Staff FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions from staff about COVID-19 and the transition to remote work.

Updated March 25, 2020

During this unprecedented world health pandemic, MICA understands how uncertain and difficult this time is, and is working to help you make these transitions with as little disruption possible. If your questions are not answered in the FAQ below, please see our contact page, for different offices on campus that will be able to assist you further. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

Health insurance, time-off, and other benefits

Q: Will MICA pay employees who contract COVID-19?

Yes. Employees will continue to receive medical leave benefits based on their specific employment status as follows:

Full-Time Employees:

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.

The process for being paid during the time between applying for Short Term Disability and approval is to request time off using Leave Pay through Workday; this will automatically apply any available time off (including sick, personal, and vacation) to salary continuation. 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:

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.

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 should MICA employees who think they may have contracted COVID-19 access care?

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should first call their primary care physician (PCP) to discuss their symptoms and treatment options. It is highly recommended that employees who have MICA’s health insurance use one of the two-24/7 options to receive care outside a provider’s office:

  • 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line –Members can call 800-535-9700 anytime to speak with a registered nurse to discuss their symptoms and get recommendations for the most appropriate care.
  • CareFirst Video Visit – Members can also register for CareFirst Video Visit to securely connect with a doctor, day or night, through their smartphone, tablet or computer – and no appointment is necessary.

Q: What is MICA’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and how do I access it?

HealthAdvocate, MICA's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Work/Life program vendor, provides comprehensive COVID-19 resources to support you and your family during this global health crisis. These resources include topics such as supporting at-home children, support of employees and managers working remotely, and information for older adults and caregivers.  

The EAP and Work/Life program offers 3 free counseling visits and financial and legal resources. They will also coordinate health care providers and will assist with medical questions related to eligibility and medical bills. As a reminder, all of these services are completely confidential and you do not need to participate in MICA's health plan. 

For more information, visit MICA’s Employee Assistance Program pages on the web.

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?  Is there the possibility of moving the expiration of leave from August 31 to a later date? 

We are considering options that will help support our staff during such difficult times, and will communicate decisions as they are made.

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Working remotely & finances

Q: How long will we be working remotely? 

The COVID-19 situation continues to rapidly evolve, with national and state guidance and mandates changing nearly daily and because of this, we do  not know how long employees will be working remotely. We will be re-assessing our plans moving forward in mid-April and we will keep staff posted as we know more. 

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: 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 help@mica.edu or 410-225-2201 to discuss and address the staff person's technology needs.

Q: What if my job can’t be done remotely? Will I be given other tasks to do? Will I still be paid? 

Yes, whenever possible. Human Resources has created a Job Matching Exchange Program with the goal to match staff skills with jobs in all divisions that can be done remotely. Please fill out one the following forms to register your skills or needs.

Manager Job Matching Exchange Program Survey 

Employee Job Matching Exchange Program

Student Job Matching Program

Undergraduate Admission Opportunities for Students 

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?

Employees should discuss alternate work schedules with their managers. Managers will be flexible to the extent possible but employees must be able to fulfill the needs of their department and College remotely until we resume normal operations.

Q: Will part-time contract workers (who cannot perform their tasks remotely) receive pay for the time they were already scheduled to work, but now cannot due to campus suddenly closing? 

Unfortunately no, contract workers are not eligible for the job matching program referred to above.

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: Will people be losing their jobs? And if so, what kind of financial support will be offered by MICA to those who are terminated during this crisis? 

The College is doing everything possible to preserve jobs through this crisis, and has committed to paying all regular full and part-time staff regardless of their ability to work remotely through May 1, which includes health insurance coverage through May 31. We will re-evaluate the situation in mid-April to determine the status of the College moving forward. If you have the ability to effectively work remotely beyond May 1 and have arranged to do so with your manager, you will continue to be paid normally.

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 the Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 and Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance Benefits Administration

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Operations

Q: How long will Postal & Print be open? If they'll close, where should we redirect packages?  

Postal operations will be open on Wednesdays from 9 am to 3 pm for walk-in service for MICA staff and faculty only with social physical distancing protocols in place. Further information on Postal & Print hours of operation and other campus offices can be found on the Important Information about Hours of Operation page of the MICA website.

Q: Should offices plan to halt all hiring processes for staff positions, or can offices move forward with virtual interviews?  

Human Resources is working with leaders to determine which roles we will continue to recruit for at this time. Human Resources will continue to move forward on filling certain vacancies based on the critical needs of the college.

Q: How will the information from this town hall be relayed to staff and faculty who cannot attend?

Video replays will be made available for all town halls. FAQs like this one will continue to be updated as new information is solidified. Additional town halls are being planned in the coming weeks, and staff will be notified as soon as dates are set.

 Q: What else can I do?

Update Your Personal and Emergency Contacts in Workday! Log into Workday and make sure that personal and emergency contact information is up-to-date in Workday.

Q: If I have a question not contained in this FAQ, who should I contact?

Please visit the website for a complete list of contacts.

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