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Employee Information and Resources

Working through the Coronavirus Pandemic at Boise State

In these times it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the information coming in about the Coronavirus and how our university is responding. Because information is coming at us constantly things are changing rapidly. We all are working tirelessly to make sure the employees of Boise State are supported as the university adopts measures to keep our students and colleagues healthy and safe. Below we are answering frequently asked questions by our campus community.

If you do not see the answer to your question here, you can provide feedback or ask questions by filling out the Faculty and Staff Feedback Form.

 

FAQ's From Campus and Things You Should Know

Who are essential workers, and is there a letter I can give my daycare or others if I am considered an essential worker?

Governor Little issued a statewide stay-home order on March 25, 2020. The order requires employees to stay home unless deemed “essential.” The University has provided guidance regarding the definition of Essential Services based on information from the State of Idaho. As a reminder, at Boise State University, all employees have been asked to work from home unless the employee’s leadership has deemed their presence on campus essential. All employees working from home need to complete the COVID-19 Telecommuting Agreement.

For essential employees who continue to work on Campus, some daycare centers or other services  may require a letter indicating the employee is “essential.” For those employees deemed “essential,” the following letter can be used for that purpose on approval from the direct supervisor.  While working on Campus, please refer to the guidance regarding social distancing and prevention.

I want to give to Shared Leave, but I only have sick time, how do I help?

Good news, DHR just adjusted this rule!

This temporary policy change for Shared Leave,  allows employees to donate vacation and now also sick leave to other employees who have exhausted their sick leave balances or are not eligible to accrue sick leave related to COVID-19. 

You can donate Shared Leave using this form. 

Note: This is a temporary change and all waivers terminate no later than December 31, 2020, unless terminated earlier or extended by notice.

How can I decrease or cancel my daycare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) since school/daycares are closed now?

IRS rules allow for dependent care FSA contributions to be increased or reduced due to substantial changes in costs of daycare or if daycare is no longer necessary. Employees may submit these changes for the remainder of the plan year by completing an updated enrollment form.

 Please complete and submit the FSA form along with your justification for the change or cancellation of your Daycare Flex Spending account to the HR Benefits Department at benefits@boisestate.edu for processing.

All other rules and regulations, including the grace period to use Daycare FSA dollars, remain in effect.

Will my insurance cover Coronavirus testing?

In compliance with the Federal Coverage requirements

  • COVID -19 testing covered at 100% for all plans.
  • COVID-19 office visit, telemedicine, ER, doctors visit and urgent care visits are covered at 100%.
  • COVID-19-related tele-visits, office visits by phone or video call, will be covered at 100%.

These mandates apply to coverage for testing and diagnosis of COVID-19, not treatment.  

Telehealth with MDLive  

All MDLive copays and coinsurance will be waived for enrolled members for the remainder of the plan year for any health condition. 

Telehealth is an option to address non-emergent healthcare needs without physically visiting a doctor’s office. Go to the OGI homepage  https://ogi.idaho.gov/   for instructions on how to download the MDLive app on your mobile device or computer to get started. 

Tele-Visits

COVID-19 related tele-visits, office visits by phone or video call, will be a covered service for all plan types for the remainder of the plan year. Non-COVID-related visits are subject to copay and coinsurance

To ensure accurate and up-to-date information on your health coverage, please contact Blue Cross of Idaho at 208-331-8897.

What are the guidelines for current Graduate Assistantship (GA) positions? 

The following guidelines are for students holding graduate assistantship (GA) positions under the governance of Policy 7170.  This does not include graduate students who are hired by the university in positions other than a GA. Please refer to employment guidelines for further information about non-GA employed students or contact HR with any questions.

Graduate Assistants (GAs) supported by APPROPRIATED and LOCAL Funds

  • At this time students in GA positions will continue to be paid their salary as originally stated,  through the end of their contract date as indicated on the EAF.
    • All GAs should be encouraged to work remotely through the last day of their contracted work dates. For some students this date will be May 9, 2020; for other students, the contract dates will differ, ranging anywhere from early May to the end of August, 2020. In all cases, the actual end of the contract date should be honored.
    • Direct supervisors for GAs should assist with the transfer of previous duties to remote delivery whenever possible, or for appropriate social distancing when available and meeting university research guidelines
  • If there is nothing from their previous duties that can be completed remotely or within current guidelines, supervisors are encouraged to work with students to identify other meaningful work that can meet social distancing requirements. For example, students may be able to remotely work on literature reviews, data analysis, planning, article writing, preparation of new projects, etc.
  • If or when there is no meaningful work available, the direct supervisor, working closely with their unit director, should explore the possibility of reassignment. If reassignment is possible, and there is a change in the majority job duties and/or the direct supervisor, then a revised EAF should be submitted to change the job title to reflect the majority duties and or supervisor name. Supervisors and unit directors are encouraged to first explore possible reassignment options within their own units and then colleges for acceptable transfer positions.   If no local solution is available, the Graduate College will serve as a central location to assist with reassignment needs. Supervisors should contact Kristen DeBoer at gradassistant@boisestate.edu should they determine a reassignment is required and need assistance with finding a placement.
  • Please note that this guidance is subject to change as circumstances continue to evolve.

Graduate Assistants (GAs) supported by EXTERNAL Funding

  • Principle Investigators should reach out to their program managers to discuss what is possible regarding funding for graduate students. For example, students might be able to be assigned to other meaningful work that can meet social distancing requirements, such as working on literature reviews, data analysis, writing an article, preparation of new projects, etc. Funding agencies have each established their own guidelines, which should provide direction for student support.  Please contact Harold Blackman with any questions.

Are temporary 5000 PCN Classified Employees still limited to 1,350 hours of work?

No, DHR recently waived the rule for Temporary Appointments that are limited to 1,385 hours. Effective immediately, there are no limits on the number of hours or the number of months a 5000 PCN Classified employee can work.

Do I need to fill out a Telecommute Form if I work remotely?

Yes, employees working remotely in the State of Idaho will need to complete the COVID- 19 Telecommute Form. If you are working remotely outside the State of Idaho this form is required.

How does the hiring freeze affect my current job posting, can I still conduct interviews

With the safety of our students and staff in mind, we are implementing a hiring freeze effective immediately. Exceptions to the freeze must be approved by your division Vice President. It is recommended that all searches currently in progress be discontinued. Learn more on the COVID-19 Hiring Freeze FAQs page. 

Because it is unknown when we return to normal operations on campus, we will update campus as soon as we feel it is safe to resume hiring efforts.

What are the rules for working on campus?

Effective March 19, 2020 all facilities are closed to the general public, including the Student Union Building and the Albertsons Library, and requiring ID cards for access across campus.

The university is asking employees to work remotely at this time. For those who come to campus, your department must have a safety plan on file and comply with the current requirements for being on campus.

How do I work remotely?

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has resources for working remotely. Employees working remotely in the State of Idaho will need to complete the COVID- 19 Telecommute Form.

If you choose to take home any office equipment note which items you take home on the Office Equiment Tracking Form. 

Human Resources is working on some best practices and tips for working from home. Stay tuned as we make this available to you.

Is the Human Resources office open?

No, we are not open at this time, however we are available and monitoring email and voice mail. We encourage email as a primary way to communicate. You can email us at hrs@boisestate.

I receive a paper check, where can I pick it up?

Effective Friday, March 20th, all paper checks are mailed to the home address listed in PeopleSoft. Checks will be mailed the Thursday prior to each payday. Please make sure to verify your home address and make any corrections necessary in employee self-service to ensure you receive your paycheck on time.  If you have not already, you can sign up for direct deposit on employee self-service or by completing a paper form and submitting it to Payroll via email, fax, or interoffice mail to mail stop 1265. Lost or expired checks could incur a fee of up to $15.00 for reprocessing

What do I put on my voicemail/vacation setting auto response?

  • You can send your voicemail to your email by submitting a ticket to the helpdesk.
  • Please do not provide personal or medical information on vacation settings in email or in your voicemail message. 

Phone Example:  Hello, you’ve reached **********. Thank you for your call. I am currently working remotely. The fastest way to contact me is via email. You can email me at *********@Boisestate.edu. Thank you and I will be in touch shortly. 

Vacation Setting Example: Hello, thank you for your email. I am currently working remotely and could be slow to respond. Thank you for your patience with me at this time.

What if my employee is showing signs of sickness?

  • They should self-quarantine until they feel better and are asymptomatic.
    • Without a positive test, the 14 day “stay at home” guidance should apply just to be safe in suspected cases. 
  • Discuss work from home options, see the “How do I work remotely?” section.  
  • For leave options review the section “How do I use my available leave OR I don’t have any leave what do I do?

I just got hired and need to do my I-9, can I do it remotely?

Yes, click here for information on completing your I-9. 

How do I meet with someone to talk about my retirement plans?

Human Resources is still available to discuss your retirement, please email benefits@boisestate.edu to arrange a phone call or virtual meeting.

If I lose my job because of Coronavirus am I eligible for unemployment?

Make sure to check the State Department of Labor for guidelines on unemployment and how to file a claim.

Can Boise State University student employees file for unemployment if they lose their jobs due to COVID-19?

Any employee can file a claim as long as they are no longer working, or their work hours are reduced through no fault of their own. However, student employees, including graduate students, may not be eligible for unemployment for their work at the University as they are exempt from unemployment insurance taxes, therefore not eligible for benefits.  Individuals are encouraged to file for unemployment through the Idaho Department of Labor to see if they are eligible.   

Things to note:

  • When filing for unemployment, the individual will be asked if their employer intends to rehire them.
    • Answering yes, with the intent to return to work within 16 weeks from reduction or hours, is referred to as “employer attached,” which exempts the filer from pursuing employment opportunities while laid off and collecting benefits.
  • A student who has worked for another employer in Idaho, other than Boise State, can file a claim and may be eligible for unemployment benefits. For example, if a student worked for a local business and lost their job, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Please see below on how to file a claim for unemployment benefits.
  • If an individual is filing a claim against an Idaho employer (i.e. Boise State University), but has moved back to another state, they may also file a claim online at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal.

For other answers and information about unemployment, contact the Idaho Department of Labor or visit their Questions and Answers webpage.

Can I work remotely if I am on an employment visa?

J1 Scholars and TN visa holders may be eligible to temporarily work remotely under these unprecedented times. 

  • Employees should also consult with the Tax Reporting Office at taxreporting@boisestate.edu before working remotely from outside the U.S.
  • Employees who are working in OPT or STEM OPT should contact a DSO at their home university for guidance and support in updating their SEVIS records with remote worksite information. 

Employees in H1B status should contact the Center for Global Education (globalscholars@boisestate.edu) if they plan to work from outside the Boise area (more than 1-hour drive from campus).

I am on an employment visa and I have plans to leave the U.S. What should I do about my travel plans?

It is uncertain how long travel to and from the U.S. will be impacted. Be sure to check travel advisories and entry requirements for your home country too. Also, if you need a new visa to return to the U.S. then please keep in mind that the U.S. State Department has closed visa offices at all U.S. Embassies and U.S. Consulates.  This could make it quite difficult to get a timely visa appointment to return to the U.S. We encourage you to review Embassy websites for updated information on reopening and visa appointments. If you have questions about travel or plan to work from outside the U.S. then please contact the Center for Global Education for additional guidance (globalscholars@boisestate.edu). 

Is cross-parking allowed for the time being while remote instruction is being done?

Cross parking is allowed while campus is under reduced operations. This will be reevaluated on April 15.

How do I stay calm with all that’s going on?

Your dedicated Human Resources team has a collection of articles and resources to help our campus community with the stress and confusion at this time. (Check back often as we will continue to update this page).

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