To our University Faculty and Staff:
We continue to see significant developments in our community related to coronavirus, COVID-19. We know this is a time of uncertainty and anxiety for many of our staff and faculty and we want to thank you for all you are doing under these difficult circumstances.
You are our most valuable asset and we are committed at this time to continuing full salary and benefits for all our employees for the foreseeable future. This applies to all part-time and full-time faculty and staff. Specific guidelines are as follows:
For all Non-Medical Center employees, the Cabinet level Deans and Directors have been determining since our last communication on Sunday, who must report to work in person and who can work remotely. At this point in time, we must adhere to New York State and Monroe County guidelines and ask that all non-essential employees (determined by departmental leadership in compliance with New York State executive order) work remotely. Deans and Directors will work with non-essential employees that are unable to work from home to arrange for you to remain home and be paid your regular rate of pay using your standard hours. Any exceptions to any of these guidelines should be requested through Human Resources for review.
For Medical Center employees, you are considered essential and should report to work, unless approved by Human Resources to work remotely. We recognize that due to curtailed services there are some displaced employees who we are not immediately able to reassign to other work assignments. In this circumstance you will be paid your regular rate of pay using your standard hours as long as you remain ready and willing to be reassigned to other duties in the Medical Center.
To be clear, those who are required to report for work will have to do so. Those who can and are approved to work remotely will have to do so. Those who are required to report to work because they cannot work remotely may be asked to perform other functions for their units or schools or to take on tasks elsewhere at the University or Medical Center. We will continue to honor our existing employment commitments for the foreseeable future for those employees who are willing to be reassigned.
While we are continuing to monitor the impact of this crisis, the ultimate length and depth of the economic impact it will have on the University is difficult to predict. We will formally evaluate the salary continuation policy for employees unable to be reassigned in one month, and at least monthly thereafter. We will work to communicate with you in as timely a manner as possible with our hope and plan being to weather this crisis together.
We would also like to take this opportunity to remind employees that the University has revised Policy 324: Reassignment/Absence due to Contagion to extend coverage for the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised policy now applies to all faculty and staff across the University and grants full pay for up to 14 days to employees who have been placed under voluntary or involuntary quarantine by the Department of Public Health or through University Health Services or Employee Health. This policy aligns with Center for Disease Control guidelines.
We also want to assure you that FDA-authorized COVID-19 tests are now covered 100% by University Health Care Plans, as are health care provider visits (in- and out-of-network), urgent care visits, and emergency room visits that result in an order for or administration of the test. We continue to work with Aetna and Excellus regarding possible other changes and will keep you posted as they become known.
We are sure there will be questions as we navigate our way through this rapidly changing situation and will provide more information as soon as it becomes available. As always, please continue to visit the University’s dedicated Coronavirus website for updates, resources, and information. The Human Resources department remains available to you for any questions or concerns so please reach out as needed.
Finally, we would like to encourage everyone to continue practicing social distancing, regardless of whether you are working from home or at the University. We know from the CDC and our own medical experts that social distancing—avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people and maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others whenever possible—is one of the best and most effective ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It is essential that we do everything we can to slow communal transmission of this virus and not overwhelm our health care system.
The health and well-being of our community are of upmost importance and we are so grateful for everyone’s dedication, creativity, and collaboration. We are stronger together when we support one another.
Holly Crawford, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer
Tony Kinslow, Associate Vice President for Human Resources/Chief Human Resources Officer