Staff Frequently Asked Questions

Updated Aug. 19, 2020, 12:30 p.m.

Staff Frequently Asked Questions

The Office of Human Resources is committed to providing updates on the latest developments and how they affect our people and our workplace. Below you'll find answers to some commonly asked questions. We will share answers to more of your questions as the COVID-19 situation evolves. We will host a virtual supervisor roundtable each Wednesday at noon to answer additional questions that arise. To join the Zoom meeting, use this link or call in using 646-558-8656 with meeting ID 680 162 496.

Where can I find information on the hiring freeze announced on April 3?

The Office of Human Resources has information on the COVID-19 hiring freeze. The HR site includes the process for requesting recruitment and review of a position thought to be of critical need. It also has an FAQ on the hiring freeze.

How can I get technology help?

We have redeployed our IT resources to triple the size of the team dedicated to fielding support request for remote learning platforms and we will be offering extended support hours. ITC has compiled a variety of resources to help employees with the change to remote teaching, learning, and working. You can find a variety of information to help with your technical needs.

What precautions are in place for employees who continue to work on campus?

We are modifying work schedules to require fewer individuals performing essential services to be on campus at any one time. Our environmental health and safety team provides guidance for those who do need to be on campus about best practices to protect themselves and recommending appropriate protective equipment. The CDC also provides guidance on this topic.

What should I do if I'm concerned about COVID-19 exposure?

The CDC website has excellent resources for understanding community-related exposure. The information is available on the CDC site. If you have concerns about your own health or whether you should self-quarantine or isolate, please call your primary care provider.

How can I disinfect my facility?

If you are concerned about your office space, the CDC provides information on keeping your environment clean. If you have concerns about cleaning your facility, contact Dartmouth Work Control at 603-646-2508.

How can I get support during this difficult time?

Speak with a professional counselor at GuidanceResources, at 844-216-8308. GuidanceResources is Dartmouth's online Employee Assistance Program (EAP) partner and offers confidential telephone counseling 24 hours a day, every day.

Faculty and staff can also contact EAP Counselor Sharon Morisi. She is available via Zoom and telephone during normal business hours and offers support to supervisors who are assisting staff. Confidential virtual counseling is also available to students, faculty, and staff with Daveen Litwin, the Tucker Center chaplain, and with the United Campus Ministry advisers of multiple faith traditions. Email Litwin for an appointment. Resources are also available at Wellness at Dartmouth.

PAY AND WORK EXPECTATIONS, updated Aug. 14, 2020

All employees are expected to communicate with their supervisors regarding schedules and work expectations. 

What options do I have if I am unable to report to work or complete work remotely because of circumstances related to COVID-19, such as child or family care needs?

Dartmouth has published an Interim Furlough and Reduction in Hours Policy which provides options for employees who, for COVID-19-related reasons, are unable to report to work or work their full scheduled hours when work is available.

What if I am unable to report to work or complete work remotely because I have underlying health concerns that place me at heightened risk for COVID-19 complications?

The Interim Furlough and Reduction in Hours Policy provides options for employees who have jobs that require on-site work for all or some of their scheduled hours to request a voluntary furlough or reduction in hours if they are concerned about reporting to work on site because they or a member of their immediate household have an underlying health condition that places them at heightened risk for COVID-19 complications.

Alternatively, employees can seek a workplace accommodation for a documented disability through Dartmouth's ADA coordinator in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity. But they are not obligated to do so prior to seeking a voluntary furlough or reduction in hours. A furlough or reduction in hours request, for reasons related to an employee's health or the health of an employee's family member, may also qualify for a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Employees with questions about the options available to them are encouraged to speak with their HR consultant about the interim furlough/reduction in hours policy and how the policy works in conjunction with other paid or unpaid leave policies or policies on alternative work arrangements.

What are the allowable COVID-19 reasons for requesting a voluntary furlough or reduction in hours?

The Interim Furlough and Reduction in Hours Policy includes the following COVID-19-related reasons for requesting a furlough or reduction in hours:

  • Inability to work because of a quarantine order or because the employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis (where other paid time off options are not requested or available)
  • Underlying health conditions that place the employee or a member of the employee's immediate household at heightened risk for COVID-19 complications, as evidenced by a note from a health-care provider
  • Inability to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine
  • Inability to work because of a need to provide care to a child under the age of 18 whose school or child-care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19
  • An employee volunteers for a furlough or reduction in hours to assist Dartmouth in COVID-19- related budgetary savings (subject to approval based on departmental/operational needs)

Please refer to the Interim Policy for specific details and procedures for requesting a furlough or reduction in hours: https://www.dartmouth.edu/hrs/pdfs/furlough_policy.pdf

Am I required to use my available vacation or personal time prior to requesting an unpaid furlough?

Employees may request to use vacation or personal time prior to the commencement of a voluntary furlough, but they are not required to do so. Employees retain their accrued vacation balances during the furlough leave. Accrual of additional vacation time is suspended during any continuous furlough period. For intermittent furloughs, in which an employee works a specified amount during the furlough period, vacation time will accrue on a pro-rated basis for the periods worked during furlough.

What is the difference between a voluntary furlough and a voluntary reduction in hours?

A furlough is a continuous unpaid period of time of at least two consecutive weeks in which no work is performed or expected. A reduction in hours or effort is where an employee works less than the scheduled hours per week for the position, or less than the full schedule in a particular pay period, for example, working 32 hours per week instead of 40, three days per week instead of five, or working fewer than the number of days in a particular pay period that does not consist of two consecutive weeks without pay.

How long can a voluntary furlough last?

A request for a voluntary furlough may be made for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of three months and may be approved or extended in one-month increments. A voluntary furlough request may also be intermittent. The total period of a voluntary furlough may not exceed six months, whether alone or in combination with other furloughs or reductions in hours/effort during the same fiscal year.

How long can a voluntary reduction in hours or percentage of FTE (full-time equivalency) last?

There is no specific time limit. Requests may come in the form of a weekly schedule change or annualized reduction in the position's time status or FTE. Acceptance of a voluntary reduction in hours/effort request must be appropriate for the operations of the department or program and must be approved by the supervisor and department head, in consultation with Human Resources.

What happens to my benefits while I am on a furlough?

Dartmouth will continue an employee's medical benefits, basic life insurance, and long-term disability insurance while on a continuous furlough leave, including a voluntary furlough. Dartmouth will pay both the employer and employee's current cost to continue the medical benefits coverage.

Unless enrollment is canceled, employees will continue to be responsible for paying the premiums for their dental, optional and/or dependent life insurance, and additional long-term disability insurance while on furlough. Employees who choose to continue coverage during the furlough will be billed and will need to remit their premium payment. If payment is not received, then coverage will be terminated on the last day of the month for which premiums have been received.

The interim policy and its associated forms contain a great deal of information and detailed benefits-related FAQs. Please refer to the policy and forms for more specifics: https://www.dartmouth.edu/hrs/pdfs/furlough_policy.pdf

How will a reduction in hours affect my benefits cost?

Employees granted a reduction in hours/effort under the interim policy will continue to receive the employer-paid Dartflex contribution to health benefits based on their time status/FTE prior to the hours or FTE reduction through the end of the current plan year (Dec. 31, 2020). Benefit costs beginning for the plan year beginning on Jan. 1, 2021 will be based on the employee's time status on that date.

How do I apply for a voluntary furlough or reduction in hours?

  • voluntary furlough application must be submitted through the employee's department to Human Resources and must provide a valid and verifiable COVID-19-related reason for the leave. Any supporting documentation for a health-related request should be submitted by the employee directly to the Human Resources Benefits Office.
  • A voluntary reduction in hours or effort request should be made under the procedures and considerations outlined in Dartmouth's Alternative Work Arrangements Policy and a COVID-19-Related AWA Request Form must accompany the application. Any supporting documentation for a health-related request should be submitted by the employee directly to the Human Resources Benefits Office.

What happens if my department declines my request to reduce my hours or time status/FTE?

Requests for reductions in hours/effort must be appropriate for the operations of the department or program and must be approved by the supervisor and department head, in consultation with Human Resources. If a department denies the request for reduced hours for operational reasons, an employee may alternatively request a voluntary furlough.

If I am granted a voluntary furlough, will my job be held for me to return to at the end of the requested furlough?

  • Departments may hold a position available for the employee to return to at the conclusion of a voluntary furlough if it is operationally feasible to do so.
  • If operational needs dictate, a department, after consultation with Human Resources, may refill the position with notice to the employee. The employee will be provided the opportunity to be recalled and return to the position at that time with seven days' notice. If the position is refilled during the voluntary furlough period, the employee may remain on the voluntary furlough period for the duration the furlough was approved. At the conclusion of the voluntary furlough, the employee's employment will be terminated if the employee has not secured another position at Dartmouth at that time.

What happens if my position is eliminated and I am laid off while on a voluntary furlough?

  • Employer-initiated decisions about positions to be eliminated or furloughed for budgetary or other operational reasons are made by department leaders in consultation with Human Resources and are based on operational needs and financial resources available for the position to continue. The voluntary options for employees to request a furlough or reduction in hours should not influence a decision on which positions may be eliminated through a permanent layoff.
  • If the position held by the employee is eliminated during a voluntary furlough, the employee will be notified and laid off in accordance with the Separation of Employment Policy.