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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
March 23, 2020
Payroll Guidance

Dear Unit and Department Leaders,

I know this is a challenging time for all of you as we navigate the changes necessitated by COVID-19. We remain committed to our mission, vision and values, and our decisions are based our shared understanding of those values.

As you know, we are operating without a senior associate vice president for Human Resource Services (HRS). Prior to the challenges of the last few weeks, we had been working with
Audrey Southard, an alumna and HR professional with 30 years of experience, to help us identify ways to modernize NIU’s HRS practices. Audrey has graciously agreed to help us on an emergency basis in a different capacity, as interim director of Human Resources, to address the myriad needs our new working conditions have presented. Audrey will be with us in this role until April 15, and you will begin to see her name on many of our HR messages. 

I’m proud of how the team in HRS has stepped up this week to deal with an extraordinary situation. I know you will have other questions, and I urge you to visit the FAQ page and to email your HRS contacts. They stand ready to help you and to serve NIU.

PAYROLL GUIDANCE
Our main priority is to ensure our employees are paid during these unprecedented times. As conditions are constantly evolving, we will communicate payroll guidance every two weeks.
We are grateful for the clarification provided to public universities by the IBHE for the across-the- board determination to pay state employees as verified by the deputy general counsel and ethics officer in the Office of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. The guidance indicates that, in this public health emergency, an across-the-determination to pay state employees does not implicate a violation of the ethics act.

HRS has established the following payroll guidance for the pay period of March 16, 2020, through March 31, 2020, and will provide guidance at each payroll cycle as needed. 

Given that this is a new process and requires some degree of managerial decision-making, we’re asking our leaders to take a more active role in the payroll process. We are requesting that department and unit heads be the primary person responsible for completing the payroll spreadsheet during this time, using timekeepers if they are available.

Time Recording
It remains important for employees and supervisors to record time and maintain records for future recordkeeping. Employees should continue to report their time to their supervisors (i.e. via email or other remote method); however, inked or electronic signatures will not be required. During this stay-at-home order, it will not be necessary to provide those records to HRS. 

Salaried Employees (Salaried Faculty, Salaried SPS, and Civil Service Exempt)
Compensation
Salaried faculty, salaried SPS and Civil Service exempt employees will continue to receive their semi-monthly base pay and any additional pay authorized.

Accrued Benefit Tracking
Employees will be instructed to continue to report their hours of sick and vacation usage in a manner in which they are able while working remotely. It will not be necessary to print the form, collect the employee and supervisor signatures and return to HRS at this time. This information will be collected upon return to normal operations, and this documentation will need to be provided to HRS for processing.

During this time, Payroll will be processing leave accruals, however, will not be adjusting leave balances based on usage for each cycle. Upon return to normal operations, a one-time adjustment will be processed to reconcile leave usage. More information on this process as well as timelines will be provided upon return to normal operations.

Hourly Civil Service Employees
Compensation
In keeping with our overall theme to pay our employees during this time, employees in this category will be paid standard hours for the pay period. For example, March 16 to March 31 is a 12-day pay period. Employees in this category who normally work 7.5 hours per day will be paid for 90 hours of work for this pay period. An electronic spreadsheet will be provided to department heads to report any employee in this category who needs to be paid overtime, paid a shift differential, record comp time earned or pay a temporary upgrade in accordance with already existing approvals. Details will be provided in a separate communication Wednesday, March 25.

Accrued Benefit Tracking
Employees will be instructed to continue to report their hours worked, as well as sick and vacation usage, in a manner in which they are able while working remotely. It will not be necessary to print the form and collect the employee and supervisor signatures and return to HRS at this time. This information will be collected upon return to normal operations, and this documentation will need to be provided to HRS for processing.

During this time, Payroll will process leave accruals but not adjust leave balances based on usage for each cycle. Upon return to normal operations, a one-time adjustment will be processed to reconcile leave usage. More information on this process as well as timelines will be provided upon return to normal operations.

Salaried Graduate Assistants
Compensation
Employees in this category will continue to receive their semi-monthly base pay.

Accrued Benefit Tracking
Employees in this category do not have accrued benefits. As a result, there is no need for benefit tracking.

Hourly Graduate Assistants
Compensation
It is the expectation that employees in this category are working remotely and have been given work assignments by their supervisors; a few exceptions have agreed and have been preapproved to work on campus to perform essential functions consistent with section 12j of COVID-19 Executive Order No 8. Employees in this category should be paid for time worked, including
professional and other development assignments that supervisors might provide. 

Employees in this category should be paid for time worked. An electronic spreadsheet will be provided to department heads to report time worked for any employee in this category. In order to assist in this process, average hours from January 16, 2020, to February 29, 2020, will be provided to department heads to use as a guide on what employees in this category normally work.  Details will be provided in a separate communication Wednesday, March 25.

Accrued Benefit Tracking
Employees in this category do not have accrued benefits. As a result, there is no need for benefit tracking.

Student Employees Not Working
Compensation
We will be providing undergraduate student employees with a one-time payment of a stipend to compensate for the fact that undergraduate student employment is no longer an option for the majority of students.  

Payment will be calculated based on the following:
Student employees who actively worked between January 16, 2020, and March 8, 2020, will be paid one-time stipends. The stipends are calculated based on their average hours worked from January 16, 2020, through February 29, 2020. Payroll will process this pay automatically with the March 31, 2020, payroll, and no action is needed from the supervisor. 

Student employees who have direct deposit will receive this payment April 15, 2020.

Note:
Student employees who do not have direct deposit will receive their paper paycheck via USPS mail at the address on record. Student employees are not to come to campus to retrieve paper paychecks. HRS has reached out to student employees who do not have direct deposit. Please remind student employees to ensure that their addresses are updated to the addresses where they want to receive university mail.

Accrued Benefit Tracking
Employees in this category do not have accrued benefits. As a result, there is no need for benefit tracking.

Student Employees Working
Compensation
Student employees who worked the week of March 16, 2020, or are continuing to work will be paid the stipend as described above in addition to their paid work hours. Tutoring happening remotely, Dining and Residence support and a few other critical functions will allow the use of student workers during this time. The use of student employees must be pre-approved by the executive vice president and provost.

Student employees in this category who worked either on campus or remotely should be paid for time worked. An electronic spreadsheet will be provided to department heads to report student employee time worked. Details will be provided in a separate communication Wednesday, March 25.

Accrued Benefit Tracking
Employees in this category do not have accrued benefits. As a result, there is no need for benefit tracking.

Extra-Help Employees
Compensation
It has been communicated to extra-help employees that if they are able to work, they can continue to do so to support our NIU community. As such, employees in this category should be paid for time worked. There will be an electronic spreadsheet for department heads to report time worked for any employee in this category. In order to assist in this process, average hours from January 1, 2020, through March 15, 2020, will be provided for department heads to use as a framework on what employees in this category normally work. Details will be provided in a separate communication Wednesday, March 25.

Accrued Benefit Tracking
Employees in this category do not have accrued benefits. As a result, there is no need for benefit tracking.


Payroll Processing Procedures
Details regarding the new submission process for time entry summaries and instructions for Payroll Processing will be provided Wednesday, March 25. HRS will also conduct team meetings with each division leader to answer questions and provide guidance. A schedule will be provided in the coming days.

Please note, separate guidance will be issued regarding procedures for any future additional pay.

Thank you for your support in paying our employees during this time.

Beth Ingram
Executive Vice President and Provost

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