself, and seek medical attention by calling your health care provider. Inform your health care provider of your symptoms and any recent travel or potential exposure before going to the health facility. 

As with all contagious illnesses, limit the potential for exposure to other people. Take the following actions: 

  1. Do not come to work. Notify your supervisor that you are ill and will not be able to work. If you have not sought medical attention your supervisor will provide Human Resources with your contact information. Human Resources will inform the USA Triage/Testing center and a medical provider will contact you.
  2. Isolate yourself to keep from potentially exposing other people.
  3. If you are notified by your healthcare provider you will need to be absent for more than 3 days due to COVID-19 reasons, please complete a leave of absence request form https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/eforms/hr/leaveofabsence.pdf and submit it to your supervisor with a written copy of the medical recommendation indicating the possible length of your medical absence. Your supervisor will then forward the leave of absence request form and the supporting documentation to HR for review.
  4. If you have been instructed to self-isolate, do not come to work. Any notifications or forms can be transmitted via electronic copy.
▼   I have been told I need to return to work. What if I’m in a high-risk health category for COVID-19? Do I have to come in?

Please make sure to inform your supervisor you will not be able to come in to on site work. The University will make any effort possible to provide a safe work environment. If you need a workplace accommodation that will allow you to safely perform you work on site please reach out to Human Resources at https://www.southalabama.edu/departments/financialaffairs/hr/contactus.html

▼   Am I required to wear a mask at work?

Masks/face coverings will be required for faculty, staff, students, vendors, contractors, and other members of the University community, with limited exceptions.

If more than one employee is engaging in official University business and riding in a vehicle at any one time, all employees in the vehicle will be required to wear masks. University vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.

Mask must be worn at all times inside except when someone is in their private office or lab alone. 

The JagTran services will require all riders to wear a mask while riding on any of its vehicles. The University Dining Hall and retail/Food court will require customers will to wear face masks unless sitting and eating at tables.

The use of face masks is required when there is any interaction among employees, students, contractors or vendors. Two face masks will be supplied by the University on a one-time basis and as long as supplies last; however, employees may elect to wear their own masks as long as they are consistent with parameters provided by the Committee. Specific guidance with respect to masking requirements can be found at www.southalabama.edu/reopening

Employees returning to on site work are required to complete the Jaguars Returning to Work Safely: Reentry Expectations and Safety Guidelines course.