Guidance for Managers on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)May 15, 2020
As conditions change, this page may be updated at the discretion of the Provost and the Executive Vice President.
On this page
Frequently Asked Questions
The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) are being provided in response to inquiries that have been received regarding COVID-19 and its impact on University faculty and staff. These FAQs are current as of the date indicated and may be updated from time to time. For additional Human Resources information regarding COVID-19 please refer to the Division of Human Resources coronavirus health and safety page and the University’s comprehensive COVID-19 Information and Resources site.
This FAQ is not intended to address employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement. For such employees, refer to the appropriate Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or contact your HR designee.
Limited Campus Operations FAQ
On March 27, the University of Pennsylvania limited its onsite operations to life-sustaining essential activities until further notice. We will keep you updated well in advance when more information is available on an exact date for returning to onsite operations.
During this period, those employees engaging in life-sustaining activities will continue to work onsite, following social distancing guidelines and taking other recommended precautions. (Please refer to the University Notification from March 20, 2020 for additional information about life-sustaining activities at the University.)
All other employees should continue to work remotely, if possible. Those who are unable to work remotely will continue to remain in paid status.
Essential employees who are sick should not come to work. Each day before coming to campus to work, essential employees should ask themselves the following questions:
- Do I have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms:
- A fever (if you have an available thermometer) or fever symptoms (if no thermometer is available for your use)? (Fever symptoms may include sweating, chills and shivering, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, irritability, dehydration and general weakness.)
- Shortness of breath
- Has anyone in my household been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms?
- Since I last reported to work, have I had close contact (within 6 feet for 10 or more minutes) with anyone outside your home who has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or COVID-19 symptoms?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, yet your supervisor know and do not come to campus. The University has extended its sick time policy, allowing essential employees to take time off beyond their current sick time balance. For more information, please go to the Penn HR COVID-19 sick time and leave page.
Wearing Protective Masks
Everyone entering Penn’s buildings, regardless of their role, should be wearing masks to prevent infections beginning Monday, April 13, 2020. This decision is predicated on the CDC’s recent guidance that the use of face coverings may be effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 from an individual who is infected but asymptomatic.
Penn will provide the masks for essential life-sustaining employees to use. Essential employees should speak with their managers for information regarding the process for obtaining masks. Schools and centers should email firstname.lastname@example.org to request masks for distribution to their essential employees.
Additional information about how to use, reuse, remove and store masks can be found at the EHRS website.
Handwashing and Social Distancing
While masks may mitigate against the risk that you will expose a co-worker to COVID-19, it is not expected that a mask will provide the wearer with extra protection. Therefore, it is imperative that all essential employees continue frequent handwashing and practice social distancing while on campus performing life-sustaining activities. Employees should maintain no less than a 6-foot distance from others at all times. Employees should not congregate in break rooms or in other areas on campus where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Time away from work is still worthwhile, perhaps now more than ever. Travel or social gatherings with friends and family outside of your home may not be possible for now, but a day away from remote work screens and phones can be just the break you're looking for. So send that request to your supervisor, then take that accrued time off to renew your energy or attend to personal needs.
You can check your time off balance and submit your request by logging in at Workday@Penn. Review this Workday Tip Sheet for instructions.
Visit the Workday@Penn website for more details about time tracking during limited operations.
Managers’ General Guidelines
COVID-19 FAQ for Managers
No new acting rates or extensions of acting rates will be created without the approval of the Dean, Vice Dean, or Vice President and the Division of Human Resources. Any requests for exception approval should submitted to Human Resources Compensation with the Compensation Approvals During Freeze form and required supporting documentation, as outlined on the form. The request will then be reviewed by the VPHR, and the Associate Provost for Finance and Planning, or the EVP.
No new additional pays will be reviewed without the approval of the Dean, Vice Dean, or Vice President and the Division of HumanResources. Any requests for exceptions should submitted to Human Resources Compensation with the Compensation Approvals During Freeze form and required supporting documentation, as outlined on the form. The request will then be reviewed by the VPHR, and the Associate Provost for Finance and Planning, or the EVP.
Overtime should be minimized to the fullest extent possible and carefully monitored. These requests need to be made in advance of the overtime being worked. Before hourly/weekly paid employees can be directed to work overtime, this must be approved by the Dean, Vice Dean, or Vice President. If employees work overtime without this prior approval, they must still be paid for this time, but the issue must be addressed with the Dean, Vice Dean or Vice President and a plan for future compliance put in place.
Guidance to Supervisor:
Essential employees should not report to work. If the employee has recently worked on campus, the supervisor should ask them to identify close contacts with whom they have interacted in the period of 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms up until the time the individual started self- isolating. Close contacts are defined as those individuals who have been within 6 feet for a period of 10 to 30 minutes or more. The supervisor should tell the employee that they will be notifying EHRS so that a contact investigation can be conducted.
The supervisor should then contact EHRS to initiate the contact investigation. EHRS can be reached by calling (215)898-4453 or emailing email@example.com. After the investigation is complete, the supervisor, in conjunction with EHRS, will determine who will notify those close contacts at Penn, and EHRS will provide guidance on next steps.
Employees should be permitted to return to work based on the results of the test and their overall state of health. EHRS will work with the supervisor to determine the appropriate return to work criteria.
Peers and colleagues may express worry and concern upon learning of this news – either from their infected colleagues themselves, or through the rumor mill. Supervisors can address this issue and let others know that an unnamed member of the workforce has been diagnosed with COVID-19. They should be told there is no action they need to take unless notified otherwise.
Because employee well-being, privacy, and workplace safety remain priorities at all times, no additional information should be provided. The language below is offered as an example:
“I received a report that a colleague in our unit is being tested for COVID-19. Environmental Health & Radiation Safety will engage in a contact investigation. If you don’t receive a notification, there is no further action that needs to be taken on your part. Please continue to monitor yourself closely for symptoms and practice disease prevention behaviors such as hand washing and social distancing. Should you not feel well, please stay home and contact your primary care provider.”
Guidance to supervisor:
Essential staff may continue to report to work if they are asymptomatic. Employees should continue to monitor their health and practice disease prevention behaviors such as wearing a mask, handwashing and social distancing. If the employee begins to feel unwell, they should not report to work. Instead, they should self-isolate and consult their healthcare provider.
The supervisor should consult with EHRS for additional guidance. EHRS can be reached by calling (215)898-4453 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appropriate cleaning protocols should be followed. No additional notification should be given to other staff members within the department.
Guidance to supervisor:
Essential employees should continue to report to work. Employees should continue to monitor their health and practice disease prevention behaviors such as wearing a mask, handwashing and social distancing.
If the employee begins to feel unwell, they should not report to work. Instead, they should self-isolate and consult their healthcare provider.
While testing for COVID-19 is available, there are clinical criteria that need to be met in order to have the testing. Testing must be ordered by a healthcare provider and is not currently freely accessible. EHRS will continue to work closely with other University offices in addition to local public health authorities to determine the appropriate notification processes for close contacts of those individuals that receive a positive diagnosis of COVID-19.
Guidance to Supervisor:
Essential employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 should not report to work. Staff should remain out of the workplace based on the guidance received from their healthcare provider. Generally, employees may return to work when they meet BOTH of the following criteria: at least 3 days after resolution of fever (off fever reducing medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen) and improvement in respiratory symptoms; and at least 7 days have passed since the symptoms started.
If the employee has recently worked on campus, the supervisor should ask them to identify close contacts with whom they have interacted in the period of 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms up until the time the individual started self- isolating. Close contacts are defined as those individuals who have been within 6 feet for a period of 10 to 30 minutes or more. The supervisor should tell the employee that they will be notifying EHRS so that a contact investigation can be conducted.
The supervisor should then contact EHRS to initiate the contact investigation.
EHRS can be reached by calling (215)898-4453 or emailing email@example.com. After the investigation is complete, the supervisor, in conjunction with EHRS will determine who will notify those close contacts at Penn, and EHRS will provide guidance on next steps. Close contacts that are designated as essential staff and are asymptomatic may continue to work so long as their health remains stable, they utilize masks and practice appropriate social distancing activities.
Peers and colleagues may express worry and concern upon learning of this news – either from their infected colleagues themselves, or through the rumor mill. Supervisors can address this issue and let others know that an unnamed member of the workforce has been diagnosed with COVID-19. They should be told that there is no action they need to take unless they are notified otherwise.
Because employee well-being, privacy, and workplace safety remain priorities at all times, no additional information should be provided. The language below is offered as an example:
"I received a report that a colleague in our unit was diagnosed with COVID-19. Environmental Health & Radiation Safety will engage in a contact investigation. If you don’t receive a notification, there is no further action that needs to be taken on your part. Please continue to monitor yourself closely for symptoms and practice disease prevention behaviors such as hand washing and social distancing. Should you not feel well, please stay home and contact your primary care provider.”
The University expects employees to attend work as scheduled and be fully prepared to work through the whole work period. Any time away from work should be discussed and approved in advance with your supervisor.
Guidance to Supervisor:
They employee is to follow the guidance provided by the public health department by whom they were contacted. This guidance may or may not include recommendations for self-isolation depending on the risk assessment done by the public health department. No additional notification should be given to other staff members within the department. No additional notification should be given to the members of the department, school, or center.
Essential staff should not report to work and monitor their symptoms for 14 days. If they aren’t feeling well, they should consult their health care provider. If the employee remains symptom-free after 14 days, the employee may return to work. Documentation from the employee’s health care provider or local public health authority is not required in order to return to work.
If an employee is required to self-isolate, and they are able to work from home, allow them to do so. While they are working from home, they will continue to receive their regular pay.
If an employee is unable to work from home, this will be considered time away from work. The employee should be put on paid administrative leave.
If an employee became sick due to COVID-19 contracted while on Penn-related travel or due to a workplace exposure, a Workers’ Compensation claim should be submitted.
If an employee becomes sick due to COVID-19 while in self-isolation, the employee’s paid administrative leave will end after two weeks and they will then transition to sick time or paid time off.
If self-isolation or sickness for instances related to non- Penn-related travel or business:
If an employee is required to self-isolate due to a public health mandate or pursuant to university guidance and they are able to work from home, allow them to do so. While they are working from home, they will continue to receive their regular pay.
This same guidance applies to employees who are at home caring for a family member that has become sick due to COVID-19.
If an employee becomes sick themselves due to COVID-19 or is otherwise unable to work from home, this will be considered time away from work. The employee should use sick time or paid time off. For employees who have no time available, time allotment will be advanced.
For all impacted employees:
Where applicable, time away from work will run concurrently with leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and employees who are sick due to COVID-19 may be eligible for Short Term Disability (STD). FMLA and STD should be applied for through Workday@Penn.
Note: For the limited purposes of addressing COVID-19, the University will be expanding the uses for Sick time, as written in the policy. Specifically:
Sick time may be used for a family member for more than 5 days.
Sick time may be used for school closures/child care provider unavailability due to COVID-19.
If an employee’s family member becomes sick due to COVID-19 and the employee is caring for their sick family member, the employee should use sick time or paid time off.
Sick time may be used for self-isolation periods.
If an employee at risk for complications from COVID-19 and their health care provider agree that increased social distancing in the workplace is prudent, the employee should contact their school/center HR designee to request a temporary change formally. The COVID-19 task force will work with schools/centers to confidentially evaluate the request, explore alternatives, and attempt to appropriately address the employee’s health concerns while maintaining operations. A doctor’s note may be required.
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend taking some actions to help prevent the circulation of respiratory viruses, including:
- Limit all non-essential travel to affected regions.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick.Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Hiring Process Guidance
In keeping the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and candidates in mind, we offer the following guidance on the staff hiring process:
COVID-19 Hiring and Interviewing
As long as the original offer letter was signed and entered on or before March 20, the start date may change and the candidate will still be eligible to start.
Prior to closing the job requisition, we recommend sending an email through Workday to the remaining active candidates, such as “We would like to thank you for your continued interest in the position. As part of the University’s response to COVID-19, we have decided to postpone hiring for this role. We hope to repost the position and resume recruitment once the University in the near future.”
Any active or inactive candidates (those still under review) will still need to be dispositioned. We have created a new disposition reason, Requisition Closed-Position Withdrawn, that will send the candidate a system-generated email letting them know the posting is being withdrawn.
Postdoctoral trainees can continue to be recruited and reappointed. If the department wishes to hire a post-docs, they must be able to perform work remotely and should not perform essential responsibilities. We strongly encourage that only post-docs funded from external sources be hired.
Research Assistants and Fellows
Research Assistants and Fellows can be hired as normal, so long as they are able to work remotely and are not performing essential responsibilities. These should also be funded from external sources where possible.
Teaching Assistants and Fellows
Teaching Assistants and Fellows can be hired as normal, recognizing that the first summer sessions will be taught virtually and faculty should plan accordingly.
Lecturer Bs can be hired as normal with no additional approvals but must be tracked on weekly spreadsheet.
Non-work-study Student Works, Interns or Co-op Students
Non-work-study students cannot be hired, exceptions must be granted from head of school or center.
Students with work-study awards can be hired as normal with budget approval.
NOTE: All of these positions should be accurately reflected in Workday and schools/centers will be asked to submit a monthly report to capture hiring activity related to the roles listed above. Guidance for running the report will be provided on the Talent Acquisition and Workday website and notification will be sent in the Workday Digest and Talent Acquisition newsletter.
No, the University’s hiring restrictions preclude making written offers for summer employment at this time.
No, any offers for summer employment that have not yet been accepted should be rescinded promptly in writing.
Each situation like this should be evaluated separately based on the individual facts. Considerations include:
- Whether the work that would have been performed still exists (e.g., due to the cancellation of on-campus summer programs).
- The feasibility of proceeding with the position if work continues to be performed remotely (except for essential, life-sustaining activities).
- The availability of funding for the summer work.
Consideration might also be given to potential modifications to the summer employment arrangement that might render it feasible – for example, a later start date, a shorter duration, fewer hours, etc.
Approval to proceed with any summer employment must be obtained through the School/Center’s highest officer or their designee.
If you decide that you cannot proceed with the summer position, you should promptly send written notification of this to the affected individual.
The following is a template that can be used and/or modified for this purpose:
We hope that you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe during these unprecedented times.
As you might imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted Penn’s operations including hiring plans for this summer.As a result, we are writing to rescind the summer employment offer that we previously extended to you.
We apologize for the inconvenience, and we appreciate your understanding. We hope that you will stay in touch and, if your plans permit, you will consider Penn for future summer or other opportunities.
As per guidance from the Provost and Executive Vice President’s office, no new temporary staff, interns, non-work study student workers, or co-op students are permitted to be hired without approval of the Dean, Vice Dean, or Vice President and the Division of Human Resources. Any requests for exception approval should submitted to Human Resources Compensation with the Compensation Approvals During Freeze form and required supporting documentation, as outlined on the form.
New temporary staff positions that are fully grant-funded and approved by the Dean, Vice Dean or Vice President, are permitted. The authorization form Compensation Approvals During Freeze form should be attached to the request in Workday. (UPDATED 4/20/20).
NOTE: A standard report to track requests that all Schools/Centers will use has been distributed and should be submitted by email to Chelsea Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org every Tuesday. The form can be found here: Temporary Hire Exception Tracker.
Since March 13, the University has maintained that no University employee, including student workers and temporary employees, will be put in unpaid status. With the conclusion of the spring semester (May 12), certain units may have less need for temporary employees to support their operations.Effective immediately, Schools/Centers may discontinue temporary employees based upon operational needs. Schools/Centers who end pay for a temporary employee should also terminate the employment relationship in the Workday system. By doing so we can track this activity without requesting individual reports from Schools/Centers.
Student Workers (non-work study)
Hiring of any student workers for the summer sessions is not permitted unless it is processed as an Exception to the Hiring Freeze with approval from the head of the School/Center. There will be additional guidance on student worker hiring for the Fall semester as the COVID-19 situation evolves and decisions about remote operations and the semester are made by University leadership and the COVID task force.
No, they cannot be retained. Current Independent Contractors (IC) can finish existing assignments but cannot be renewed to start new assignments.In addition, if they do not meet the criteria to be classified as an IC, they cannot be hired as a temporary employee or Professional Service Provider because there is a hiring freeze on new temporary employees.
If a department thinks there is a compelling need to hire an IC, the request is made by completing the Compensation Approval During Freeze form. Attach supporting documentation including the completed Service Provider Questionnaire form that has been reviewed and approved by the School/Center HR Director verifying that the contractor meets the IC criteria.
The Compensation Approvals During Freeze form requires the approval of the Dean, Vice Dean or Vice President before the exception request is sent to HR Compensation for further review by the Vice President of HR, Executive Vice President or Provost.
Please note that services should not be rendered by, or commitments made to a new IC until all approvals are complete.
In addition to completing both parts of the I-9, employees also need to complete all of the onboarding tasks located in their Workday inbox. There should be nothing remaining in their inbox. Some of them just require hitting the submit button at the bottom of the screen. Once all of these tasks are completed in addition to the I-9, direct deposit information will be processed and employment can be authorized.Completing all the onboarding tasks not only makes sure payroll direct deposit is processed into the employee’s account, but also ensures taxes are withheld correctly from their pay.
Federal regulations allow the employer to rely on the original Form I-9 and complete Section when an employee is rehired within three (3) years of the date of the original Form I-9.
Here are a few potential scenarios:
- An employee who worked at Penn from 2016 to 2019 and is rehired in 2020 will be required to complete a new I-9 because the original Form I-9 is more than 3 years old.
- An employee was originally hired in 1985 and retired in 2018. In 2020, the employee was rehired for a temporary position. This employee will have to complete at I-9 because their original hire date is prior to the Form I-9 regulation so there is no Form I-9 for them.
- A student worker was hired in 2018 and graduated in 2019. The student worker was terminated and then rehired into a staff position in 2020. This does not require a new I-9; however, it does require a reverification of employment authorization.
Due to variations in availability of sites, we recommend contacting several sites in order to secure a timely appointment. If a new hire is unable to make an appointment at any remote Equifax location due to COVID-19, then we have a secondary option and are able to accept the documents presented to complete your I-9 virtually, in accordance with recent guidance by the Department of Homeland Security. If unable to obtain an appointment with any Equifax I-9 Anywhere location, new hires should proceed with the virtual option described below.
Should new employee choose to send in documents virtually, they should be sent to Joe Marmo (email@example.com) via Secureshare. To access Secureshare they will need to login with their Pennkey and password.
The virtual option is only a temporary solution for new hires completing their I-9s. New hires will still be expected to visit Onboard@Penn with their original, unexpired documentation within three (3) business days of resuming onsite operations on Penn’s Campus to verify these physical documents in person.
No, the candidate would not be eligible to start. Unless an offer was approved using the Exception to the Hiring Freeze process, only those with a signed offer already in Workday as of March 20, 2020 are considered officially processed.
Yes, the hiring freeze will stop these hires. Only those with a signed offer already in Workday as of March 20 are considered officially processed and eligible to start. If you would like to move forward, the hire must be processed through the Exception to the Hiring Freeze process with approvals from the highest level at the school/center.
We hope that you will be able to continue moving forward with your hiring process. We encourage you to visit the Human Resources COVID-19 web pages for health and safety updates and resources.
If you have any questions, please contact Talent Acquisition (Recruitment and Staffing).