Texas Tech University

Coronavirus (COVID -19)

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Information for Employees

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Schovanec has announced policy modifications to allow for remote work for as many Texas Tech employees as possible.

This site is intended to offer guidance and provide resources for both managers and employees. Realizing working remotely during a pandemic is a new situation for most of us, we will continue to evaluate processes and issue further guidance as it becomes available.

 COVID-19 Manager's Toolkit

 Frequently Asked Questions for Employees 

    • Questions related to Remote Work
    • What should I do if my employee needs a computer to work remotely?

General technology guidelines for working remotely can be found here: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/infotech/learning-teaching-working-remotely/hardware.php.

    • What approval do I need to begin working remotely?

If your supervisor has approved for you to work remotely, please complete an Emergency Remote Work Agreement.

    • As a supervisor, how do I know which of my employees should work remotely?

On March 16, 2020, Chancellor Mitchell issued Emergency Remote Work Status Operational Phases guidelines. On March 24, 2020, President Schovanec advised Texas Tech University will begin operating under Phase IV of the operational guidelines. Under Phase IV, all faculty and staff should work remotely and limit their presence on campus with the exception of those positions which are mission critical. There is no longer a need to ensure each building remains open. Our main objective as this point is to have the majority of employees off campus to ensure everyone's safety and well-being.

    • Even though we're working remotely, are performance evaluations still due this year?

Performance evaluations are still required this year. Staff employees are to be evaluated for the period from March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020; however, the completion deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020.

Use of the electronic Performance Management (ePM) system is required for all staff performance evaluations. Exceptions are made only where the supervisor is not a TTU employee. ePM is a web- based application that is accessible from any computer when logging in with your eraider credentials. If you need instruction on using the ePM system, please contact Human Resources Talent Management at hr.talent.management@ttu.edu. Online ePM resources are available at the Performance Management Web page.

    • Can I charge salaries to sponsored projects during COVID-19?
    • Questions related to Travel
    • All Texas Tech University and TTU System employees are required to report any travel to destinations more than 50 miles away from Lubbock.

The form can be found at the Texas Tech University Travel Portal.

    • What are the University's guidelines for personal travel?
    • Questions related to Mental Health, Benefits, Group Health Plan Administration
    • I am feeling anxious or worried about the situation surrounding COVID-19. Where can I go for help?

Texas Tech University provides free and confidential counseling services to employees and their immediate family members through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at The Counseling Center @ TTUHSC. For additional information or to make an appointment, please call 806-743-1327 or email counselingcenter@ttuhsc.edu.

    • Is there a way to seek medical care without going to the doctor?

For employees who participate in HealthSelect, the University's medical health plan, virtual doctor visits are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays. Additional information about this benefit is available on the ERS website. Additionally, the ERS Dr. on Demand website has made available a Coronavirus Assessment to help prepare and protect you and the ones around you. BlueCross BlueShield also offers a 24-hour Nurse Line 1-800-581-0368. In most cases, the virtual doctor and nurse line visits will not have a co-pay.

    • Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply to absences due to COVID-19.

Yes, COVID-19 qualifies as a "serious health condition" under FMLA allowing eligible employees to take FMLA leave if either the employee or an immediate family member is diagnosed with the disease. Please contact Human Resources for questions or assistance with FMLA.

    • Questions related to Employee Work Hours and Leave Reporting
    • What is Non-work Pandemic Leave (NWPD)and how is it used during Phase IV of the Emergency Remote Operational Phases Guidelines?

Non-work Pandemic Leave is a new leave code created in response to the Emergency Remote Work Operational Phases guidelines. On March 24, the university transitioned from Phase III to Phase IV. In Phase IV, the university campus is closed. All faculty and staff should work remotely and limit their presence on campus with the exception of those positions which are mission critical. There is no longer a need to ensure each building remains open. Our main objective as this point is to have the majority of employees off campus to ensure everyone's safety and well-being.

If an employee is not able to complete their job functions remotely, and their position is not mission critical during Phase IV, non-exempt employees will report NWPD on their timesheet to cover the hours that they did not work. NWPD is a paid status and does not reduce an employee's sick or vacation leave accruals. An employee on NWPD must remain immediately available to complete assignments or tasks as directed and to report to campus if needed. NWPD should be reported based on the employee's FTE and in no case will it result in more than 40 hours in an FLSA workweek.

Non-Work Pandemic leave may also be used to supplement hours for the FLSA workweek. For instance, an employee working remotely who only has enough work to account for 30 hours of work in the FLSA week may report up to 10 hours of NWPD to reach a total of 40 hours. Employees who become ill and are unable to work or wish to be on vacation (with prior approval from their supervisor) will report sick or vacation leave as appropriate. NWPD will not be used to account for more than a total of 40 hours per FLSA workweek.

    • As a manager or department head, how will my employees who use TimeClock Plus report hours worked via the webclock?

Payroll and Tax Services has made the web clock application available to all departments who use TimeClock Plus. Payroll & Tax Services will email web clock application information to TimeClock Plus administrators. For additional information, please contact Payroll & Tax Services.

    • Can I report both hours worked and Non-Work Pandemic leave (NWPD)?

An employee who is working remotely and the total hours reported, including hours worked, vacation leave and sick time used, do not equal a full work week for your assigned FTE, Non-Work Pandemic leave may be used to supplement hours for the FLSA workweek.

    • Can I work overtime during the period in which I am working from a remote location?

All overtime should be approved by your supervisor before it is worked.

    • When should I use sick leave while working remotely?

If you get sick while working remotely and are unable to complete your job responsibilities, you should notify your supervisor and report sick leave for the time you were unable to work. You should also report sick leave If you are needed to care for a qualifying family member who is ill and it prevents you from completing your job responsibilities. Again, communication with your supervisor is important so they know when you will not be working.

    • Questions related to Recruitment
    • Is this a hiring freeze?

No, this is not a hiring freeze. Instead, the university is asking departments to suspend recruitment at this time. For new hires that are currently in process, the university is asking departments to modify some start dates to comply with the immediate restricted operations of the university.

    • What does suspended recruitment mean?

Because the university is currently in Phase IV of the Remote Worker Operational Phases guideline, only positions deemed mission critical during Phase IV will be posted at this time as long as they have the approval of the appropriate Dean/Vice President

    • What about positions that are open for recruitment?

The position may stay open for recruitment; however, during Phase IV of the operational guidelines, the start date for new hires should be delayed to May 1st or later.

    • Can I post a new position?

Yes, you may post a new mission critical position with the appropriate Dean/VP approval.

    • Can a new employee start while the campus is in Phase IV of the Emergency Remote Worker Operational Phases?

During Phase IV of the operational guidelines, the start date for new hires should be delayed to May 1st or later.

    • Can candidates complete on-boarding?

Yes, candidates can complete new hire paperwork in the on-boarding system at any time.

    • Can new positions be created?

New positions may be created if it considered mission critical based on the operational needs of the College or Department. Please submit the approved Hiring/Recruitment Request form.

    • Can candidates who are having issues still contact Human Resources?

Yes, Human Resources is available and able to assist candidates. Please have the candidate contact us at hrs.recruiting@ttu.edu.

    • We have been approved to post a job, but do not have a person available who is trained in Kenexa?

If you have been approved to recruit for the position, please contact Talent Acquisition at hrs.recruiting@ttu.edu and HR will facilitate the posting.

    • Can we still interview applicants?

Yes, you may conduct interviews via Skype or conference call.

    • Can we still place outside advertising?

Yes, if the position has been approved for recruitment, HR can still provide assistance with outside advertising.

    • Questions related to Campus
    • I am hearing from people who prefer to come to work. Will academic buildings remain open and fully accessible to staff and faculty who may choose to come in?

Under Phase IV, all faculty and staff should work remotely and limit their presence on campus with the exception of those positions which are mission critical. There is no longer a need to ensure each building remains open. Our main objective as this point is to have the majority of employees off campus to ensure everyone's safety and well-being. For modified campus building access, please refer to https://sharepoint13.itts.ttu.edu/itts/edserv/Shortcourse%20Handouts/Academic-Building-Access.pdf or call 742-4OPS

    • Questions related to Student Employees
    • Can undergraduate student assistants, with supervisor approval, be allowed to work remotely, if their job would permit it?

Yes, with supervisor approval. Additionally, the supervisor should establish work expectations and monitor work performed.

    • How do we handle undergraduate hourly workers? Do we still pay them even though they cannot work?

We will continue to pay hourly workers and student workers who may not have any work to perform at home. We will reassess in two weeks to determine how we continue to handle these employees.

Guidance on Student Workers:

Student workers who work regularly scheduled shift with a department, but do not have an opportunity to work remotely and will not be considered essential staff should report the number of hours they are regularly scheduled to work as Non-work Pandemic Leave (NWPD) in the Web Time Entry system or in the TimeClock Plus system. Managers and supervisors need to assist their students with this leave entry as they are aware of the number of hours each student works per week.

Student workers who are either working remotely or working at the university will continue to report actual hours worked through their normal process using the hours worked option available in WebTime Entry. If the department is using TimeClock Plus, students working remotely can use the WebClock available on the Payroll and Tax Tab in raiderlink. If students are working on campus, the normal process will be followed.

    • For graduate student employees (GPTI, RA, TA), we are assuming they can be granted permission to work remotely, with supervisor approval, but who should be considered their supervisor?

Yes, they can work remotely. Their supervisor is considered the person who directs and monitors their work.

    • I am already getting a range of questions about whether people who work remotely, but have jobs like lab technician, teaching lab prep, etc., which can't really be done remotely, will continue to be paid during Phase III of the Operational Phase Guidelines.

Ideally, supervisors should find work for them to do while working remotely such as special projects, even if it is for another area. At the very minimum, this would be a great time to ensure that all their compliance trainings (EEO, Title IX, etc.) are current. Realizing this leave may outlast projects, they will still be paid for now. For those employees who are nonexempt, we are asking that they report nonwork hours using the NWPD (non-work pandemic) leave code.

    • Questions related to Discrimination/Harassment/EEO Issues
    • What can I do if I'm experiencing bias or discrimination?

The Office of Equal Opportunity (EO) upholds each institution's anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policies and ensures that employees and applicants of the Texas Tech University System are treated fairly, equally and respectfully. An employee who believes they are being discriminated against or harassed based on or related to sex (including pregnancy), race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other protected categories, classes, or characteristics. Employees may file a grievance with the Office of Equal Opportunity without fear of retaliation. For additional information, please call 806-742-3627 or email eeo@ttu.edu.

    • Other Common Questions
    • If I am displaying signs of respiratory symptoms such as coughing or other symptoms identified by the CDC, can my supervisor require me to go home?

Yes, employees can be sent home; however, they cannot be penalized for being sent home.

    • If I am displaying signs of respiratory symptoms such as coughing or other symptoms identified by the CDC, can my supervisor require me to go to a doctor?

Supervisors should encourage employees to seek medical advice, but they cannot require them to go to the doctor.

    • Where can I pick up my paycheck?

Effective Thursday, March 26th , Payroll & Tax Services office will be closed to visitors. Staff will be available from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday to address questions by phone and email. If an employee has an urgent matter that requires a visit to campus, please call or email to arrange a time to come into the office. Checks will be mailed to any employees that have not signed up for payroll direct deposit.

Payroll contact information: Phone (806)742-3211 or email webmaster.payroll@ttu.edu

    • My child's daycare / school is closed, can I bring my child to work?

Family members and children may not be brought to your place of work, whether on campus or another Texas Tech office location. Our primary focus during this time is to limit contact with others to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Allowing family members into the workplace is counter-productive to that goal and increases the risk for all concerned. Even during normal operations, children should not be brought into the workplace. If you are needed to care for your child, you should speak with your supervisor to see what arrangements can be made.

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