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FAQs for Managers, Leaders and Employees

The TCU experience is built on the great work done by employees every day, serving students and colleagues in person. Unless stated in a job description, most TCU positions are not designed to be conducted remotely. TCU continues to prioritize the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff and we have taken steps to ensure a safe campus and a connected community. For concerns about the health and safety of a specific workspace, discuss with a manager or supervisor or contact the appropriate professional in Facility Services.

No.  Intermittent FMLA is not used to work remotely. Intermittent FMLA is used when a person is undergoing treatment or has an ongoing medical issue that requires flexibility to periodically take time off to manage those treatments or issues.

If you have a recognized disability confirmed by a medical professional, you may apply for ADA.  If you, or an immediate family member, have a medical issue, you may be able to apply for FMLA. If you have a medical or mental health situation, including severe anxiety about the pandemic that can be confirmed by a medical professional, you may be eligible for FMLA or ADA.  Please contact HR for additional information.

No. When taking leave for surgery or another medical issue, you may request FMLA or use your own accrued leave to remain in a paid status. COVID 480 exists for leave specifically associated with COVID-19.

A change in your work schedule is a job modification.  HR does not determine if a job modification is appropriate.  The request for a job modification or change in the work schedule should be discussed and agreed upon with the college/department supervisor.

No, the COVID 480 leave may only be used once.

  • Review your department’s business continuity and contingency plans. 
  • Identify all critical business operations and designate and inform the responsible individuals and those on backup. 
  • Maintain updated emergency contact lists. 
  • Provide remote-working options and adjusted job duties for employees as needed. 
  • Support employees who are working remotely by sharing resources and keeping them informed of training and other opportunities. 
  • For employees who may need ADA accommodations that weren’t needed prior to COVID-19, refer to the Return to Campus – Phase 2 – FMLA and ADA  email communication.
  • Explain the steps employees can take to protect themselves and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. This information can be found on the CDC’s website. 
  • Plan in advance for the possibility of increased employee absences. 
  • Stay informed of TCU’s communications related to COVID-19, the latest public health information released by the CDC and state, county and local public health officials. 

It is important to ask specific questions to learn more about the employee’s personal situation.  The supervisor should keep the operational business needs in mind but be open to the individual needs.  

As the leader, you have the prerogative to determine the work schedule based on the needs of the department – from a customer support perspective as well as holistically from a staffing perspective. Generally, University office hours have been between 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, but each department’s hours vary depending on the support they provide. Supervisors need to be mindful in complying with policies, while being fair and consistent in developing the work schedule.   

Currently there are specific provisions that provide supplemental leave for the following situations/events:  

  • Care for an immediate family member – employee’s spouse/partner, child or parent – subject to quarantine pursuant to the advice of a health care provider or Federal, State, or local government order; or 
  • Care for a child (under 18 years of age)* whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19; or 
  • Employee tested positive for COVID-19 or told to stay home by a health care provider. 

If the employee’s circumstances are not covered by COVID-19 Leave, the first responsibility as a supervisor is to provide service to those the department serves, while balancing first – the professional needs and secondly – the personal desires – of all employees in the department. Listen, however, for legally-protected matters (ADA/FMLA), e.g. taking self/immediate family member to a medical appointment, and follow-up with Human Resources hrfmla/ADA@tcu.edufor additional support. 

Supervisors need to determine if the employee needs resources/support under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or leave as provided by Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), while minimizing the focus of the communication on the employee’s medical condition. If ADA/FMLA may be applicable, the employee should be referred to Human Resources hrfmla/ada@tcu.edu 

for additional support, which should be coordinated between HR, the employee and the supervisor as additional medical documentation may be required. 

Americans with Disability Association (ADA) does not require an employer to offer remote program to all employees; however, if remote work is offered all employees should have the same opportunity to participate in the program. Decisions should be relevant to the employee’s function and in coordination with Human Resources. Contact hrfmla/ada@tcu.edu with specific questions. 

Privacy of an individual’s medical condition is important to maintain, but still needs to be balanced with supporting the safety and wellness of all members of our campus community. If you learn of potential exposurereport it promptly to your supervisor and Vice Chancellor, Provost or other Executive leader, while minimizing the employee’s interactions with others.  

If an employee inquires about the medical situation of another employee, affirm you need to maintain others’ privacy and then ask the inquiring employee for their specific business needs or concerns. Consider alternative opportunities based on their recommendations to determine a short-term plan to address the immediate concerns until the situation can be fully assessed. 

If an employee’s personal medical condition is considered high risk based on CDC guidelines and extra precautions are requested by the employee, the supervisor may need to assess, in coordination with Human Resources, the appropriate level of support for the individual employee.   

As a manager, you are responsible for setting expectations in your department that align with TCU’s mission to educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community. If individuals on your team refuse to comply with COVID-19 protocols established by TCU, Tarrant County, the State of Texas and the CDC, you have the authority to ask the employee to leave campus. It is important to document the reasons for this request and how the individual refused to comply with safety protocols designed to keep campus, our students and our colleagues safe and healthy during the pandemic. 

If an employee develops COVID-19 symptoms (fever, chills, cough, respiratory issue, etc.) while working, the employee should immediately 

  1. wear a face covering (if not already wearing one);  
  2. notify supervisor by phone (not in person);  
  3. remain in isolation until you are able to leave worksite;  
  4. contact their preferred medical provider.  

Supervisors (or in their absence the employee who was notified) should follow reporting protocol by contacting their appropriate Vice Chancellor, Provost or other Executive leader. 

In keeping with an employer’s general duty to maintain a safe & healthy workplace, the employee may be directed to leave the worksite. A supervisor should use discretion and compassion and be consistent in treating all employees the same. Decisions should not be based on defined protected-classes designations, e.g. race or national origin. 

Employers should not inquire about a specific illness as that could rise to the level of a disability related inquiry under the ADA, but can ask an employee how he or she is feeling in general. As an employee who manages others, if you test positive for COVID-19, you are expected to follow the treatment plan of your doctor, comply with CDC guidelines for quarantining and communicate the expected length of your absence when requesting sick leave approval from your supervisor.  

There is no state or federal law that would prohibit the University from telling employees to stay home if they have had a higher-than-normal degree of exposure to individuals actually infected with the disease.  As noted above, be consistent and do not base self-isolation orders on factors such as race or national origin. 

If an employee is not able to work, the employee’s first priority is their health and they will be covered under supplemental COVID-19 Leave, which may be in coordination with FMLA for qualifying employees. However, some individuals may test positive but remain asymptomatic, the supervisor needs to determine if the employee is able to work remotely. If that is the case, the employee will need complete the remote work agreement and should not report to campus for any reason.  

An employee who tests positive should not report to work for a minimum of 14 calendar days or until released by a medical provider. While the employee is not able to work, the assignments of the employee who tested positive may need to be re-distributed.  

If an employee inquires about the medical situation of another employee, affirm you need to maintain others’ privacy and then ask the inquiring employee for their specific business needs or concerns. Consider alternative opportunities based on their recommendations to determine a short-term plan to address the immediate concerns until the situation can be fully assessed. 

If an employee’s personal medical condition is considered high risk based on CDC guidelines and extra precautions are requested by the employee, the supervisor may need to assess, in coordination with Human Resources, the appropriate level of support for the individual employee. 

Goals previously established will need to be formally reviewed to determine if objectives are still relevant and deadlines are still appropriate. New goals may be re-aligned as an interim measure. Teams need to work with this department/division head to ensure priorities are defined with measurable outcomes.

Regardless of position or industry, many people find themselves needing to learn new skills or strengthen existing ones at this time. Visit the TCU Human Resources Keep Learning page for a collection of free or low cost resource including a variety of free online courses. You may not be the only one with a certain training need. For this reason, consider contacting HRTraining@tcu.edu to ask. This team is skilled at designing new development offerings or can access a wide network of internal and external subject matter experts on behalf of the entire TCU employee community. 

First things first, if your team is struggling with work/life integration, it’s valuable to establish clear boundaries for and with them. This can include setting remote office hours that align with normal expectations if the team was all working from campus.

Another important step is working together as a team to clarify the difference between what’s important and what’s urgent–in other words, prioritize the priorities. With information coming fast from all directions, and very few completed circles, this process can help your team simplify information overload and task clutter. Treat to-do lists as moving targets instead of patient check lists.

Financial incentives aren’t the only tool to motivate people. Work together with your team members to find out what motivates them. Maybe one needs more flexibility-they want to start their day early so they can leave the office (whether working remotely or on campus) early for personal reasons. Maybe another is looking for professional development opportunities or cross-training in other departments at TCU.

Encourage team members to reach out to colleagues to explore doing a professional rotation. The EEOS team has experience facilitating this type of partnership. Others might thrive having stretch assignments that will allow them to learn or apply more challenging skills or ways of thinking. If you have a team member who wants to build supervision skills, but their position or your office reporting lines don’t have those opportunities, find ways for them to supervise student interns or graduate students-it’s a win-win for strengthening the workforce!

For teams where people have specialized roles, consider cross training amongst the group. This can be highly rewarding for everyone involved as well as future-proof your team when people take time off, while also building a succession pipeline when people leave your department to pursue new opportunities on their own career path. 

While many searches are on hold, hiring supervisors should work with Vice Chancellors or the Provost to determine departmental needs, evaluate requests and determine next steps. 

Remember blowing out candles and sharing birthday cake pre-COVID-19? For obvious reasons, this previously fun and benign activity is temporarily off-limits. While physical distancing can make normal celebratory events feel awkward, there are ways to acknowledge accomplishments and special events in person and through virtual meetings. 

Meaningful ways to bring your team together include virtual office celebrationscreative employee appreciation ideas (many of which can be transformed using virtual platforms like surprise Zoom birthday bombs inviting party goers from across campus or creating a Zoom background to a photo of an employee you want to appreciate). While Zoom Happy Hours (after 5) are fun with friends, it’s important to avoid using these types of gatherings for your work team because many don’t use alcohol as a way to celebrate.  

For work teams that decide on a hybrid model of work from home/work from office, set shared expectations and rules of engagement from the start. The best way to do this is to learn from individuals and companies that went hybrid prior to the COVID-19 disruption. 

If your team used to circulate cards for special occasions, consider using virtual Group Greeting CardsLater this summer, HR’s EEOS team will launch campus-wide access to Workhuman, an interactive platform for community celebrations using 1:1 conversations, micro-videos to acknowledge accomplishments, life events and gratitudes. 

Gift giving is a love language leaders often overlook. Sometimes, what your team needs most is a small token of acknowledgment that you “get them.” While your department budget might not support a lot, perhaps your own bank account can cover the gap. Send chocolatepie or a meal. If you’ve got time, write and mail notes or find unique, personal and affordable mementos that reflect personal connections to each individual on your team. 

TCU’s Office of Campus Planning can assist you with space planning decisions. Contact Jack Washington at jack.washington@tcu.edu.

 

 

TCU’s Office of Campus Planning can assist you with space planning decisions. Contact Jack Washington at jack.washington@tcu.edu.

When it comes to staggering schedules for employees, what works in one office may not work in another due to what role an office serves on campus and how their core business is delivered to end users. Start by determining how your team will cover the daily hours necessary for your office to fulfill its mission on campus. While students remain off campus, offices have found ways to rotate employees by days (for example, dividing the team into M/W or T/T and rotating Fridays) or weeks (for example, one team works on campus one week, the other works remotely, then switching the following week).  

There are great resources on best practices when using Zoom for team meetings here. If you want to set or reset etiquette and expectations for your team, work together to establish “rules of engagement” that apply both in person and virtually. For Zoom, these can include expectations about attire (does casual mean weekend casual or business casual?), using virtual backgrounds or not, communication tools (raising hands, waving, using a visual emoji, taking turns using chat, etc.). In person, these expectations may be very different-for example, office attire is often driven by your role, your office‘s purpose at TCU or who you’re interacting with on a regular basis. As a manager or supervisor, creating space for people to share and set mutual expectations up front will minimize frustration and misinterpretation later on. A great place to start includes setting expectations for yourself as your team’s leader and advocate. 

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