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myHR: June 24, 2020

Navigating Backup Care During COVID-19

Elderly hand being held by gloved hand of health care professionalDo you need to hire in-home care for an aging loved one while you return to work onsite? Do you need a babysitter for the children now that school is out, and summer camp options are limited? Are you providing care for a family member and have concerns about how best to protect their well-being in our new normal?  

Caregiving can be a challenge during the best of times. Meeting your backup care needs during a global pandemic can be even more stressful if you don’t have the right resources to guide you. Penn is here to help you navigate your child, adult, and senior care needs by offering resources and tips for finding and providing care during the coronavirus outbreak.

Penn’s Backup Care program offers benefits-eligible faculty and staff up to 10 days of backup child or adult care per fiscal year through Care can be offered in your home, with some of the cost covered through a subsidy program that depends on your annual base salary, and other factors that include the number of hours you arrange and whether special needs exist. puts you in touch with professionals who meet your family’s specific needs and expectations. The team can help you find and hire caregivers through a personal assisted search. Right now, one of the greatest concerns is allowing caregivers into the home, so has compiled a set of Guidelines for In-home Backup Care for families. specialists encourage you to have proactive conversations with potential and existing caregivers about your safety expectations. When vetting child caregivers, recommends that you ask several COVID-related questions in addition to the usual inquiries. For example:   

  • Can you follow handwashing and hygiene practices? You may have set rules regarding handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer when your children come inside from playing, before and after eating, and after using the bathroom. Ask a prospective caregiver if she would be comfortable with your practices and the timing of each.
  • Are you comfortable with following the current limitations when caring for kids outside of the house? Will a caregiver practice social distancing? If you want your kids to play only in the backyard or on the front porch, and not at a nearby park, consider whether the caregiver is willing to adjust to these boundaries.
  • Do you agree to communicate about illness or symptoms? As part of two-way communication, the caregiver should agree to report any symptoms of illness to you to determine whether the care should continue. If your child becomes sick, the caregiver should let you know immediately and take the child’s temperature as soon as possible.

For more information, check out the article “4 Questions to Ask Child Caregivers During Coronavirus.”  

Caring for Seniors

Penn offers Senior Care Planning services through that allow you to access senior care advisors. Advisors offer caregiving strategies such as finding the appropriate level of care, proactively planning and paying for care, and assisting adult children whose parents do not want to accept care. Senior Care Planning services also allow for free in-depth consultations with a Geriatric Social Worker.

Adults 65 and older are especially vulnerable when it comes to fighting the coronavirus. Health Advocate, a free and confidential service offered through Penn, provides some important tips for caregivers of older loved ones. These include:

  • Follow local recommendations for social distancing.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after providing care, preparing food, using the bathroom or touching surfaces in public.
  • Put off non-essential travel that would expose older adults to crowds, such as cruises or trips with itineraries.
  • Help seniors stay connected by showing them how to video chat with others using smartphones, laptops or tablets.
  • Encourage friends and family outside of your household to telephone, write notes or send cards.

For more tips, review Health Advocate’s COVID-19:Caring for Older Adults.

For more information about Penn’s dependent care benefits, visit the Caring for Your Family webpage.

Virtual Courses Develop Real-life Professional Skills

Person working on laptop in a conference call

Whether you’re working from home, on campus, or in different locations each day, Penn Human Resources brings professional development opportunities to you. Human Resources Talent Development invites you to Fall 2020 virtual courses that connect with Penn staff members while building your professional skills and knowledge. This engaging line up of courses is specifically chosen and developed for University staff. Check out the Fall course listings on and visit Knowledge Link to register.

When it’s your job to support education and research in an ever-changing environment, finding time and resources for your own professional development isn’t always easy. That’s why Penn provides convenient virtual courses for staff and faculty. These real-time interactive programs are free to all Penn staff members.

Through Human Resources Talent Development, you and your department can benefit from practical and effective training programs led by experienced training professionals. The courses cover skills you can apply in different fields.

These popular courses fill up fast, so register soon at Knowledge Link.

For more personal and professional development opportunities, including career coaching, visit the Learn & Grow website.  

Recognized Holidays for Fiscal Year 2021

Graphic of celebratory fireworksThe following holidays will be observed by the University in the upcoming fiscal year (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021) on the dates listed below:

Independence Day, Friday, July 3, 2020

Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 2020

Thanksgiving, Thursday and Friday, November 26 & 27, 2020

Christmas Day, Friday, December 25, 2020

New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1, 2021

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 18, 2021

Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, 2021

Each year, the President, Provost, and Executive Vice President assess the feasibility of observing Penn’s traditional Special Winter Vacation. Thus, the Special Winter Vacation granted to faculty and staff will be December 28, 29, 30, and 31, 2020. If an employee is required to work to continue departmental operations for part or all of this period, the Special Winter Vacation can be rescheduled for some other time.

Staff members who are absent from work either the work day before a holiday, the work day after a holiday, or both days, will receive holiday pay if that absence is charged to pre-approved paid time off or to sick time substantiated by a written note from the staff member’s health care provider. 

Vacations and holidays for hospital employees or those staff members in collective bargaining units are governed by the terms of hospital policies or their respective collective bargaining agreements.

 Fiscal Year 2021  Fiscal Year 2022  Fiscal Year 2023 
Independence Day    Fri., 7/3/20 (observed)   Mon., 7/5/21 (observed) Mon., 7/4/22
Labor Day  Mon., 9/7/20  Mon., 9/6/21  Mon., 9/5/22
Thanksgiving Thurs., & Fri, 
11/26, 11/27/20   
Thurs., & Fri,
11/25, 11/26/21  
 Thurs., & Fri,
11/24, 11/25/22
Christmas Day       Fri., 12/25/20 Fri., 12/24/21 (observed) Mon., 12/26/22 (observed)
New Year’s Day   Fri., 1/1/21 Fri., 12/31/21 (observed) Mon., 1/2/23 (observed)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day  Mon., 1/18/21 Mon., 1/17/22 Mon., 1/16/23
Memorial Day Mon., 5/31/21 Mon., 5/30/22 Mon., 5/29/23

Healthy Meals: Strawberry Yogurt Granola Popsicles

Strawberry yogurt granola popsicles on plate with strawberries“Can we have Popsicles for breakfast?” Sure! These frozen pops made with seasonal berries and yogurt provide you with vitamin C and protein. Refreshing and creamy, with just a little crunch, this refreshing treat will also satisfy your sweet tooth. Make these pops for a cool way to start a hot day or to enjoy as a snack any time.

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips



Did You Know: Be in the Know Campaign Year Ends June 30

The Be in the Know 2019-2020 campaign year ends June 30, 2020. All activities must be completed by that date. All Proof of Bonus Actions Forms and required documentation must be submitted to AREUFIT Health Services by July 31, 2020. Penn will launch the 2020-2021 Be in the Know campaign year on the new Virgin Pulse wellness platform on July 1. The next campaign year will run through June 30, 2021.