Updated: July 14
Q: If a candidate has already been provided a job offer from MICA, will MICA HR work with the department supervisor to have conversations with the new employee regarding information on when they will be able to start?
It’s on a case-by-case basis right now, and HR will work with Vice Presidents to make that determination.
Q: If MICA temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing me from coming to work, am I eligible for unemployment benefits?
We hope this will not be necessary, but if you are laid off or your work hours are reduced, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. You can apply for unemployment insurance benefits online or by phone between 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 410-949-0022 (within the Baltimore-metro area and out-of-state) or 800-827-4839 (from within Maryland).
For more information, see theFrequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 and Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance Benefits Administration
Q: Should offices plan to halt all hiring processes for staff positions, or can offices move forward with virtual interviews?
Most hiring activities have been paused. Human Resources will continue to move forward the hiring process only for those very few vacant positions that are critically needed. If hiring managers have questions about the status of their open position(s), please reach out to your manager, Vice President or Human Resources.
Q: Will essential personnel be additionally compensated for working during a national emergency?
At this time, “required attendance” employees are being paid for hours worked, but a premium is not being paid.
Q: Can employees “flex” their schedule when working from home, especially for those who are taking care of children during this time? For example, If I have to stop working for 2 hours during the work day, can I make up that time by working 2 hours in the evening?
The College is committed to helping employees face the demands of working in the COVID-19 environment, family obligations, and personal restrictions/concerns by offering a number of possible flexible work arrangements. These arrangements provide employees with increased flexibility with their work arrangements while allowing the College to maintain operations and a positive education experience for students.
All staff and faculty requesting a flexible or alternative work arrangement will be considered on a case-by-case basis in situations where creative work schedules have been shown to accomplish both work and personal needs, to provide coverage for individual department operations and to serve the College as a whole with enhanced productivity at no expense to quality output.
For full details, visit theCollege’s Reopening website.
Q: Will PTO carryover dates and amounts remain the same for this year? Can we extend the “use it or lose it” date? Or make sure all PTO is carried over in the next year?
Under MICA’s current staff vacation leave policies, unused vacation that exceeds the carryover limits expire on September 1 each year. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated employment transitions, a decision was made to allow for a one-time extension until December 31, 2020, for all eligible employees. Other types of leave — like sick time and personal days — will follow the normal cut off dates.
Q: What if my job can be performed remotely, but I don’t have the hardware or software at home to do it effectively? For example, I’m using a non-MICA-issued personal computer at home, but I don’t have Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Cloud installed?
Staff should first talk to their managers to discuss the hardware and software needs for their job. The staff member or manager can then reach out to the Help Desk at email@example.com or 410-225-2201 to discuss and address the staff person's technology needs.
Q: Can an Angel Fund be created for furloughed employees? Could staff contribute to this by taking a voluntary reduction in pay?
The MICA COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund has been established to support staff and faculty members who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund provides financial assistance to members of our community who are unable to meet their immediate, essential expenses.
To be eligible, you must:
Be an actively employed MICA staff member or temporarily furloughed due to COVID-19, or
Be an adjunct faculty member who taught during AY2019-20 who had a Summer or Fall 2020 contract canceled due to reductions in enrollment, or
Have a temporary financial hardship because of the COVID-19 situation
Assistance is limited to $300 per staff and faculty member. These funds are non-taxable.*
Funding is awarded on a case-by-case basis and is contingent upon the availability of funds in the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund account. Awards will be based on need with priority given to furloughed employees and adjunct faculty whose summer and/or fall 2020 contract has been canceled or reduced due to enrollment reductions. Applications will be limited to one per person to meet as much need as possible.
To apply, fill out the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Online Application electronically or contact Human Resources directly. Information provided by applicants will be treated as confidential and shared only with individuals directly involved in administration and processing.
A COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Committee has been established to review requests and make funding decisions. The committee is composed of members of the Community of Care.
Employee names and other identifying information will be redacted from all application documents before they are given to the committee in order to maintain employee confidentiality.
Whenever possible, the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Committee will make funding decisions within five (5) workdays. However, funding decisions may take up to ten (10) workdays, depending on the circumstances presented. If additional information is required, the employee will be contacted by Human Resources. Once a decision has been reached, the employee will be notified by phone and email.
There are two options for completing the application:
Complete the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Application
If you are unable to complete the form online, you can speak to an HR Partner confidentially in the Office of Human Resources. Please call 410-225-2363 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will contact you directly.
If you’d like to make a contribution to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, donating is fast and easy online. Donations are not tax-deductible. Please use this link to make a donation.
We know that this time has not been easy for our employees and their families. If you have any questions regarding the program, please email us at email@example.com.
For information regarding financial assistance for students and student employees, please visit the Angel Fund site.
Q: How long will we be working remotely?
MICA will utilize three distinct reopening phases as described below. Although dates have been attached to the phases as a guidance tool, completion of each phase depends on state and local guidance, COVID-19 testing, rates of confirmed cases, vaccine development and other public health measures.
For a full explanation of the phases, please visit the MICA Reopening Website.
Phase 1 — Initial Reopening
Begins July 20
During this initial phase, every department/office/program should follow on-campus activity levels as based on its applicable divisional plans. In accordance with these divisional plans and subject to the approval of the respective Vice President, supervisors will have the discretion to determine which employees can continue to work remotely based on scope of work responsibilities and which employees need to be physically present on campus to support critical operations and instruction.
It is expected that all employees in non-academic divisions who can work effectively remotely without compromising the nature of that work should continue to do so. The presence of faculty and staff on campus will be determined by the need to prepare for class instruction and scheduling as well as the nature of work.
Phase 2 — Intermediate Reopening
Begins August 3
During this second phase, the number of people and activities on campus may increase, but caution and the primary protocols will still take precedence. Final decisions regarding who should be permitted to return to work on campus during this Phase 2 should be approved by the applicable Vice-President or designee for each division.
Additionally, campus conditions will need to be monitored and assessed closely so that swift action can be implemented should MICA experience cases of the virus on campus or locally. If on-campus or localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions, including reduced physical presence and activities, may need to be implemented again.
Campus divisions should consider the following to continue to limit the number of individuals on campus:
Remote Work. Those employees who can continue to complete work remotely without compromising the nature of that work should do so.
Alternating Days or Shifts. In order to limit the number of individuals on campus and interactions among them, divisions should consider scheduling partial on-campus activity on alternating days and/or based on shifts. This will be especially relevant for offices on campus where employees work in close proximity to each other. These schedules will also help with physical distancing in common areas.
Staggered Schedules and Arrival/Departure. The beginning and end of the workday typically bring many people together at common entry/exit points of buildings. While staggering class schedules and breaks will be addressed in Phase 1 for students, divisions are strongly encouraged to use staggered arrival and departure times for staff (by 15 to 30 minutes) to reduce traffic in common areas and meet physical distancing requirements.
Phase 3 – Studio Access Begins
Begins August 24
Students with individually assigned studios can begin using them on August 24.
The academic year begins on August 31 with flexibility in its instructional approach that strongly upholds MICA’s educational standards. The approach includes the following important features:
Maximizing online and remote options for teaching/learning;
Emphasizing low-density learning contexts and public health;
Maximizing options for individuals who require/seek learning and work adjustments; and
Providing a clear process for requesting and obtaining adjustments.
This includes the return of students to the physical campus, but modifications will be in place to reduce public health risks and respond to ongoing state and local guidance and mandates. Employees will return to the workplace except for those who have been identified as appropriate for working remotely; those who have been identified to work an alternating remote/workplace schedule; or those who have received an accommodation or an approved adjustment to work from home on a case-by-case basis.
Q: How will hourly employees submit their timecards from home?
Any hourly employees who need to access Workday Time and Attendance from home should contact their manager or supervisor. Managers need to submit the names of those employees to Human Resources who will then activate remote access to Workday Time and Attendance that will enable them to input their time worked from their home computers, cell phones, and tablets.
Q: Is MICA considering allowing employees who receive PTO to have a PTO deficit if necessary or allow employees to donate PTO hours to other employees?
We are considering options that will help support our staff during such difficult times, and will communicate decisions as they are made.
Q: Will the Tuition Exchange program benefit be eliminated or cut for employees with students currently participating in the exchange program?
At this time, the benefit has not been eliminated.
Q: Other schools are using administrative leave for people who contract the virus, as opposed to short-term disability, which MICA has asked us to use. Why is that?
The majority of colleges and universities require employees to use their paid time off for illnesses relating to COVID-19, and for the 14 days of quarantine or isolation. Instead of asking employees to use paid time off to cover the full length of any illness, MICA’s Short Term Disability is activated after only five days of paid leave — paying 100% of an employees' compensation for up to six months thereafter. This is a generous benefit not found at most other schools or industries. Please note that employees who do not qualify for Short Term Disability will need to use their paid leave.
Q: Does MICA’s insurance cover the testing and treatment of COVID-19?
Yes, it will cover the testing and treatment of COVID-19, as it does with other viruses like flu.
Q: Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply to employees or immediate family members who may contract COVID-19?
Yes. COVID-19 would qualify as a "serious health condition,” allowing FMLA leave coverage if either the employee or an immediate family member contracts the disease. Employees with less than one year of service do not qualify for FMLA.
Q: Will MICA pay workers' compensation for employees who contract coronavirus?
In the case of on-the-job injury or illness, the College's workers' compensation insurance policy would be in effect. You must report your on-the-job injury or illness to Campus Safety, Human Resources, and your supervisor. Human Resources will then file a workers' compensation claim on your behalf. Our Worker’s Compensation insurance provider, MEMIC, will then make the determination of compensability.
Q: Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) restrict how MICA interacts with employees due to the coronavirus?
Not in the case of a pandemic. The ADA protects employees with disabilities, but during a global health emergency, employees can be required by the employer to be medically examined when the employer has a reasonable belief that the employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.
Q: How will I be paid if I contract COVID-19?
Employees who are eligible will continue to receive medical leave benefits based on their specific employment status as follows:
Regular full-time employees with one year of service or more who contract COVID-19 should submit a claim for Short Term Disability. After approval, MICA will pay 100% of the employee’s salary up to six months as per our policy. The first 12 weeks would run concurrently with Family Medical Leave.
Employees with less than one year of service that purchased the employee paid Short Term Disability supplemental insurance are also eligible for the benefits outlined above. MICA will apply any available time off (including sick, personal, and vacation) to ensure salary continuation between applying for Short Term Disability and approval. Once Short Term Disability is approved, the employee’s leave type will be updated, and any leave used during the interim period will be returned back to the employee. Please note that the employee will not be paid twice. Leave used during the 5-day elimination period will not be returned. If the employee does not have available leave to cover the 5-day elimination period, they will go unpaid for those days.
If an employee has less than one year of service but did not purchase the Short Term Disability coverage, they will be required to use their paid time off.
In general, staff members on leave who are ready to return to work do not need a written medical clearance to do so. However, employees that opt to apply for Short Term Disability are required to have a doctor’s certification to return to work.
Part-time employees are covered under the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which was adopted in 2018. Sick and Safe Leave under the Act provides the employee the opportunity to take paid time off to tend to their health and well being or that of their family member. Please visit the Staff Leave Benefits page for more information.