Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employee Information
Many KU employees have questions and concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it is affecting and could further affect campus operations and their work. All institution-wide decisions are being made with the health and safety of our community at the forefront, and with the best-available guidance from national, state and local public health authorities.
Additional information and updates are available on KU's coronavirus website.
Principles guiding the management of our employees during this unprecedented time include:
- There is a worldwide pandemic that will continue to worsen, including in the U.S.
- Continue to sustain all operational support for the University.
- Take all necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus at KU and to protect our stakeholders with a special emphasis on those considered at higher risk.
- Ensure that those who are sick are supported as they take appropriate steps to deal with their illness, including self-isolation.
- Faculty, staff and student employees will be treated equitably with every attempt to avoid pay disruptions as we determine their work status.
- This is a fluid situation and decisions and advice could change rapidly. HRM will continue to work with KU leaders to determine the best possible employment decisions for faculty, staff and students.
Time Off Policies and Guidance
Family First Coronavirus Response Act — Update 4.10.20
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides two new types of employee paid leave for absences directly related to COVID-19. If you currently are unable to work because campus is closed, you must complete the FFCRA form before April 17. You’ll receive an email with more details early next week. In addition to employees who must complete the FFCRA form because they are currently not working due to campus closure, the leave categories under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family Leave Act are an option for employees who are currently working or teleworking but may need to take leave due to COVID-19.
Learn more about The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and available leave.
KU’s time-off policies for staff and student employees are generally equipped to handle contagious illnesses. KU leadership has asked supervisors and managers to use their best judgement in addressing employees concerns and individual situations.
- Both employees and supervisors should continue to follow standard practices for requesting and approving time off.
- Employees whose duties would normally require them to be on campus, but who feel they are at risk if they report to campus, should work with their supervisor and HRM on solutions for that situation.
- In addition to sick leave, staff may also request time off for family care emergency absences when regularly scheduled care plans are interrupted due to a school, camp or facility closure and/or the unexpected absence of a care provider.
- Shared leave may be an option for employees who don't have sufficient leave to cover a needed absence.
Employees Who Feel Ill
Employees who are feeling ill should stay home and get well, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If an employee is concerned they may have been exposed to COVID-19, the CDC recommends they call their healthcare provider for medical advice.
Supervisors should work with student employees on a case-by-case basis to determine if the student can perform their essential work functions remotely. Whenever possible, we encourage supervisors to allow student employees to work remotely to avoid financial hardship for those students.
HRM has provided guidance to department leaders regarding temporary telework (a.k.a, telecommute) arrangements for positions where working remotely is practical. Not all positions or employees are eligible for a telework situation. Unit leaders are working with supervisors, managers and HRM to determine the appropriate work option for each employee. If you have any questions about your particular work situation, please talk with your supervisor.
We recognize there may be times when employees require additional support that our current policies do not foresee or accommodate. HRM is available to offer guidance and support for difficult or unusual circumstances.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends the use of face masks to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus. Surgical masks and N-95 respirators are in short supply and are needed by for health care professionals and others who come in close contact with COVID-19 patients. The CDC recommends alternative face coverings, including homemade masks, for the general population. More information on how and when to wear face coverings along with instructions on how to make them is available on the CDC website or in this University of Utah Health System guide (pdf).
Update 7.16.20: The hiring freeze was lifted for student employee positions (including student hourly). More detailed information was sent to appropriate unit administrators on July 16.
Even though we’ve taken great measures to ensure the university continues to operate and students continue to learn under these extraordinary circumstances, the pandemic has already had a significant financial impact on our institution. The uncertainty of these times requires us to take precautions that will help us weather what we can expect will be a continuing hardship. Until further notice, the University of Kansas is implementing a strategically focused hiring freeze that will serve as an initial step to address financial implications of the pandemic. A hiring freeze will help us begin to re-establish our financial footing as we map out a structured recovery plan. These decisions are never easy and often raise new questions. We’ve worked with several campus leaders to develop guidelines that help us remain true to our mission while also being fiscally responsible.
For details, see the April 2 message from the Chancellor and Provost and the April 10 message from Human Resources and Faculty Development.
A guidance document (.pdf) provides more detailed information for unit leaders and supervisors.
Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access
The Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access (IOA) is fully functional and available to serve KU students, faculty, staff, and visitors remotely by phone, Skype for Business, or Zoom. Read IOAs COVID-19 crisis FAQ document (pdf) for more information.