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Frequently Asked Questions

Expanded Telework

The FAQs were originally posted on Monday, March 16. Updates and additions are noted on individual questions.

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) reflect American University’s current policies and resources regarding the expanded telework environment.

The expanded telework status is currently scheduled to begin on Monday, March 16 and continue through Sunday, April 5, 2020. The timetable will be evaluated based on the evolving COVID-19 situation and updates will be provided as needed.


 

Why has American University transitioned to an expanded telework environment?

The university is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. A key purpose of moving to an expanded telework environment is to enhance social distancing and reduce the potential for transmission or spread of COVID-19, both to and from our community, while continuing to operate and provide necessary services on campus with limitations. 

Who is teleworking?

Each department has designated staff into three categories:

  • Category 1: Employees who fall into the higher risk categories identified by the CDC were encouraged to self-identify themselves to HR Employee Relations at employeerelations@american.edu and were able to begin teleworking on Thursday, March 12th.  
  • Category 2: Staff whose presence is required on campus on a full-time or intermittent basis with some teleworking possible.
  • Category 3: All other staff fall into this category and begin teleworking on March 16th through April 5th. This includes full-time and part-time staff, and student workers who may be able to perform their work functions from a remote office. Employees in this category are expected to telework through April 5.

Staff may be shifted among categories during the period through April 5, and will be notified by their managers if shifts are necessary.

Who is eligible for temporary, alternative teleworking opportunities?

Temporary, alternative work opportunities will be available for staff and students who are not required to be physically present on campus but whose work cannot be completed remotely. These opportunities are only available for current staff and students who are unable to work in their normal capacity due to their primary duties not aligning with the expanded telework period. These opportunities will be posted on the AU Portal’s AsuccessfulU Career tab for staff and on the AU Student Career Page for students.

Note: Some staff may need to successfully complete a background check if they will be working in a temporary position where it is required, and they have not completed one to date.    

How can I learn my designation?

Supervisors are expected to communicate each employee’s designation to them. If you have not heard about your designation, please contact your departmental HR Representative or your supervisor to learn of your designation. Each individual who will be teleworking must complete a temporary telework agreement, and please complete it and submit it to your HR Representative.

Can I begin to telework without an approved temporary telework agreement?

Individuals who have been designated for telework (category 3) should begin to telework on Monday, March 16 rather than report to their office on campus. As the HR Representative for your unit process the telework agreements, there may be some delay in processing the telework at the beginning of the week of March 16. If you have been designated for telework (category 3) and have not filled out a temporary telework agreement, please complete it and submit it to your HR Representative.

Will HR provide guidance on work expectations during the extended telework period?

Yes, please discuss the Guidelines for Expanded Telework with your supervisor.  In order to ensure the continuity of university services, it is critical that AU staff and supervisors implement these best practices  during the expanded telework period. Employees who are teleworking are expected to be fully engaged with their duties while working remotely.

How do I record time on my time sheet or leave report if I am teleworking from home?

You are still working, just from an alternate location. Follow the same policies as if you were working in the office. This includes notifying your supervisor if you are ill or wish to request time off.

Will AU pay for my phone, internet, or other bills if I telework?

The university will not pay for your personal phone, internet or other bills associated with teleworking. If you currently do not have the resources necessary to work from home, discuss with your manager alternate tasks and projects that do not include acquiring new technology or equipment to perform your work.

Are there any options to community members who do not have internet access?

If you do not have internet access but are designated for telework, please work with your manager to determine what your options may be. We suggest that you contact your area internet provider to see if they are offering any discounts on internet services to help during this crisis. As an example, certain vendors, (Comcast and others), may be providing support to individuals in their services areas who currently do not have access to internet services. 

Will we be permitted to return to campus to retrieve needed materials, if necessary?

Yes, you may return to campus on a limited basis for the purposes of retrieving materials you may find you need to do your job from the remote location. Remember to bring your AU ID card with you in case you need to swipe into your building and try to limit your trips to campus and time in your building as much as possible, if you are coming to retrieve needed materials.

How will compensation be handled for those staff who are required to work on campus during this period?

Staff will continue to receive their regular hourly salary or monthly salary during this period of expanded telework. Staff paid on an hourly basis will be eligible for overtime for all hours worked over 40 each week.

How do we ensure continuity of operations during the expanded teleworking period?

Please refer to the Expanded Telework Guide for ways to ensure a most productive period for your unit. Supervisors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their unit’s continuity plan, the teleworking policies, university's communications and the expanded telework FAQs.

How will new hires certify their I-9’s?

Added March 27

I-9 certification has changed temporarily based upon new guidance from the Department of Homeland Security. Effective March 30, 2020 employees/new hires must first contact Chris Rasnick in Employee Relations at crasnick@american.edu to determine how their I-9 will be verified.

  • New hires with a position that require an on-campus presence (e.g., campus police, maintenance technicians) will schedule an in-person appointment to verify the I-9 in person within 3 business days of their start date.
  • New hires with positions that allow for remote work will schedule a videoconference call to verify their I-9 remotely within 3 business days of their start date. Those employees will also be required to submit copies/pictures of their documents by email. When the university resumes a regular on-campus presence, those employees will be required to bring their documents for physical inspection within 3 days.

Please do not to come to the Office of Human Resources if you do not have a scheduled appointment.

Where do I get a temporary telework agreement?

The temporary telework agreement is available as on online form. After the agreement is completed, please route it back to your HR Representative for approval.

I don't have an AU laptop. Am I still expected to telework?

AU’s expectation is that all full-time and part-time staff that are designated for full or partial telework for the expanded telework period will continue to work remotely. Staff should talk with their supervisors about obtaining a laptop from their department. In the alternative, staff may use their personal computer to access university systems and files. Reference OIT's system requirements and policies regarding personal computer use. If neither option is viable, your supervisor may identify assignments on which you can work without technology. You may be asked to assist with other functions. 

Can I use my personal computer to access university systems and files?

Using an AU-issued computer is the best option for teleworking, but you may use your personal computer to connect to the AU network. Your computer needs to meet the system requirements and you must agree to abide by both American University's Computer Use and Copyright Policy, and Information Technology Security Policy.

For more information, reference OIT’s knowledgebase article regarding Requirements for Connecting to AU's Network.

What leave benefits are available to me should I or a family member become ill?

Staff are provided with accrued sick leave to cover absences for their own illness or to care for an ill family member. Full-time staff also have access to a sick leave donation pool in situations in which they do not have enough accrued sick leave to cover their absence. The pool will be available for documented flu or COVID-19 diagnoses.

Full-time staff who have considerable hours built up and would like to help others who may have fewer accumulated sick hours may donate leave to the pool; complete the Leave Share form to donate.

Family Medical Leave provides job protection in cases of continuous or intermittent leave for oneself or to care for a family member.

Short-term disability covers extended periods of leave due to one’s own illness (2 weeks to 6 months in duration). Long-term disability provides salary continuation during periods of disability that extend beyond 6 months.

Part-time staff and student workers are eligible to accrue sick leave benefits for up to 7 days per calendar year if they are enrolled as full-time students and work 25 hours per week or more. 

How do I donate to the leave donation pool?

Added March 20, 2020

Full-time staff and Librarians may donate annual (vacation) and/or sick leave to employees in need (minimum donation is seven hours). The maximum amount that an employee may donate in a calendar year is limited to 70 hours.

To donate annual and/or sick leave, complete the leave donation form, include the amount of annual and/or sick leave you will donate, and email your form to hrpayrollhelp@american.edu. Human Resources will confirm receipt of your request and the amount of annual leave that will be donated.

Check your available annual and sick leave balances on your time sheet or leave report, located on the myAU portal. You may access the Leave Share Policy on the university's policies website.

Am I required to provide HR with a doctor’s note in order to use sick leave benefits?

We will generally not require a doctor’s note from an employee who uses sick leave at this time. You will need to provide a doctor’s note to Employee Relations if you are requesting donated sick leave.

Can I still use my remitted tuition for courses now that they have moved online?

Tuition remission will continue to cover the courses that have been approved for tuition remission benefits.

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Please contact us with your questions and comments.

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