COVID-19 Employee Assistance

The information below provides guidance for employee and HR matters related to College operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are guidelines and instructions that have been put in place based on current conditions. Please visit this site regularly as we will continue to update information as conditions arise and change.

For additional information, we encourage you to visit the College’s COVID-19 webpage Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19: What You Need to Knownew window.

Vulnerable Population Information

When the College is ready to return some operations and services onsite to the campuses and other work locations, we anticipate that there will be some employees who will be concerned about returning to campus because they or a household member have conditions that make them vulnerable and at high risk for serious illness due to COVID-19.  

Employees may wish to request a “work adjustment” to their normal work conditions or schedule. A work adjustment is a modification of an employee’s normal job duties to allow that individual to remain in remote status.  This may include being assigned different tasks or duties, reassigned to a different department or unit through the Talent Share Programnew window, or temporarily placed on administrative leave.  Because each employee’s circumstances and job duties will vary, decisions and requirements regarding work adjustments will be made on a case-by case-basis.

To submit a request for work adjustment consideration, please complete the Vulnerable Population Work Adjustment Requestnew window form.  As part of this process, you will be required to submit a COVID-19 Work Adjustment Request Medical Certification Form (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)  or written explanation on letterhead from your medical provider or your household member’s medical provider. This documentation certifies that you or your household member meet the criteria for being vulnerable and at high risk.  Details regarding any underlying medical conditions are not required and should not be provided as part of this process.  Please be assured that any medical certifications provided will remain confidential and will be reviewed for approval by Rowena D’Souza, the College’s employee HIPAA privacy official and coordinator for employee ADA accommodations.

The guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding the criteria and conditions for high risk is constantly evolving as medical professionals learn more about the COVID-19 virus.  We encourage employees to refer to the most recent CDC guidelines for who is at high risk: people with medical conditionsnew window.  

If the risk is related to a medical condition, you must submit medical documentation from your healthcare provider. You are encouraged to use COVID-19 Work Adjustment Request Medical Certification Form (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) or can ask for your physician to write an explanation on letterhead to be sent to covidvulnerable@montgomerycollege.edu or faxed to 240-567-4431.

If the risk is related to a medical condition, you must submit medical documentation from your healthcare provider. You are encouraged to use COVID-19 Work Adjustment Request Medical Certification Form (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) or can ask for your physician to write an explanation on letterhead to be sent to covidvulnerable@montgomerycollege.edu or faxed to 240-567-4431.

FAQ's

Employees are being paid their normal wages for 40-hour workweeks, regardless of the hours worked. However, while they are paid for this time, the expectation is that they are available to work the full 40 hours, whether they do or not. Essentially, even if they are not scheduled to work, they are “on call” as needed. Consequently, if an employee is not available for a certain day or shift, they must use the appropriate leave for the situation (i.e.-annual leave, personal leave).

If you believe you’ve been exposed, please notify public safety immediately @ publicsafety@montgomerycollege.edu. 

The Faculty Staff Assistance Programnew window is a free, confidential resource and it’s a great place to get direction on dealing with all types of stress, work-related or otherwise.

Yes, if you are not available to work on a day, a shift, or part of one, you need to report the appropriate leave whether you are scheduled to report for duty or not. Usually, when you are not scheduled to work you would report ADMIN leave. However, during that time, you are expected to be available to work the appropriate part of your 40-hour workweek. Even if you aren’t scheduled, you may be called in. If you aren’t available to report for duty (even as called in), then you need to report the appropriate leave (i.e.-annual leave, personal leave).

 

Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (FFCRA) effective April 1, 2020, which required certain employers to provide eligible employees with emergency paid sick leave benefits and/or expanded family leave benefits for certain, specific reasons related to contracting COVID-19, quarantining because of it, or caring for a family member with it. The FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020 and Congress has declined to extend the leave benefits required under the FFCRA beyond December 31, 2020.

Based on this change, the College has modified the COVID-19-related leave provisions. As of January 1, 2021, FFCRA sick leave and FMLA extensions are no longer available for all College benefits-eligible employees who accrue or are granted paid sick and other types of leave. The College’s robust leave program for benefited employees continues to offer employees multiple options to address the need for leave, even without the FFCRA.

The College will voluntarily extend the types of paid leave authorized under FFCRA through March 31, 2021 for part-time faculty, casual temporary staff, and student workers.

Part-time faculty, casual temporary and student workers, are expected to be available to work, whether performing their usual duties, temporarily assigned duties, or awaiting a possible assignment of duties. Those who are unable to work for any reason should consult with their supervisor for use of leave – which may be paid or unpaid, depending on eligibility. Part-time faculty, casual temporary and student workers who are not eligible for leave and are unable or unwilling to accept an assignment of duties will not be paid and should not report any hours worked on their timesheets.

Part-time faculty, casual temporary staff and student workers who are unable to do their jobs (or most of their jobs) remotely, the College may reassign different tasks or projects to you on a temporary basis while remote operations remain in effect. With the move to remote operations, some offices and units of the College have experienced slow-downs, while others have seen a dramatic increase in volume. HRSTM is working with unit administrators to better balance workloads, and to temporarily reallocate staff with relevant skills sets to the new areas of need.

For non-COVID-related circumstances, the College’s Leave Policy will resume as usual. College employees will accrue and be able to use the various types of leave afforded to them for the usual reasons via the usual approval process. See Policy and Procedure 35003 (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) for regular use of leave.

Under the FFCRA, the College provides the following leave options for part-time faculty, casusal temporary staff and student workers:

COVID-19 Related Paid Sick Leave

Learn about how the College is providing part-time faculty, casual temporary staff and student workers with paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons.

For COVID-related circumstances, the College is providing part-time faculty, casual temporary staff and student workers with paid sick leave if an employee is unable to work or telework for any of the following six specific COVID-related reasons:

  1. Employee is quarantined by the government because of COVID-19;
  2. Employee has been directed to self-quarantine by health care provider because of COVID-19;
  3. Employee has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking diagnosis;
  4. Employee is caring for an individual who is under a government- or self-quarantine because of COVID-19;
  5. Employee must care for a child because the child’s school is closed due to COVID-19 or childcare is unavailable because of COVID-19; or
  6. Employee is experiencing a “substantially similar” condition as defined by the federal Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the Department of Labor.

Part time employees are eligible for the average number of hours worked over a two-week period (e.g., if an employee regularly works 25 hours/week, then that employee is eligible for 50 hours of such leave). This leave is in addition to all other leave allowances or accruals from the College.

Availability of this paid sick leave begins on January 1, 2021, and expires March 31, 2021. Any unused COVID-19 sick leave will not be paid out upon separation. Upon completion of request, additional documentation may be requested.

Request Leave
Family and Medical Leave for COVID-19

The following qualifying events have been added to the existing FMLA coverage for part-time faculty, casual temporary staff, and student workers.

The College voluntarily extended the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for part-time faculty, casual temporary staff, and student workers to include the following two qualifying events to existing FMLA coverage: care for a child 18 or younger if:

  • the school or place of care has closed due for COVID-19 related reasons, or
  • the child care provider is unavailable due for COVID-19 related reasons.

In these circumstances, the first 10 days of FMLA leave (2 weeks) may be unpaid, although the employee (not the College, as in regular FMLA uses) may choose to use other paid leave concurrently. After ten days, the College is required to provide paid FMLA leave up to ten weeks at a rate of 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of compensation, capped at $10,000 in the aggregate.

Note that the FMLA expansion does not add to the total of 12 weeks of existing FMLA leave, so if an employee has already used some or all of his/her FMLA leave, then s/he is not entitled to more (unlike the paid sick leave above).

Any employee who has worked for the College for at least 30 days is eligible for COVID-related FMLA leave.

Availability of this expanded FMLA leave begins on January 1, 2021, and expires March 31, 2021. Upon completion of request, additional documentation may be requested.

Request Leave

The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP)new window is a free service designed to confidentially help you and all members of your family with life issues and situations where professional guidance may be helpful. To use this free and confidential service, simply call ComPsych at any time at 1-844-236-2668. A member of the FSAP professional team will answer your call promptly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Use code MCC to log in and create an account.

 

When you contact ComPsych, please use the Company ID: MCC. Deaf or Hard of Hearing? Dial 1-800-697-0353.
For information specific to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company has set up a Crisis Portalnew window that contains links to evolving events and resources. .

This site does not require a log-in or registration.

  • Features web versions of the most relevant and popular Help Sheets that are regularly updated.
  • Coping with a Traumatic Event (Common Responses to Tragedy, PTSD).

CoronaVirus U.S. Digital Toolkitnew window

When and how to get tested for COVID-19
Telemedicine

Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical health care from a distance. Upon recommendation by the CDC, the college encourages you to use the telemedicine services provided by your health insurance company rather than visiting a doctor's office when appropriate to limit potential exposure to the COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus. Telemedicine programs can assist by providing clarity to the situation and aid the you with determining next steps. Often treatments can be delivered via the phone or computer. Your doctor will be able to assess whether you need to come in for testing or can be treated at home. This minimizes the risk of infecting others in the office waiting room or getting infected yourself.

Cigna on-line doctor (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)
Cigna Telehealth (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)
Kaiser Care (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)
Kaiser Video Visit (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)

Updates from the College's Health Plans

Cigna is closely monitoring the Coronavirus outbreak and have put together resources, information, and helpful links to keep you up-to-date and informed. Find out more in their Disaster Resource Center.

Your Prescription Coverage with CVS

The spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to make headlines and cause plan members uncertainty and anxiety. Under the circumstances, refilling medications is a wise precaution. We want to help you ensure employees have access to needed medications, including in emergency situations. CVS Health is taking steps to care for our employees and help them stay adherent during this outbreak.

What is New from CVS:

Relaxing Refill Restrictions
Waiving early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions for maintenance medications at any in-network pharmacy. Relaxing refill-too-soon limitations allows members to obtain maintenance medication prescriptions ahead of their normal fill schedule. This applies to all commercial and any EGWP plans that have opted to implement the refill-too-soon override. This is being enacted for all clients who have opted in to the Submission Clarification Code 13 (SCC-13). The 30-day early fill override is a temporary process in effect for the current COVID-19 emergency situation. Montgomery College is opted into this override for emergencies. This is in compliance with the state of Maryland Emergency Bulletin.

Refill Maintenance Medications as soon as possible
Access to needed medication is important to you and your family during the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. We strongly recommend that members who have long-term maintenance medications refill eligible maintenance prescriptions.

Montgomery College has a 90-day prescription benefit for maintenance medications and the option of home delivery from CVS Caremark Mail Service pharmacy with no delivery cost.

Free Home Delivery from CVS Pharmacy
Beginning immediately, CVS Pharmacy will waive charges for home delivery of all prescription medications. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging people at higher risk for COVID-19 complications to stay at home as much as possible, this is a convenient option to avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new maintenance prescriptions.

The Best Practices for Staying Healthy and Avoiding a Virus -- Practice these tried-and-true methods recommended by the CDC and health professionals to prevent the risk of infection. The following are a few items that you may find helpful in regard to COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When you sneeze, cover your nose and mouth.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and objects such as a phone or shared work station that could be contaminated with germs after use.
  • If you have cold-like symptoms, please remain at home while you are sick as a courtesy to your co-workers and others.
  • Practice healthy habits by aiming for the recommended eight hours of sleep, drinking plenty of fluids and eating a well-balanced diet.

These websites provide a lot of great information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)new window, the World Health Organizationnew window and CVS Healthnew window. For additional questions regarding CVS health view CVS FAQ's (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) .

Testing and costs:
Kaiser Permanente has the ability to have their patients tested for COVID-19. If testing is warranted, they will make the appropriate arrangements. Member of Kaiser Permanente will not have to pay for costs related to COVID-19 screening or testing. Kaiser Permanente supports that cost should not be a barrier to screening or testing for thier members who may have been affected by this virus. Kaiser Permanente will not charge member cost-sharing (including, but not limited to, co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance) for all medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19. This policy applies to the cost of the visit, associated lab tests, and radiology services at our hospital, emergency department, urgent care, and provider offices where the purpose of the visit is to be screened and/or tested for COVID-19.

Prescriptions:
It’s a good idea to fill prescriptions through the mail order service, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak, not only because you can avoid standing in line at the pharmacy but also because with most prescriptions you can get 3 months’ supply for the price of 2 months. Sign up and receive your medications in about 3-5 business days. For urgent prescriptions, you should visit your closest Kaiser Permanente medical center pharmacy.

Additional Resources

Visit Kaiser Permanente for Montgomery Collegenew window for additional information.

Flexible Spending Accounts

Benefits Assistance has extended the claims filing deadline for 2019 flexible spending account claims to June 30, 2020. This would be for claims incurred (spent) on or before December 31, 2019 and applies to Healthcare, Dependent Care, and Limited Healthcare flexible accounts.

The CARES Act permanently reinstates coverage of Over the Counter (OTC) drugs and medicines as items eligible for reimbursement under Code 213(d) expenses in FSA, HRA, and HSA plans. With this new law, the drugs and medicines will no longer require participants to have a prescription to prove eligibility. In addition to the reinstatement of OTC eligibility, the bill expands the eligible OTC definition to include menstrual care products. This change is retroactive and effective for expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2020.

It is recommend that participants log in to their online portal or use the mobile app to:

  • File claims
  • Make electronic premium payments
  • View plan detail

Visit Benefit Strategiesnew window for the latest information.

Cigna Members

Cigna members log into MyCignanew window for wellness tips and activities

Fitness: Daily Burn

Cigna customers can access Daily Burn’s online video library of over 1,000 workouts for 60 days (vs 30 days) for a free trial and then a reduced subscription of $14.95. Daily Burn is a great online “fitness center” and creates a great substitute to allow people to stay active even if they can't leave their home. Customers sign up via myCigna.com and link into Daily Burns website. As always, they will enroll with their credit card and no fees hit their card until after 60 days. The 60 day offer will be available until April 20, 2020 and then revert back to the 30 day trial on myCigna.

To access: myCigna > Wellness Tab > Healthy Rewards Discounts > Exercise & Fitness Tab

Mental Health Support

The Behavioral Health program includes services to help manage life events; 3 face-to-face visits with a licensed mental health professional in Cigna’s EAP network, Virtual Care visits through MDLive, free veteran support line, first responder support, and lifestyle management coaching. We also have the two mental health programs for those wanting to be able to access some mobile app solutions:

iPrevailnew window: Clinician-designed stress management therapeutics platform, interactive video lessons, and one-on-one coaching (see attached flyer). Wellness & Incentives

Happify Healthnew window: Science-based activities and games on a website and mobile app to overcome negative thoughts and stress and more than 300 guided meditations.

To access: myCigna > Wellness Tab > Health Topics & Resources > Stress & Emotional Resources > Happify tile or the iPrevail tile

Mom's Meals

Mom's Meals is a leading nationwide provider of refrigerated, affordable meals delivered right to your home. Shipping is free for yourself or an Aging Family Member. Whether you have special dietary needs or are simply trying to manage your current healthy weight, Mom's Meals is sure to deliver.

To access a partnership with Mom’s Meals: myCigna > Wellness Tab > Healthy Rewards – Discount Program > Weight & Nutrition

Kaiser members can access services and tools by visiting My Kaisernew window

The following provides employees and supervisors guidance relating to the cancellation of professional development events for which employees have paid for registration and/or travel expenses out-of-pocket or for which payment has been made directly to a vendor for registration.

Employees who have pre-paid for a work-related trip using their Educational Assistance Plan (EAP) allowance should contact: EAPRequests@montgomerycollege.edu. (This e-mail box is regularly monitored by the Benefits team.)  For instances in which the travel was supported using department funds, employees should contact their department/unit account manager or administrative aide.

If College EAP funds were requested and used to pre-pay a registration, please contact the conference or event sponsor and request a refund to be made payable to Montgomery College. Then, please notify EAP Request that a refund check has been sent.  If a check is received, please forward it to EAP request c/o HRSTM. Please note that if the conference sponsor is offering a choice of a refund or “credit” (deferral) for a future event, employees must request a refund.  If a check is refunded but made payable to the employee, the employee should deposit it and send a check back, payable to Montgomery College.

If employee personal funds were used to pre-pay for travel expenses and an EAP request for travel funds has been processed, immediately contact the airline and hotel to cancel the flight and reservations. Then, please notify HRSTM at EAP Request. The College will reimburse the employee for airfare, cancellation fees, and hotel deposits not refunded by the airline or hotel. Please submit any and all correspondence received related to the refund requests. If the airline will not issue a refund but instead is offering a travel credit, the College will still reimburse the employee with proper documentation (email or mail proof of the refund request with the airline response). However, the College will require that any such credits for future airline travel and/or hotel stays may be used toward future travel requests through use of EAP and/or department funds.  Benefits staff are tracking refunds

Timeframe for Reimbursement
The Offices of HRSTM and OBS are committed to reimbursing College employees as quickly as possible. However, we do expect that there may be some delay as we are not operating under normal circumstances. At this time, we estimate that refunds will be processed and issued in at least a two-weeks. We ask for understanding and patience as we adapt to a remote and virtual approach to working and delivering services.

EAP Requests for Summer 2020
Please submit requests for upcoming summer classes and conferences/seminars electronically, along with registration forms or receipts, to EAP Requests. Supervisors may approve requests using electronic signatures. If a supervisor is unable to use an electronic signature, the completed form should be sent from the supervisor’s College email address with a message in the body indicating their approval. This will be accepted in lieu of a signature as proof of supervisor approval. HRSTM will continue to process requests as long as EAP funds remain.

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