Pay and Benefits

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Due to Governor Phil Scott’s March 24 order that all non-essential workers stay home, we are requiring all employees to remain at home unless you must be on campus to fulfill essential functions of the College.

Among Middlebury’s essential functions that must continue—and may require the presence of employees on campus—are:

  • Health Center operations
  • Public Safety activities
  • Facilities Services, including custodial, plant, and other maintenance roles
  • Dining Services
  • Residential Life
  • Information Technology support for our network and infrastructure
  • Faculty and staff providing instruction and/or supporting remote teaching and learning that must be done on campus

Telework is an option for employees in jobs where it is viable based on individual circumstances. For example, the type of work, the availability of work, the availability of laptops or other equipment, stable internet connectivity at the employee’s home, etc. HR has developed a special expedited telecommuting approval process. Click here for additional information of teleworking guidelines, telework agreement, and IT resources to support working from home.

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Employees who are eligible for Middlebury’s COVID-19 pay bank should use those hours to continue getting paid if they are not able to work on campus or at home during this period. Details about the pay bank and eligibility can be found here.

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Middlebury has created a new “pay bank” to support staff with COVID-19-related challenges.

Each full-time, benefits-eligible staff member has a pay bank of 168 hours—the equivalent of 21 eight-hour days. Balances for part-time, benefits-eligible staff will be prorated according to their FTE. Entry for this new form of paid time off is the same as CTO or SLR. It will be present on your timecard with the code C19.

This pay bank is available on timesheets as of March 23, for the Institute (for use in pay period 7, March 16 – March 29) and March 24, for the College (for use in pay period 8, March 23 – April 5).

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Full-time and part-time benefits-eligible staff may use the pay bank. Full-time staff will receive 168 hours, the equivalent of 21 eight-hour days. Balances for part-time, benefits-eligible staff will be prorated according to their FTE. Entry for this new form of paid time off is the same as CTO or SLR. It will be present on your timecard with the code C19. More details can be found here.

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Employees may use the COVID-19 pay bank for issues related to the pandemic that prevent them from working, including self-isolation, quarantine, school closure, work reduction (due to COVID-19).

For benefits-eligible employees, if for any reason related to COVID-19 you are unable to complete a normal work schedule, here is how you should navigate—in order—the various forms of leave time to maintain your income:

  1. COVID-19 Pay Bank — First, use your hours from the new COVID-19 bank. Every benefits-eligible employee has been given a 168-hour pay bank that will extend through June 30. You will see the COVID-19 Pay Bank as an option on your time sheet (far left column) and you should enter the hours just as you would CTO or SLR.
  2. CTO — When your COVID-19 Pay Bank is depleted, use your CTO hours until you reach a zero balance there, as well.
  3. SLR — When your COVID-19 Pay Bank and CTO are both at a zero balance, you may use SLR as needed, even if you, yourself, are not sick. You may maintain a balance of up to 80 hours to be prepared for unexpected future needs.
  4. COVID-19 Pay Bank — When your other options are exhausted, please use the COVID-19 Pay Bank (even if it accrues a negative balance) to account for any administrative paid leave needed to bridge to June 30.
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The pay bank will be available through June 30, 2020.

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Not if your absence is related to COVID-19. For all other absences, you would follow the normal options for leave (CTO, SLR, STD, FMLA, etc.). Here is a downloadable flow chart that will help you figure out your options.

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First, if you are working—either remotely or on campus—follow your standard department procedure for communicating an absence to your manager or supervisor. The process will then vary depending on the specific reason for the absence.

  1. If you are sick: If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, contact Patty Saunders in HR immediately. Patty will assist you with completing paperwork for FMLA, Short-Term Disability, or other applicable time off programs or benefits.*
     
  2. If you are not ill but are caring for an ill family member: FMLA may be applicable. Contact Patty Saunders in HR within the first 3 days. Work with your manager to determine if telecommuting is an option, otherwise use available time off options.*
     
  3. If you are not ill but are isolating or in quarantine based on the advice of healthcare providers: Contact Patty Saunders in HR within 3 days of the first absence, even if you are able to continue work by telecommuting.*
     

*You will be asked to provide either a self-attestation or release from a health care provider before you return to work, depending on the specific situation.

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Follow your department’s normal procedure for sick absences. Notify HR if the absence is expected to exceed 3 days.

Hiring Freeze

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  • Positions which are posted are frozen.
  • All dining and facilities positions are frozen.
  • Positions which are at background-check stage—but no offer letter yet—are frozen.
  • Positions with a verbal offer, but nothing further from HR, are frozen.
  • New hires with a future effective start date, who already have a letter in-hand, may start work as planned, assuming they can work remotely if the future effective date is within the next 30-60 days. If remote work is not possible, managers should consider modification of the start date.
  • Positions with upcoming termination dates that would have to go before the Ways and Means Committee should still be presented to the WMC.

COVID Safety at Home and Work

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The virus causing COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts. Respiratory droplets are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can land in the mouths or noses, or possibly be inhaled into the lungs, of people who are nearby. Exposure can occur by touching surfaces contaminated with respiratory droplets or body fluids from an infected person. Recent data shows pre-symptomatic spread of COVID-19 is possible, especially in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset.

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Administrative Control Measures Outside of the Workplace

Stay Home, Stay Safe: Leave home only for essentials, like food, exercise or essential work duties.  Minimize contact with others and especially anyone in your household who is feeling sick.

Social Distancing: When out, keep a safe distance of six feet between yourself and others.  Keeping a safe distance between yourself and others is one of the most important things you can do.  These efforts are making a difference in slowing the spread of the virus and it is critical that we continue to practice social distancing.  If you have wondered how important this practice really is, please see these illustrations on the University of Vermont Health Network’s website that show the effectiveness of social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.

Proper Hand Hygiene: Do not touch your face or any personal items (keys, cell phone, etc.) with unwashed hands.  Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Stay Home if Sick: It is critical that you stay home if you are sick or if you have had any possible exposure to COVID-19.  Do this important self-check before coming to work each day.  If you answer YES to any of these questions, you should not come to work and contact your doctor for guidance:

  • Have you been in contact with a COVID-19 infected person or someone who has been tested for COVID-19?
  • Do you have any symptoms, especially cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever/chills?  This CDC Self-Checker is a helpful resource.
  • Do you have a fever?  If you are able, check your temperature at home before coming to work.  If it is >100.0oF stay home and recheck in one hour, if >100.4oF, remain at home.
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Administrative Control Measures Inside of the Workplace

Social Distancing at Work:  If you are required to work, ensure there is at least 6 feet between you and other people at all times. Here are examples of alternative options for work that may normally result in people being within 6 feet of each other:

  • Relocate workstations (computers or other types of workstations) to ensure they are 6 feet apart or move them to alternate locations
  • Separate work areas with a physical barrier (plexiglass, etc.) if less than 6 feet between people is required
  • Tape off workstation areas on the floor to visually indicate the 6 foot distance in order to ensure proper spacing while working near to others
  • Stagger break times to ensure there is adequate space for people to prepare food or eat meals
  • If travel is required to locations on or off campus, do not drive with others

Proper Hand Hygiene: Avoid exposure to COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces or objects by taking these important precautions:

  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the work area (door handles, countertops, etc.).
  • If equipment is shared between people (tools, computers, vehicles, etc.), clean and disinfect surfaces before use.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.  Do not touch any personal items (keys, cell phone, etc.) with unwashed hands. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
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Guidance on Facemask Use

N95 Respirators (also called N95 masks, particulate respirators, dust masks, filtering facepieces): These types of facemasks are in short supply and should be saved for healthcare providers, first responders and any College staff who may be required to have close contact (within 6 feet) of an individual with COVID-19 or direct contact with body fluids from an individual with COVID-19.  Proper training and fit testing is required before using any N95 respirator.

Surgical/Medical Facemasks: These types of facemasks are in short supply and should be saved for healthcare providers, first responders and any College staff who may be required to have close contact (within 6 feet) of an individual with COVID-19 or direct contact with body fluids from an individual with COVID-19. These may be used with approval for other tasks if cloth facemasks are not available.

Cloth Face Covering: A cloth face covering (cloth mask) is any well-secured cloth (like a bandana or scarf) that covers your mouth and nose. When worn, cloth face coverings can aid in reducing the spread of virus by containing respiratory droplets/secretions from the person wearing the face covering. The primary intent of cloth face coverings is to prevent the wearer from spreading the virus to others, especially by asymptomatic individuals. Cloth face coverings are intended to be used in addition to social distancing and hand hygiene, not as a replacement. Cloth face coverings may not prevent you from getting infected, but may prevent you from infecting others unknowingly.

Cloth face coverings should be worn in public settings (grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) and can be worn by staff members who are unable to maintain social distancing at all times at work. Here are important things to know if you wear a cloth face covering:

  • Wearing a cloth face covering is no substitute for social distancing. Do not develop a false sense of security because your face is covered or you are around someone else that is wearing a cloth face covering. Everyone must still maintain the 6 feet of physical distance from each other whenever possible.
  • Cloth face coverings should:
    • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
    • Be secured with ties or ear loops.
    • Include multiple layers of fabric.
    • Allow for breathing without restriction.
    • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
  • Clean cloth face coverings daily, by hand or machine, using detergent, and dry it thoroughly.
  • Wear a cloth face covering properly, to prevent exposure:
    • Wash your hands before putting on your cloth face covering. 
    • Do not touch your face or your cloth face covering with unwashed hands.
    • Always wash your hands immediately after removing or handling your cloth face covering.
    • Do not repeatedly pull the cloth face covering up and down, or repeatedly adjust it, which can increase the chance of exposure by touching your face.
    • Never wear a wet or dirty cloth face covering.
    • Do not put your cloth face covering down where others can touch it, or on counter tops or tables.

You can find more information here on using cloth face coverings, or by visiting the VT Department of Health website for COVID-19, www.healthvermont.gov/COVID-19.

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Meet with your household members to create a plan, including designating what room and bathroom the sick person will use. For more information on how to prepare for this possibility, see the CDC’s guidelines.

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Contacting the sick person’s doctor and maintaining a clean sick room and bathroom are two of the important steps a person should take when caring for a household member with COVID-19. For more information, see the CDC’s recommendations.

Telework

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Teleworking is a business arrangement that enables employees to work from a remote location by electronically linking to Middlebury.

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Teleworking may not be suitable for all employees and/or positions. Your supervisor will notify you if you’re eligible for temporary telework and confirm with you any position-specific terms and conditions. If your job can be done remotely, please consult with your manager to make this possible. As we stated in an earlier communication, we ask that you and your manager put a plan in place—by Wednesday, March 18—that anticipates any equipment or materials you’ll need to be up and running at home. The Temporary Telework Policy explains the process and parameters. Please note: Temporary teleworking is not intended as a substitute for childcare or care for another adult. If a child or adult needs care during work time, another responsible individual is expected to be the caregiver.

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Please check with your supervisor. We’re asking supervisors to be flexible.

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Only Middlebury employees with essential roles are permitted to work on campus now. Among Middlebury’s essential functions that must continue—and may require the presence of employees on campus—are:

  • Health Center operations
  • Public Safety activities
  • Facilities Services, including custodial, plant, and other maintenance roles
  • Dining Services
  • Residential Life
  • Information Technology support for our network and infrastructure
  • Faculty and staff providing instruction and/or supporting remote teaching and learning that must be done on campus

Please check with your supervisor if you have questions about what you should be doing.

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COVID-19 is more dangerous to certain individuals with existing medical conditions. Employees with such health conditions who can work remotely should make arrangements to do so with their managers. Employees are encouraged to contact the Human Resources Office to explore reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act: hr@middlebury.edu

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If you have challenges with childcare or with caring for a parent, please consult with your manager about possible shift changes, flexible schedules, or other options. We will be as flexible as possible, but we do expect people whose jobs require them to be on campus to come to work.

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To the extent possible, an employee’s job duties and responsibilities will not change due to temporary teleworking. Temporary teleworking employees should be available during business hours via email and phone for communication, as necessary. To the extent possible, the amount of time an employee is expected to work, as well as productivity expectations, will not change due to teleworking. However, temporary telework schedules may include flexible work hours outside of regular business hours, or reduced work hours, to accommodate the challenges employees may face in their homes and in their communities as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the supervisor in conversation with the employee.

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Employees should work with supervisors to organize their workflow and should schedule regular check-ins either by telephone or by Zoom videoconferencing. Program managers or meeting organizers will be responsible for (re)scheduling meetings and communicating as needed. Zoom is recommended for group meetings.

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Nonexempt teleworking employees are covered by the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act or IWC Wage Orders (California employees), and therefore must comply with all recordkeeping requirements. Nonexempt teleworking employees must accurately record and timely report all working time as a condition of continued participation in the teleworking program. A supervisor must approve, in advance, any hours worked in excess of those specified per day and per week, in accordance with local, state, and federal requirements. Please note: Middlebury may revoke the temporary teleworking privileges of any employee failing to comply with this requirement.

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The Vermont campus is not currently closed, and individuals may continue to access the campus and their office spaces. However, many buildings have restricted access to those staff who work in them. In Monterey, if anyone else has a need for a short-term visit to campus or to a building, prior arrangements must be made by your supervisor or chair through a member of the Institute Council (Jeff Dayton-Johnson, Laura Burian, Fernando DePaolis, and Patricia Szasz)

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If we need to close either or both campuses, it would trigger a mandatory remote-work model. However, we would still need to provide services, particularly for the students who remain on the Vermont campus. Staff whose jobs are essential to providing those services would be required to report to campus. Supervisors would make those determinations.

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If you need a laptop or other equipment to work at home, contact your supervisor. Computers and other equipment will be provided on a case-by-case basis. You’ll need to return them once we resume normal business operations. Middlebury will supply appropriate office supplies like pens, paper, etc.

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Electronic equipment must be encrypted and meet all of the Middlebury’s security requirements. Employees need to provide a secure location for Middlebury-owned equipment and agree not to use it, or allow others to use it, except for Middlebury business.

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Middlebury may pay or reimburse the employee for business-related expenses, such as phone calls, shipping costs, etc. that are reasonably incurred in accordance with job responsibilities. Middlebury will not be responsible for any other costs the employee may incur while teleworking unless an agreement is reached beforehand.

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Generally, Middlebury will not pay for the following expenses nor reimburse for expenses prohibited by Middlebury policy, including, but not limited to:

  • Maintenance or repairs of privately-owned equipment
  • Utility costs associated with the use of the computer or occupation of the home
  • Equipment supplies (these should be requisitioned through the department)
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Telecommuting arrangements made due to COVID-19 are temporary. We plan to bring employees back on campus once the administration determines it is safe to do so.

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During the next two weeks, Facilities Services and Dining Services staff will conduct deep cleaning of residential and dining facilities. In addition to the measures performed by our colleagues in Facilities, employees are encouraged to routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in their workspace such as telephone receivers, countertops, doorknobs, computers and keyboards, etc.

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Employees who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider and their supervisor. They should take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus by remaining at home and restricting activities outside the home except for obtaining medical care. If you do contract COVID-19, contact your supervisor. If you are unable to return to work following quarantine or as a result of complications from the virus, contact the Human Resources Office: hr@middlebury.edu

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Any employee who is sick with symptoms that could be COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should stay home from work. Fever in this case is defined by the CDC as 100.4° Fahrenheit or greater using an oral thermometer when the person has not used fever-reducing medicine. Employees do not need to provide a note from a healthcare provider confirming COVID-19 or its symptoms to be absent from work. Clearance from a health care provider is required to return to work/campus after a COVID-19 illness. Faculty or staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms while at work should return home as soon as possible and immediately consult their health care provider. Individuals who are feeling sick should make reasonable effort to isolate themselves from others until they are able to leave campus.

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Employees who share a home with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 should follow the precautions recommended by the CDC and review the CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure. They should monitor their own health for symptoms of the virus and stay home from work if they develop symptoms that could be COVID-19. Fever in this case is defined by the CDC as 100.4° Fahrenheit or greater, using an oral thermometer when the person has not used fever-reducing medicine. If advised by their health care provider or a local official that they may be contagious even before they are symptomatic, employees should stay at home.

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Unless a flexible schedule is agreed to, employees should not permit non-work-related events and activities to disrupt or interfere with scheduled work time. Requests to use sick leave, vacation, or other leave must be approved in the same manner as for employees who do not telework. If a nonexempt employee becomes ill while working remotely, the employee must report the hours actually worked and use sick leave for those hours not worked.