Frequently Asked Questions about UNE’s response to COVID-19
IS THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND CLOSED TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND Professional STAFF?
The University remains open, as the work of educating our students (albeit in a modified format) and of serving those who remain on campus will continue without interruption. However, in accordance with both UNE’s policy and the most recent order from the governor, anyone who can work from home, to perform all of their duties or any part of them, must do so. The fewer people who remain on our campuses, the safer those environments will be for the small number of students who remain in the dorms in Biddeford and for the employees whose duties require them to be on one of the campuses. Learn more about our modified learning and telework format >
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM AN EMPLOYEE AND AM FEELING SICK?
If you have any symptoms of illness please stay home, take the time needed to care for yourself, and update your supervisor if you will not be able to work during the day due to those symptoms. If you are concerned that the symptoms might be related to COVID-19, reach out to your regular healthcare provider and get guidance from them on how to communicate with your doctor. Ensure you are also practicing a few simple steps to help curb the spread of any illness: practice social distancing, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes or face.
IS THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND OFFERING OPTIONS TO WORK REMOTELY?
UNE’s most recently issued telework/flexwork policy (PDF) facilitates remote work where possible, in accordance with federal CDC guidelines. Where remote work is not possible to carry out essential operations, social distancing and increased sanitization practices have been deployed across UNE’s campuses. Faculty and professional staff who are working remotely should continue to do so, and employees who have not yet requested remote work through the policy, if appropriate, should work with their supervisors to submit those requests. The COVID-19 Temporary Remote Work Plan Agreement is available online (PDF). Please be aware that the telework/flexwork policy may be discontinued at any time at the sole discretion of UNE, and shall be discontinued when the acute pandemic risk is determined to have diminished.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO WORK REMOTELY? HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM AN ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEE?
Work with your direct manager/supervisor to evaluate the responsibilities and priorities of your position, keeping in mind the feasibility of completing some or all of your work remotely with or without adjustment. Any employee working from home is expected to work their typical workload. There will be employees who cannot adequately perform their full functions from home and/or who need to be physically at work for some critical function. Those employees are encouraged to come to work to support their department. As per the HR Policy regarding Telework/Flexwork, employees who are required to physically be at work can still petition to work remotely under certain conditions as defined in existing HR policy and approval form. Those employees should work with their manager and Human Resources to determine the best approach possible to meet the needs of individual situations.
WILL I STILL BE GETTING PAID IF I AM NOT ALLOWED TO WORK ON CAMPUS?
All non-exempt (hourly) employees who work remotely when the University is open should be paid for hours worked at their regular hourly rate of pay. Overtime must be approved in advance by your direct manager/supervisor. Non-exempt (hourly) employees should continue to track and submit timesheets per the normal Payroll guidelines. Exempt (salaried) employees will receive their regular pay when working remotely.
I NEED TO TAKE TIME OFF FROM WORK - HOW SHOULD I ALLOCATE MY LEAVE TIME? WHAT LEAVE TIME AM I ABLE TO USE?
Speak with your manager/direct supervisor about your need for any time off from work. Depending on your reason, you would want to use the appropriate leave time that you have available, including any accrued floating holidays, sick time, personal days, or vacation time. Non-exempt (hourly) employees should ensure that any time off is noted on your timesheets that will be submitted to Payroll. Exempt employees and salaried non-exempt employees should indicate time-off used on their monthly leave time reports as per the normal Payroll guidelines.
DOES OUR SHORT TERM DISABILITY AND FMLA POLICY APPLY IF I TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19?
There are a wide variety of scenarios under which an individual may be quarantined. If an individual is quarantined as directed by a licensed health care professional or government agency. Read the full response about short term disability and FMLA policies >
IF I AM FEELING ILL AND TAKE MORE THANT 3 CONSECUTIVE SICK DAYS, WILL I BE REQUIRED TO BRING A DOCTORS NOTE BEFORE I CAN RETURN TO WORK?
In general, written medical clearance will not be required for return to work. (Please note: UNE departments with specific health and safety requirements may have different policies). This is being done to avoid overtaxing health care resources. Please reach out to Human Resources to check on whether or not your specific circumstance will require a return to work medical clearance.
MY KIDS' SCHOOL IS CLOSED AND I DON'T HAVE OTHER CHILDCARE OPTIONS SO I NEED TO BE HOME TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. AM I ABLE TO USE SICK TIME FOR THAT, EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT SICK?
We recognize that these are unique circumstances and, because of that, encourage you to use any accrued time that you still have available for your childcare needs including the use of floating holidays, sick time, personal days, or vacation time. If you do not have any leave time available for use, please speak directly with your manager/direct supervisor or email the Human Resources department at HR-COVID19questions@une.edu to learn what other options might be available.
THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 AND ALL THE NEWS STORIES ARE MAKING ME ANXIOUS. WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP ME WITH THESE CONCERNS?
As an employee, you and your family have cost-free access to the valuable Employee Assistance Program. EAP personal advocates will work with you and your household family members to help you resolve issues you may be facing, connect you with the right mental health professionals, direct you to a variety of helpful resources in your community and more. Some services include five face-to-face counseling services with a counselor in your area, legal assistance, financial assistance, and more. For more information on this service please visit or call Cigna EAP directly at 877-622-4327
WILL ANY CHANGES BE MADE TO THE VACATION POLICY OR WILL ANY REMAINING DAYS NOT USED BY MAY 31 STILL BE FORFEITED?
The University is continuing to follow the leave time policies as outlined in the Personnel Handbook and the Faculty Handbook on the Human Resources Policy Page webpage. We recognize that this is a fluid and evolving situation and if any changes are made to our leave policies, we will be sure to share those in a more formalized communication.