April 30, 2020, 4 p.m.
To Puget Sound Staff and Faculty Supervisors of Staff
From Human Resources

We hope this message finds you well. As a follow up to the message from President Crawford and Cabinet this afternoon, this message provides important information concerning the May 16 – June 30 time period.

Work Expectations

  • As a staff member, what do I need to know about work for the period May 16 – June 30?
    If you are in a full-time position or a part-time position that works over the summer, you will continue to be paid if you are working or on paid leave. Your immediate supervisor will contact you as soon as possible if there is not available work for you to do at this time either as an essential staff member on campus or working remotely.  Supervisors may give alternative work assignments where there is a business need. You should plan on working your normally scheduled hours. Any schedule changes or vacation/floating holidays need to be approved by your supervisor in advance.

    Immediate supervisors will work with their respective department heads to determine work availability.

  • What if there is no work available for me?
    You will be temporarily furloughed for hours not worked and must use your accrued leave to be paid. You will retain eligibility for university-provided healthcare benefits.

Payroll

We are returning to our customary methods of timekeeping for the period May 16 – June 30.

  • As an exempt staff member, how do I record my time beginning May 16?
    For days you work, either on campus or remotely, you don’t enter anything on your timesheet.  If you take sick leave, vacation or a floating holiday, you will record those on your timesheet in full day increments only (unless you are on approved intermittent FMLA, in which case you should record any leave taken for FMLA each day).

    Vacation and floating holidays continue to require supervisor approval prior to taking leave.  If you are sick and unable to work, follow normal call-in procedures for your department, even if working remotely.  If you do not have any available accrued leave and are unable to work, you will record “leave without pay” for any full days of missed work.

  • As a non-exempt staff member, how do I record my time beginning May 16?
    If you are scheduled to work, you will record worked time as usual.  For days that you work, you will include the start and end time on your timesheet.  If you use sick leave, vacation, floating holiday or personal business appointment leave, you will enter the total number of hours of each type of leave used for the day.

    Vacation, floating holidays and personal business appointment leave continue to require supervisor approval prior to taking leave.  If you are sick and unable to work, follow normal call-in procedures for your department, even if working remotely.  As of May 16, “other pay” is no longer valid and cannot be used.  You are either being paid for hours worked or for use of a type of accrued leave balance.  If you do not have any available accrued leave, your time will be unpaid.

  • What if I am not full time and am not scheduled to work?
    Staff members who are less than full time and are not regularly scheduled for summer work will not be paid beyond their normal end date, typically in mid-May or early June.
  • How do I record my time if work isn’t available for my position?
    If you are in a position that has no work (or less than your regularly scheduled work) available at this time, you will be considered temporarily furloughed (partial or fully).  You will be required to utilize accrued vacation and any available floating holidays until balances have been exhausted.  Use of vacation and floating holidays will be recorded on your timesheet as usual.

Benefits

  • Will my benefits continue if I am unable to work or if work is not available for my position?
    University-provided healthcare benefits will continue for all benefited staff members during this period, including those who are out of leave and in an unpaid status.  If you have voluntary benefits for yourself and/or dependents that you pay for through payroll deduction and you are not receiving a paycheck from the university, the university will continue to pay your portion of the premiums to the providers on your behalf and will collect from you in a subsequent paycheck(s).  

Unemployment Benefits

  • Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?
    The Employment Security Department has created an eligibility checklist for information about your possible eligibility.  Please see the checklist at https://esdorchardstorage.blob.core.windows.net/esdwa/Default/ESDWAGOV/Unemployment/UIEligibilityChecker.pdf.
  • How do I apply for unemployment benefits?
    You will apply directly with the Washington State Employment Security Department either online or by phone.  You can apply online 24/7 at https://secure.esd.wa.gov/home. You can apply by phone at 800.318.6022 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.).

    Please visit https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment for more information.

  • Who determines if I get unemployment benefits?
    Your unemployment benefit claim is reviewed and the determination is made by the Employment Security Department. They will mail eligibility decisions to you and the university.  Any appeals about a decision are directed to Employment Security and ultimately directed to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

High-risk Individuals

  • What do I do if I am in a high-risk category?
    Per proclamation by the Washington state governor, staff members who self-identify as being in a higher-risk category, as defined and described per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, may request alternative work assignments (such as remote work, reassignment, or additional social distancing measures). This proclamation is in effect until June 12, 2020.

    If you are in a high-risk category and would like to discuss alternative work assignments per the above mentioned proclamation, please contact Kenni Simons at krsimons@pugetsound.edu.  Kenni will work with your supervisor and/or department head to consider all available options. Staff members who cannot be accommodated will remain on university healthcare benefits and have the option of being paid with accrued vacation or applying for unemployment in the sequence of their choosing through June 12.  Information about underlying health conditions related to this request is confidential and will not be shared.

Supervisor Responsibilities

  • Is there anything special I need to know as a supervisor?
    Working closely with your department head, you should determine if there is work available for your staff members, either on campus or working remotely, consistent with the governor’s orders and public health guidelines. Alternative work assignments for which staff are qualified should be considered if feasible. Staff members should be notified as soon as possible prior to May 15 of work decisions.

    As always, you are responsible for communicating expectations to your staff members.  Whether they work on campus or remotely, you should ensure they know what their schedule is, what their work assignments are, and what options are available to them.

    It is your responsibility to verify that leave is recorded on timesheets appropriately before approving each staff member’s time.  If a staff member is in a position that is unable to work, you should ensure no time is entered other than available vacation and floating holidays.

    If a staff member indicates being in a high-risk category and wants to talk about alternative work assignments, first direct them to contact Kenni Simons in Human Resources.

You may have additional questions. Human Resources is here to help. You may contact us at hr@pugetsound.edu at any time. Please provide us with the best method to contact you and we will respond as quickly as possible.

We will continue to keep you informed, and encourage you to monitor pugetsound.edu/coronavirus and your Puget Sound email for further information, guidance, and updates.

Thank you for your commitment and understanding as we work through this unusual time.