COVID-19 is not specific to an ethnicity or race—disease does not discriminate. Racist behaviors or stereotyping are not tolerated at UW–Madison. If you experience harassment or discrimination, students are encouraged to file a bias incident report. Employees may file a complaint with the Office of Compliance.
Reporting to Work
Who is expected to report to work on campus, and how will I know whether I should report to work?
Essential employees are those with responsibilities critical to maintaining essential functions and services on campus, including, but not limited to, completing the academic semester and supporting students who are engaged in ongoing classes, providing housing and dining services to students who remain in residence halls/apartments, life/safety, health care, hazardous research and animal care, and Physical Plant. If you are an essential employee, you will be notified by your supervisor or local human resources representative.
Are all essential employees expected to report to campus?
No. Depending on the specific situation and who is needed for the preservation of life and property, essential employees may or may not be called in. The university will allow as many essential employees as possible to work remotely. See the COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy for details.
If I am reporting to work on campus, do I need to have proof of permission to leave my home under the State of Wisconsin’s “Safer at Home” order?
No. You do not need a special letter, permit, or permission to leave your home under the “Safer at Home” order. While law enforcement has the legal authority to enforce this order, the UW Police Department (UWPD) will not randomly stop people who are out and about. Their primary focus is in keeping our community safe. Read the full statement from the UWPD.
What policies and procedures pertain to me if I cannot perform my work remotely?
Most employees are being directed not to report to their workplace. The only employees who are to report to their workplace are essential employees whose functions must be performed on-site. Non-essential employees whose work cannot be performed remotely by telecommuting are considered available for work and must respond to work-related inquiries and requests during their normal work or shift hours. See the COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy for details. See the Leave Policy section of FAQs for information on how COVID-19 leave pertains to employees in this status.
If I have been told not to report to work, whether on campus or remotely, can my status change later?
Yes. Employees may be reassigned to cover UW–Madison staffing needs to ensure essential campus services are provided. These reassignments may involve work that is not part of the employee’s regular functions and/or located away from their current work unit. An employee’s status may fluctuate between essential and non-essential based on the needs of campus. See the COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy for details.
Can I telecommute and perform my work remotely?
Employees may be approved for telecommuting if their work can be performed remotely. Employees must be approved for telecommuting by their supervisor. Employees approved for telecommuting will continue to receive their normal pay while telecommuting. See the COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy for details. Please note, it may be possible that some of your work may be completed remotely while other areas may not. Employees in this situation should account for the time they are unable to complete work using COVID-19 leave until May 15, 2020.
What are the requirements associated with telecommuting?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an addendum has been made to UW–Madison’s current telecommuting policy to provide some flexibility to supervisors and employees who wish to enter into a telecommuting agreement. Your supervisor will provide additional details. See the Addendum to the telecommuting policy for more information.
What technology do I need to work remotely?
The Division of Information Technology offers a list of resources to help with working and learning remotely. Most of the tools and technology you might need are easily accessible with an internet connection and your laptop or home computer. Here’s what you’ll need to know to work remotely.
University Health Services provides information on preparing ergonomic workstations that make work more comfortable and safer. A PDF on how to telecommute and set up a remote work station is available. If you have any questions or are experiencing discomfort related to your remote workstation, or are interested in a virtual ergonomics consult, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can I find additional resources to help me work remotely?
A website developed by the Office of Strategic Consulting, “Organizational Effectiveness at a Distance,” provides resources to help employees work remotely. It includes information on running effective virtual meetings, supervising staff from afar, and making decisions online, as well as other tips for staying productive and staying well. This collection of resources is available on the Office of Strategic Consulting website.
Emergency Paid Leave
What type of paid leave is available if I am unable to work my full shift, including telework, due to COVID-19?
UW–Madison employees who are affected by COVID-19 may qualify for paid leave under the federal program called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and/or under the UW–Madison COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy. UW COVID-19 leave is currently available to employees who qualify until May 15, 2020. The federal programs continue until December 31, 2020. If you qualify for leave, your reason(s) for leave may be covered under both programs, or only under one program or the other. If your leave taken prior to May 16, 2020, is covered under both programs, your paid leave will count towards satisfying the requirements of the federal emergency leave program.
Details about these programs, including eligibility requirements, are available from your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) at employeedisabilities.wisc.edu/divisional-disability-representatives-ddr. Information is also available at hr.wisc.edu/covid19/emergency-leave.
How will I know which emergency leave program(s) I quality for?
Your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) will use the information you provide in your request for leave to determine which leave program(s) you qualify for. If you qualify for more than one federal leave program, your DDR will choose the leave program that gives you the greatest benefit. If you have any questions about whether your situation qualifies for COVID-19 leave, please contact your local human resources contact or your DDR.
Do I qualify for paid leave if I cannot work remotely and am told not to report to work?
Employees who are directed not to report to work, who cannot work remotely, and whose work is deemed non-essential will receive UW COVID-19 leave (paid leave) up to their full pay until May 15, 2020 under the COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Policy.
The federal emergency leave programs under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) do not include leave provisions for employees who cannot work remotely and are told not to report to work, if this is your only reason for leave. If you have additional reasons for leave, it is possible that one of these other reasons may qualify for federal emergency leave.
How long will emergency paid leave be available for employees affected by COVID-19?
The UW–Madison COVID-19 Leave Policy is in place for leave taken until May 15, 2020. The federal emergency leave programs continue until December 31, 2020. Under the federal programs, the amount of leave you receive may not represent your full pay. In addition, there is a limit to the amount of paid leave you are entitled to under the federal programs, so you may use up your entitlement before your need for leave ends.
If I use up all of the emergency paid leave I am entitled to under the federal emergency leave programs, and still need to take more leave, what are my options?
UW–Madison COVID-19 leave is available until May 15, 2020. After May 15, 2020, you may not receive your full pay during your leave. You can use your accrued paid leave for any portion of your leave that is not paid. You can also choose to take a partial leave without pay for any portion of your leave that is not paid. To request leave without pay, you must complete the Leave Without Pay Request Form. Please be aware that choosing to take leave without pay may affect your benefits, including health insurance and allocation of paid leave. Your local HR contact can help you identify your options.
How do I request emergency paid leave?
Employees must complete and submit a “Request for Leave under Federal Emergency and/or UW–Madison COVID-19 Leave Programs” form for emergency leave taken from April 1, 2020, until May 15, 2020. If you wish to request emergency leave, your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) will work with you to complete their request. The DDR will use the information you provide to determine which federal program(s) you qualify for, if any.
How do I enter UW COVID-19 leave I have taken?
Employees who are eligible for UW COVID-19 leave must enter any UW COVID-19 leave correctly in order to receive this emergency paid leave. UW COVID-19 leave can be entered from any location using a computer or mobile device and an internet connection. Go to MyUW and click on the “Time and Absence” module. Use the Timesheet to enter the UW COVID-19 leave, and be sure to use the correct Time/Absence Code based on your employment type. Complete instructions are available online. If you need assistance, contact your local human resources contact or your supervisor.
I have UW COVID-19 leave or other accrued paid leave that I do not plan to use. Can I donate this paid leave to another UW–Madison employee for use as UW COVID-19 leave?
No. At this time, there is no way to donate UW COVID-19 leave or any form of accrued leave to another employee for use as emergency leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As an international employee, does my work or employment status differ from other UW-Madison employees?
No. International employees (non-U.S. citizens or non-U.S. permanent residents) have the same work/employment status as any other UW–Madison employee. All UW guidance and policies regarding COVID-19 applies to international employees. Please contact human resources in your school, college, or division or International Faculty and Staff Services with any questions.
I am an international employee and I am not yet in the U.S. Will the start date of my job in the U.S. change?
If you are not yet in the U.S., your start date will most likely change. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many start dates are being pushed back. We are working to ensure that the new start dates allow time to get the visa stamp and enter the U.S. Updates on your start date will be provided by the hiring unit at UW–Madison. Please contact human resources in your school, college, or division.
What should I do if I decide not to come to the U.S.?
If you decide not to come to the United States, please contact the UW–Madison school, college or division where you were planning to work and International Faculty and Staff Services. If you are not sure who to contact, refer to the list of local human resources contacts or contact International Faculty and Staff Services.
Where can I find up-to-date information about travel restrictions?
Up-to-date information on travel restrictions, as well as guidance on how to travel safely, is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Post Degree Trainees (Employees-in-Training)
Will there be a time limit extension for postdoctoral appointments?
Current university policy on time limits states that postdoctoral appointments are normally up to a maximum of five years, and are normally given to an individual who is within five years of having received the doctorate. To offer flexibility amidst the major disruption that COVID-19 may have on postdocs’ research and scholarship progress at this time, the 5-year time limit is temporarily lifted while UW–Madison’s recommendations for new recruitments are in place.
Will there be a time limit extension for research intern appointments?
Current university policy on time limits states that research intern appointments are normally up to a maximum of two or three years. To offer flexibility amidst the major disruption that COVID-19 may have on research interns’ research and scholarship progress at this time, the 2- or 3-year time limit is temporarily lifted while UW–Madison’s recommendations for new recruitments are in place.
Employee and Family Health and Well-being
Does the State of Wisconsin health insurance plan cover expenses related to COVID-19?
The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) offers information on the impact of COVID-19 on health benefits for those who participate in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance program.
Are there childcare resources available on campus at this time?
All on-campus childcare centers reopened on June 29. This includes Eagle’s Wing, UW Child Development Lab, and Waisman Early Childhood Program. In addition, Little Chicks Learning Academy remains open. All facilities are following state, local and CDC guidelines for operations.
Updated July 7, 2020
- Where can I find information on how to manage fear and anxiety during the COVID-19 emergency?
Where can I find confidential counseling if I need help with work or personal concerns?
The Employee Assistance Office (EAO) is offering counseling and consultation by phone or video chat. Confidential services are available at no cost to UW–Madison faculty, staff, graduate student employees, significant others, and family members. Learn more at the Employee Assistance Office website.
Consultation with professional counselors is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from LifeMatters. This free, confidential service is offered to UW employees, their significant others, and family members statewide.
What steps should I take to reduce the COVID-19 risk at UW–Madison?
Daily symptom monitoring may help detect the early onset of illness and reduce the risk of spreading the disease to others. All UW–Madison employees who are continuing to work on campus and at affiliated facilities should engage in daily self-monitoring. To learn how to self-monitor for symptoms, what to do if you develop symptoms, and where to go with questions, please review the document Recommended Practice for Employee Symptom Monitoring to Reduce COVID-19 Risk at UW–Madison.
These resources provide additional information that you may find helpful:
Should I wear a cloth face covering while working on campus?
See UW–Madison’s Smart Restart website for the most up-to-date information.
Updated June 25, 2020
Can I travel on a university-related trip?
Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, all university sponsored travel and in-person campus events remain cancelled through August 17, 2020. The extension is to help limit the spread of the disease and keep students, faculty, staff and the public safe.
All campus-related international and domestic travel plans scheduled through August 17 should be cancelled immediately. In limited cases, academic deans or vice chancellors may approve travel during this period. Employees seeking an exception to the updated travel order will need to download and complete the Essential Travel Exemption Form. Following division leadership approval, these forms should be submitted to Dan Langer at email@example.com.
All travel that has not received an approved exception should be cancelled. For a list of flights that have not yet been cancelled, please contact Rusty Haines, UW Travel Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People who travel regularly as part of their jobs, such as Extension employees, should check with their deans or other unit directors for further guidance.
Status of Campus Initiatives
What is the status of the Title and Total Compensation (TTC) Project?
The TTC Project team is working on an extension of at least three months to the project timeline. Updates will be posted on the TTC website at go.wisc.edu/ttcproject.
Recruiting for Open Positions
Are there positions currently open at UW–Madison?
Some recruiting and hiring is continuing during this period, including recruitments that are already in process and new recruitments for essential positions. Positions that are currently accepting applications are listed on jobs.wisc.edu. Interviews are being conducted virtually to maintain social distancing.
Is some hiring on hold?
Some recruiting and hiring is temporarily paused until further notice. There will be no new recruitments for non-essential positions; exceptions will be made only with direct approval from deans, directors, or campus leadership. Hiring units and the Office of Human Resources are working together to determine which new positions are essential.
Updated May 7, 2020
Can newly hired employees start in their new roles at this time?
Anyone who is hired into a new position may start that position as long as two conditions are met. (1) The hiring unit must be able to onboard and train the employee under the current circumstances. For non-essential employees, the new employee must be able to receive training and execute the job through distance communication and telecommuting. (2) All required I-9 paperwork must be completed within the first three days of work. If it not possible to meet these conditions, the start date may be delayed until campus resumes normal operations.
I have already applied for a position at UW–Madison. How can I find out the status of that hiring process?
The hiring unit will contact you by email to inform you of any updates to the status of your application.