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returning to on-site work

Work-Related Frequently Asked Questions

Last Modified: August 17, 2021

Effective August 1, 2021, new COVID directives have taken effect on campus, which includes wearing a face covering when indoors, and mandatory vaccination against COVID-19. Complete information about the face covering and vaccine requirements, as well as details about medical or religious exemptions can be found on the COVID directives page of the Together We Will site. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding these mandates can be found on the Together We Will FAQs page.

MSU continues to make progress on plans for return to business locations and for welcoming many of us back together on campus this fall. The following are frequently asked questions employees and supervisors/managers may have during this time. These will continue to be supplemented and modified.

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Health and Safety

Please visit the COVID directives page or the FAQs page on the Together We Will site for the latest information on health and safety measures being taken at the university.

Staffing (All University employees including Faculty, Executive Management, Academic Staff, Support Staff, Graduate Assistants, Temporary & On-Call employees)

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Yes. Units/supervisors should utilize the Workplace Decisions Guidance to determine how and where work is best performed.  For work arrangements that will be remote/hybrid, units may utilize the Telecommuting Agreement to capture details and expectations of the agreement.  NOTE: telecommuting arrangements are time-bound, continuously evaluated, and can be ended at any time.

Yes, the Telecommuting Agreement continues to be the proper tool to utilize to enter into a remote/hybrid working arrangement with an employee.

We are further exploring what university policy and resources are required to support a flexible workplace at Michigan State University. In the meantime, use the current Telecommuting Agreement

Yes. Per supervisor approval and pending all requirements have been met to return on-site an employee may return sooner. Visit the Together We Will page for more details on what to expect on campus. 

Yes, Michigan State University determines the allocation and assignment of work, including setting the hours of work, establishing work schedules and determining where work is best conducted. A Workplace Decisions Guidance resource has been created to assist units with assessing what work needs to be done and where, using an equitable process.

Yes, employees should be sent home if they are sick.

No, it is important to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of information about illness. Local health authorities and/or the University Physician's Office will be responsible for any investigation to assess potential risk of exposure associated with a suspected case of COVID-19 and will contact those who may have been exposed.

Student Employees (excluding Graduate Assistants, Teaching Assistants, Teaching Exempt)

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Yes, students can work remotely with supervisor approval. 

No, approval is not required for these positions. Units may institute additional unit specific guidelines for these groups.

Compensation and Benefits

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Please see the Together We Will site for the latest communications related to employees, financial/budget impact, university operations and more.

Yes, there are several benefit resources available to those enrolled in an MSU health plan and their eligible dependents. This includes virtual visits with your physician and telemedicine optionsVisit the Coronavirus: MSU Benefit Resources webpage to learn more.

Yes, employees may apply for FMLA through MSU HR. Eligible employees under FMLA are those who have a serious health condition, or must care for a family member with a serious health condition, which generally is considered an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

If an employee is granted FMLA leave, the FMLA leave runs concurrent with existing paid/unpaid leaves of absence. Health, prescription, and dental benefits will continue with the normal University contribution for the duration of the FMLA leave, even if the employee’s paid accruals have been exhausted. For more information, see MSU's FMLA page or PMLA page. 

No. With supervisory approval, the option may be used by employees designated necessary or not necessary and regardless of whether other accrual types have been exhausted.

Yes, supervisory/unit approval is required to use the additional excused unpaid time option and units may refuse.  However, supervisors should be aware that refusing such a request may require the employee to be put on a leave of absence, which will have a negative impact on benefits.  Supervisors are encouraged to allow maximum flexibility unless approving such requests present significant operational problems.
  • Health, dental and basic employer-paid life insurance:  You will continue to have these benefits, and your normal monthly share of benefits costs, if any, will be directly billed to you by MSU.
  • Optional life and accident insurance:  premiums will be placed in arrears and payable with your next paycheck and/or could be direct billed depending on when excused unpaid time begins in the month
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA):  Contributions will be suspended depending on when excused unpaid time begins in the month
  • Retirement and Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions:  No contributions will be made during the unpaid time period.
  • Voluntary Benefits (e.g. vision insurance, legal insurance, etc.):  You will be billed directly by the applicable vendor depending on when excused unpaid time begins in the month.

The PMLA Policy (which applies ONLY to non-union temporary employees) permits non-union temporary employees to take their existing accrual of PMLA time:

  • For closure of the employee's primary workplace by order of a public official due to a public health emergency;
  • For the employee's need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency;
  • For the employee’s time off if it has been determined by the health authorities having jurisdiction or by a health care provider that the presence of the employee or employee’s family member in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the eligible employee's or family member's exposure to a communicable disease, whether or not the eligible employee or family member has actually contracted the communicable disease.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA) for the 2020 and/or 2021 plan years, please note the important updates and options available to you here.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help employee benefit plan participants, beneficiaries and employers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak understand their rights and responsibilities. Learn more here.

HR Processes

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No, a formal document is not required. However, units should plan for tasks such as team communications and expectations for cleaning shared and personal items, etc.
No, this training was required as part of the MIOSHA requirements. 
Yes. Employees are expected to report their absences and to identify the reason for the absence. Supervisors must maintain all information about employee illnesses as a confidential medical record. 
The University does not provide a sick leave balance for faculty and academic staff. The general expectation for situations which may require faculty and academic staff to take time off for illness is that unit administrators extend professional courtesy and flexibility for employees under these circumstances and expect that arrangements are made for the work to be done. If, however, the time off interferes with the employee being able to fulfill their responsibilities, then the unit administrator and employee must have a conversation to discuss and evaluate the situation and other alternatives.

Interviews can be held in person or virtually, taking care to ensure processes are consistent and fairly applied. Visit the Together We Will page for information on what to expect on campus if you plan to hold an on-site interview. 

On-site support staff orientations have been permanently replaced by new employee welcome sessions that are now offered to all new faculty, academic and support staff (excluding graduate assistants and temporary and on-call employees). These sessions are held online and new employees receive direct invitations via email.

Units can find the most up to date guidance for I-9 verifications on the I-9 Coronavirus Resource page on the HR website. For questions regarding the completion of I-9s not covered on the HR website, please contact HR.I9Admin@hr.msu.edu

Faculty & Academic Staff Hiring Modifications (including Executive Management)

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Provost approval is required for newly created positions on general fund accounts where the position is not end dated.  Please send the hiring modification form to Sarah Blanck.  This is only required if your department reports to the Provost.

For purposes of faculty and academic staff positions, relevant vice presidents are defined as the vice president for which your unit reports.

Most academic units, except the human health colleges, report to the Provost and Executive VP for Academic Affairs (T. Woodruff). The Colleges of Human Medicine, Nursing, and Osteopathic Medicine report to the Executive Vice President for Health Sciences (N. Beauchamp). Some academic support units report to the Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation (D. Gage).

In those cases where vice president approval is needed, the “Hiring Approval Form for Posting and Hiring at MSU” must be completed* and appropriate signatures must be obtained before the unit can proceed further with the hiring process. (Use Internet Explorer to view the form, then download and save to complete.) Dean and associate provost approval is also required for academic colleges and associate provost led major administrative units. In those cases where the Dean may be communicating directly via email with the Provost, the Hiring Approval Form must still be completed and attached for approval. For positions that are 100% grant funded or currently exist in the unit, Provost approval is no longer needed.    

As a reminder, for purposes of faculty and academic staff positions, relevant vice presidents are defined as the vice president to which your unit reports.

Most academic units, except the human health colleges, report to the Provost and Executive VP for Academic Affairs (T. Woodruff). Only hiring modification requests for new regular, continuing and tenure system (not temporary or fixed term) positions on general funds require routing of the Hiring Approval Form to the Provost for review and signature.  If the funding arrangements change between the posting and time of hire the position would require an additional review. In those cases where the dean/associate provost may be communicating directly via email with the Provost, the Hiring Approval Form must still be completed and attached for approval. In this instance, please send the completed form with the dean signature to Sarah Blanck, blancks@msu.edu.

The completed form with the appropriate signatures must be attached to the academic position request.

*The human health colleges should use the form developed and provided by the Executive Vice President for Health Sciences.

No. Approval is not necessary for contract renewals or recurring reappointments. However, it is still advisable to consult with senior leadership in your unit to assess the necessity of proceeding with a position.

No, approval is not necessary for AY summer school appointments. However, it is still advisable to consult with senior leadership.

No, approval is not necessary for unpaid positions such as no pay, clinical or adjunct appointments.

Yes. The completed form with the appropriate signatures must be attached to relevant HR form (i.e., hire, rehire, change position, additional assignment) when the form is submitted into workflow.

Yes. The number of vacancies within a pool posting needs to be stated in the approval form.

Yes. All new positions will require review and approval from the relevant vice president and Provost office where applicable. 

The same guidance applies regardless of funding source. All new positions will require review and approval by the relevant vice president, but approval from the Provost is not required for 100% grant funded positions.

Support Staff Hiring Modifications (including Temporary, On-Call, Student and Graduate Assistant Employees)

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Provost approval is required for newly created positions on general fund accounts where the position is not end dated.  Please send the hiring modification form to Sarah Blanck.  This is only required if your department reports to the Provost.

Yes. Support staff postings still require review and approval from relevant vice president and will not be processed without a hiring modification form attached that includes the appropriate signatures. 

Units should keep their head count for these positions consistent at this time. Hiring new graduate assistants to replace departures is acceptable, but units should not increase headcount over current levels without seeking permission from the unit’s appropriate vice president or provost. Approval in these circumstances requires completion of the Hiring Approval Form. In addition, hiring for any of these positions that are grant funded will be monitored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI). OVPRI will provide guidance on that process. HR will not monitor these processes, nor will it monitor headcount.

No, approval is not required for these positions. Units may institute additional unit specific guidelines for these groups.

In those cases where vice president approval is needed, the form “Hiring Approval Form for Posting and Hiring at MSU” must be completed* and the appropriate signature must be obtained before the unit can proceed further with the hiring process. (Use Internet Explorer to view the form, then download and save to complete.) The completed form with the appropriate signature must be attached to the Support Staff Position Request as noted in the hiring chart here. If the posting has already been posted or is in EBS workflow please email the approval form to AVPHR.TMAmail@campusad.msu.edu.

*The human health colleges should use the form developed and provided by the Executive Vice President for Health Sciences.

Professional Development - Remote Opportunities

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Live, online courses are available via Zoom on a variety of topics. New classes designed to assist with the university's return to on-site work and other popular course offerings can be found on the Professional Development Courses page.

All benefits eligible employees have access to free online learning in elevateU. This tool can assist and support employees with boosting skills in a wide variety of areas. Consider goals set for the year, skills needed for upcoming projects or taking a deeper dive into Excel or Access. Topics cover a broad range and include productivity tools (desktop), leadership development, project management, IT professional skills, emotional intelligence, wellness, and more. elevateU also has thousands of e-books and audio books available that can be searched by title or author.

Yes, those with a professional certification may be able to get CE credits by taking courses through elevateU. From the home page, click on Certification Resources in the left sidebar, then Certification Information. If you don’t see your certification, contact the credentialing board for your certification to ask about using elevateU resources for CE credits. This is an opportunity to get CE credits without spending any money or traveling.

Log into EBS > My Career & Training > elevateU or directly at  https://elevateu.skillport.com. We’ve updated the landing page and a good place to start exploring is by clicking the MSU Highlighted Programs tab on the left sidebar. 

Unemployment Information

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) were programs that provided federal jobless benefits to Michigan workers, but expired on September 4, 2021.  Benefit recipients were reminded that the State of Michigan has several programs and services to assist in their search for a job or other help.

The Sept. 4 expiration date also applied for people who show a benefit balance on their claims. People who are waiting for an eligibility determination for any of the federal programs and receive it after Sept. 4, will be paid all funds for which they are eligible. These individuals should have continued to certify through Sept. 4.

Benefit recipients should continue to monitor their MiWAM account and check for emails from UIA in case there is further correspondence about their case. Key information will be shared about deadlines to protest or make an appeal.

Claimants will receive a new debit card from U.S. Bank by Aug. 25. This replaces the Bank of America card they've been using. After Aug. 25, any new money received will be posted to the U.S. Bank debit card. Claimants have until Nov. 1 to access the money that has been posted to their Bank of America card. Claimants should not discard their new U.S. Bank card when it arrives and should hold on to the old BoA card for at least a year in case they need to reference it later.

All protests and adjudications that were not resolved by Sept. 4 will continue through the process despite the federal programs ending. Benefits will be paid to claimants who are determined to be eligible.

For more information about the end of federal benefits or state assistance for those who are unemployed, go to www.Michigan.gov/UIA.

You may be. The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) makes these determinations — not MSU. Please contact UIA to create and claim and determine if you are eligible. 

Discontinue certifying (reporting) through MiWAM or by phone through MARVIN the week you return to full-time work. Later, if you become unemployed or underemployed, you can file a claim via telephone at 1-866-500-0017 or through your MIWAM account.

Please follow the direction of the Unemployment Agency regarding the requirements for claiming benefits. For a full list of valid work search and required documentation, refer to the UIA Work Search Activities list

Scheduled appointments with the UIA appear to be providing more assistance instead of calling the general number. Click here to schedule an appointment  up to a week in advance.

An overpayment occurs when you receive unemployment benefits to which you are not entitled. This could happen due to a mistake when certifying for benefits, if you were not able or available to work, or false or misleading information was given when filing a claim. If you are overpaid unemployment benefits, you will receive a letter notifying you of the overpayment and how to start the repayment process. If you have been overpaid benefits and are currently employed, contact the UI Benefit Overpayment Collection Unit at 1-866-500-0017 to arrange repayment terms. To learn more about overpayments, please visit this Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's webpage

Please review the Employee FAQ’s provided by the Unemployment Agency at or schedule an appointment. Scheduling an appointment is the best option to speak with the UIA so they can collect any additional information they may need from you. Click here to schedule an appointment  up to a week in advance.

Please send a message or chat through your MiWAM account. You may also schedule an appointment, which is the best option to speak with the UIA so they can collect any additional information they may need from you. Click here to schedule an appointment  up to a week in advance.

Both employers and employees are obligated to report offers and refusals of suitable work to the agency. The agency will conduct a fact specific inquiry into the situation.

You may be. The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) makes these determinations — not MSU. Please contact UIA to determine if you are eligible.

You may be. The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency makes these determination — not MSU. Please check with them.
  1. Michigan State Employer Account Number: 0800416-000.
  2. Michigan State Federal Employer Identification Number : 38-6005984
  3. Please see the Fact Sheet provided by the State of Michigan for additional personal information that may be needed.

The State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has implemented a number of changes in response to COVID-19 and federal and state laws. More information can be found at www.michigan.gov/uia.

 

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