Workplace Guidance Related to COVID-19 for Field Staff (Updated March 24, 2020)

As RFCUNY continues to monitor the incidence of coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19, employees are asked to review the following workplace policies and guidance.  It is likely this information will change as the situation evolves and becomes more known.  Questions may be directed to the Office of Human Resources.

RFCUNY’s priorities in setting these workplace policies are to:

  • Maintain a safe and healthy workplace, including minimizing the transmission of contagious disease;
  • Sustain operational continuity;
  • Encourage an ethos of fairness, open communications and concern for the wellbeing of our employees.

Most Important Actions to Take Now

  1. All employees are urged to take basic preventive measures to avoid exposure to infection by the virus causing COVID-19. Go to the CDC’s website for more information.  

  2. All employees are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the following terms: 
    a. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick
    b. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who are exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick
     
    For more information, go to:   https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/ 

  3. RFCUNY encourages employees and their supervisors to consider remote work options for employees whose positions allow for this alternative. The manager will determine if the individual’s position and responsibilities lend themselves to remote work or could be temporarily modified to integrate short-term remote work.  For more information, please see the RFCUNY Remote Work Guidelines.
     
  4. Employees should familiarize themselves with their local campus communications and sign-up for CUNY alerts.
     
  5. Employees who are, or who in the last thirty days have been, in a country designated by the CDC designated as Level 2 or 3 should report such travel immediately by completing the confidential RFCUNY COVID-19 Report Form. Do not report to work until your supervisor has provided you with written approval to do so. Please check the CDC website for the most up-to-date information regarding counties designated as Level 2 or 3.

  6. For help with feelings of stress or anxiety about these events, contact RFCUNY’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Attendance

Well Employees:  Employees who are well are expected to report to work remotely. Well employees who are deemed essential employees are expected to report to work unless they are known to have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or have been in a CDC Level 2 or 3 country, in which case they are required to report such travel by completing the confidential RFCUNY COVID-19 Report Form.  Do not report to work until your supervisor has provided you with written approval to do so. 

Well employees feeling anxious about coming to work should notify their supervisor about the possibility of an alternate work schedule, remote work or using their annual leave balances. 

Sick Employees:  Employees who have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or are caring for an ill family member with a confirmed case of COVID-19 may not return to work without written medical clearance.

Those with concerns or questions about their illness or seeking advice about whether to come to work or remain at work should contact the Office of Human Resources.  

Workers at High Risk:  Employees with compromised immune systems, or who are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions are urged to consult their physician about steps they can take to protect their health.  

Pay (Full and Part-time)

Employees will be paid to the extent that funding has been made available by the sponsor. 

Special COVID-19 Sick Leave: RFCUNY has provided a temporary leave benefit of up to 14 days of paid sick leave to its employees for their own COVID-19 illnesses and to take care of ill family members with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This benefit can be used for a COVID-19 illness, any disabling condition from a COVID-19 illness, and any mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation. Special COVID-19 Sick Leave is not applicable in cases where an employee is deemed asymptomatic or has not yet been diagnosed with any medical condition and is physically able to work.  Sick leave, annual leave, or unscheduled holiday leave may be used in those cases. 

Isolation:  Subject to sponsor approval, employees who are under mandatory isolation because: (a) they have their own confirmed case of COVID-19, (b) they have to care for an ill family member with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or (c) they or a member of their household have returned from travel to a Level 2 or 3 country, may charge up to 14 days of their absences from work during the period of self-isolation to “Other Paid” on their timesheets and selecting “COVID-19 Sick” from the drop-down list. 

Quarantine:  Subject to sponsor approval, employees who are under precautionary quarantine because: (a) they are awaiting the results of their own test for COVID-19, (b) they are caring for a family member awaiting confirmation of a test for COVID-19, or they or a member of their household have returned from travel to a Level 2 or 3 country, may charge up to 14 days of their absences from work during the period of self-isolation to “Other Paid” on their timesheets and selecting “COVID-19 Sick” from the drop-down list.   

Self-Quarantine: Employees who are concerned because of possible infection with COVID-19 or exposure to a sick colleague may choose to seclude themselves even if they are not sick, charging the time to their available leave balances.  

Paid Sick Time:  RFCUNY provides its employees with significant paid sick time both for their own illnesses and to care for ill family members.  Paid sick time should be charged for any illness not attributable to a confirmed case of COVID-19.  A description of these benefits is available in RF Policy No. 506-H, Time Off and Leave Benefits. 

Paid Family Leave (PFL):  RFCUNY employees may use PFL to care for a sick family member whose illness is not attributable to a confirmed case of COVID-19.  A description of this benefit is available in RF Policy No. 506-H, Time Off and Leave Benefits

Reporting Other Paid and Sick Time: Employees who are absent from work are required to promptly enter on their timesheets absences due to Isolation (Other Paid), due to quarantine (Other Paid), sick time taken for their own illness not attributable to a confirmed case of COVID-19 (Sick Time), sick time to care for an ill family member not attributable to a confirmed case of COVID-19 (Sick Time to Care for an Ill Family Member), or time taken for Paid Family Leave.

Returning to Work: Written medical clearance will be required of an employee who has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 or has been in contact with or caring for someone with COVID-19 before returning to work.  In all other cases, RFCUNY’s time and leave policies in relation to the requirement of a doctor’s note or fitness for duty certification apply.  For more information, see RF Policy No. 506-H, Time Off and Leave Benefits.

Travel

Planning For and Returning from International Travel:  To protect the RFCUNY community, all employees returning from countries designated as Level 2 or 3 by the CDC must contact the Office of Human Resources by phone or email before returning to work. They further should report such travel immediately by completing the confidential RFCUNY COVID-19 Report Form, and should not report to work until they have been provided written approval from a supervisor to do so. Please check the CDC website for the most up to date information:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.  CDC travel notices are the most pertinent and should be the primary point of reference, even when corresponding State Department travel advisories are different.  

Domestic Travel, Conferences and Community Events:  Out of an abundance of caution, staff should reconsider domestic travel and attendance at conferences and community events. 

Additional Workplace Guidance for Managers and Supervisors: Given RFCUNY’s interest in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for all, managers and supervisors (with the support and involvement of Human Resources) should direct employees who are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness to go home and stay home until 24 hours after they are free of symptoms.  In these instances, paid sick time will be provided and/or advanced. 

Additionally, managers and supervisors are urged to discuss with the employee the possibility of an alternate work schedule, remote work or using their annual leave balances. 

We want to take this opportunity to remind our diverse RFCUNY community that we are an organization that takes pride in its welcoming environment and unwavering promotion of the values of equity and inclusion.  These challenging times are not an excuse to behave any differently towards those with whom we serve, live and work.  Any staff who experience discrimination of any kind are urged to speak with RFCUNY’s Office of Human Resources. Managers and supervisors must not pressure others to come to work if they are ill or need to stay home to care for ill family members.  Conversely, if employees are well, they should not be pressured to stay away from work for reasons such as their ethnic or racial background, home address, having cared for a sick family member (without any indication of COVID-19) or recent travel to unaffected areas.  

Potential Additional Guidance Changes:  If public health conditions worsen, RFCUNY’s workplace protocols may be further amended.  This would be done to address the effects of more widespread illness or absences, more frequent needs for self-isolation or quarantine or disruption of care arrangements.  Employees will be notified as necessary of such changes and should also check this page for updates.  

Update Your Contacts:  Employees with computer/internet access are asked to make sure that their personal and emergency contact information is up-to-date.  You may review your personal and emergency contact information by going to RFCUNY’s website: 

  1. go to: https://www.rfcuny.org
  2. log onto the website with your Employee ID and password
  3. under the Electronic Tools tab, click on My Payroll and Benefits
  4. click on the second tab, Employee Services
  5. under Personal Information
  • update Phone, Fax, and Email
  • update Emergency Contacts
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