Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
March 14, 2020
Options for employees’ work schedules
Dear NIU Employees,
Friday’s announcement by Gov. Pritzker to close Illinois’ K-12 schools underscores Illinois’ resolve to fight the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 and calls on NIU to take additional actions.
Your personal well-being and your ability to care for anyone counting on you during this time is critical, and we will support you.
We also have a shared duty to serve our NIU community, which includes our students, especially those who need to stay on campus during these unprecedented times. Effective immediately, we are offering multiple options for our employees to use through April 5 and potentially beyond, if circumstances dictate. These include working remotely, flexible schedules, use of personal benefits and combinations thereof as described below.
For Monday morning, I ask all employees to think about what will work best considering your circumstances and to contact your supervisor, however you are most comfortable (in person, via phone or email), to discuss and come to agreement.
To be clear, I expect and empower all supervisors to be flexible and understanding as you lead your staff in the coming days and weeks. Please do your best to be responsive to an employee’s personal needs, balancing them with their work responsibilities as you discuss the following:
Tele-commuting/Working from Home: Employees who have job duties conducive to working from home are encouraged to work remotely. We completely understand that working from home while maintaining child and/or eldercare will impact productivity, and we trust you will do your best. If you have not already done so, please consult with your supervisor Monday, via phone, email or in person to confirm if your role falls into this category. Information and resources about working remotely are available on the COVID-19 site, which is updated frequently.
Compressed Work Week: Where possible and appropriate, an employee may work longer but fewer days like the flextime option that some employees take advantage of during the summer. This option is applicable for those who are working remotely and for those with roles where an on-campus presence is necessary to maintain business operations for NIU and to provide services to our NIU student community who need to remain on campus.
Staggered Schedule: When possible and appropriate, employees can stagger work schedule start- and end-times. This option is applicable for those who are working remotely and for those with roles where an on-campus presence is necessary to maintain business operations for NIU and to provide services to our NIU student community who need to remain on campus.
Reduced Hours to be Supplemented with Personal Benefits: Employees who wish to adjust their schedule to work reduced hours, from home or on campus, may supplement their remaining time by using any of their personal benefits. This option is applicable for those working remotely and for those with roles where an on-campus presence is necessary to maintain business operations for NIU and to provide services to our NIU student community who need to remain on campus.
Utilize Personal Benefits: Employees who choose not to work may use accrued sick and/or non-accumulative sick leave for themselves or to care for immediate family/household members. A doctor’s note will not be required for time used between Monday, March 9, and Sunday, April 5. You also do not need to be on Family Medical Leave to use non-accumulative sick leave time.
Employees Who are Sick or Taking Care of Family Member: As stated previously, if you or a close family member or member of your household are experiencing any flu like symptoms or are not feeling well STAY HOME, get well and seek appropriate medical care. Do not return to work until you are free of fever and other symptoms for at least 24 hours. Employees can use accrued sick and/or non-accumulative sick leave. A doctor’s note is not required during this unique situation.
Note: If you or a family member in your care are confirmed to have COVID-19, please notify Human Resource Services immediately. HRS will maintain confidentiality and work with the DeKalb County Health Department to determine exposure to other members of the NIU community. In this situation, you will be required to provide a doctor’s note and clearance to return to campus at the appropriate time.
Documentation and Questions: In all cases, please work with your supervisor to review and document any adjustments to your schedule. While we cannot anticipate every situation, we are committed to working with you to find an acceptable situation. For questions, please contact HRS at 815-753-6000 or submit a question through the HRS site and a member of the team will work to get back to you as soon as possible. Every effort will be made to respond within 24 hours.
Please check our COVID-19 website daily for updates to the Frequently Asked Questions and resources guide. I also ask that you share this information with your fellow colleagues who might not be checking in or do not have computer access. We will be posting updates and community messages in the areas where workers with limited technology access assemble.
This is a fluid environment, and we need your support and cooperation through this time. It is important that we look out for each other and support our Huskie family. We continue to take this one day at a time, and we will do it together.
Lisa C. Freeman