Information for staff

Information for staff

Providing a healthy and safe workplace is important at any time for Stanford, and is of paramount concern during the COVID-19 outbreak. University Human Resources (UHR) has fielded many questions from our HR Community on your behalf, requesting guidance on how to best care for our people and keep our business operating effectively during this time of uncertainty.

We are committed to providing updates on the latest developments and how they impact our people and our workplace. Below you’ll find answers to a few common questions. We will share answers to more of your questions in the coming days.

If you test POSITIVE for COVID-19: follow your healthcare provider and County guidance and self-isolate at home. Do not come to work.

  • Please call or email your HR Manager. Your HR manager will work with you to arrange your medical leave / sick time and discuss the return-to-work process.
  • Once you have been approved to return-to work by the County, contact the Stanford University Occupational Health Center by phone or email before going back to work.

Find an FAQ on enhanced cleaning and preventative hygiene on the Prevention and well-being page.

On this page

Workplace FAQ

Pay Continuation Questions

Who is eligible for interim pay continuation? (updated 3/23/20)

Interim pay continuation is available for benefits-eligible employees, full- or part-time, whether exempt or non-exempt.

What does interim pay continuation mean? is eligible for pay continuation? (updated 3/23/20)

To support our employees during this unprecedented situation, while also maintaining university operations to the extent possible, at this time, the university commits to continue to pay all full-time and benefits-eligible part-time (“regular”) employees at their current base rate of pay, even if reduced operations result in a lack of work.  

Employees who can work, should continue to work, and should  speak with their managers about any questions they have related to work requirements. Employees may have to take on different responsibilities during these most urgent weeks of the pandemic. Many job responsibilities lend themselves to working at home, while others will need to be physically performed in a Stanford facility.

When does the new interim pay continuation policy begin? (updated 3/23/20)

The interim pay continuation policy is effective March 16, 2020, which reflects the second pay period of March (March 16-31) and the paycheck issued on April 7, 2020.

Why should I charge sick time if I am ill when pay is being continued? (added 3/16/20)

Extended illness may make you eligible for disability benefits. Please use your accrued sick time and follow the same process, if applicable, for filing a short-term disability (VDI) claim or workers’ compensation claim. View Disability Leaves to understand what steps to take to apply for benefits.

What if I can work part-time from home, but not complete all of my responsibilities from home? (added 3/16/20)

If you are a regular employee and you can telecommute at a full or reduced capacity, you should continue working, and under the university’s interim pay continuation policy, you would continue to be paid at your current base rate of pay without respect to hours worked.

I’m a contingent (temporary/casual) employee. Does this new policy apply to me? (added 3/16/20)

The interim pay continuation policy applies to benefits-eligible, full- and part-time employees, whether exempt or non-exempt. Contingent employees will be paid for time worked.

What scenarios are covered under the new interim pay continuation policy? (added 31/16/20)

The following scenarios would be covered under the interim pay continuation policy:

  • If you are self-isolating but not sick: You no longer need to use sick leave. You will receive interim pay continuation if you can’t perform work from home.
  • If you are age 65 or older: If you choose to follow the Governor’s recommendation to self-isolate, you will be eligible for interim pay continuation and will not need to use sick leave if you are not able to perform work from home to the extent possible.  *Please see note for employees working in health care.
  • Employees who cannot work—whether on campus or at home—due to childcare needs as a result of school closures: You will receive interim pay continuation and will not need to use any leave time, though you may be required to to perform work from home to the extent possible.
  • Employees may be asked to perform work outside of their typical responsibilities to ensure successful continued operations of the university. Employees should speak with their manager about questions or concerns related to revised responsibilities.  

*Note for employees in health care who are age 65 or older:  Employees involved in health care delivery need to consult with appropriate leadership about self-isolation.  Governor Newsom’s guidance for individuals age 65 or older was clarified to express a commitment to keeping the health care system strong, stating that individuals age 65+ who work in health care can continue to work, and practice social distancing and home isolation after hours.  We understand that there may be an executive order issued on Monday, March 16, and we will update this communication at that time, if needed.

Health, Hygiene & Safety Questions

Are employees required to report if they are awaiting or have received test results for COVID-19? (updated 3/24/20)

Yes, faculty and staff who are awaiting or have received a test result for COVID-19 are required to report this information to their school or unit HR Director or HR Manager. This is both to connect you to resources that can support you, and to help the university assess the impacts of the virus in our community. HR is designated to receive these reports and coordinate with Occupational Health Center.

Faculty and staff should also report flu-like symptoms to their school or unit HR Director or HR Manager if they are expected to be on campus either partially or fully to do their work. Please stay home if you are sick and do not come to your workplace if you are experiencing symptoms.

How are we keeping essential employees safe from COVID-19? (updated 3/25/20)

Due to COVID-19 and the Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order, only essential employees should be reporting to Stanford facilities. Employees that are expected to report to a stanford facility partially or fully to do their work, are encouraged to adhere to previously-issued preventive hygiene guidance, including washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently. When these preventative hygiene measures are practiced with diligence they are an effective means for minimizing the spread of the disease. In addition, you should consult with your manager for specific protocols that may be in place for certain jobs.

Review the CDC’s Prevention and Treatment tips.

Should employees who show any sign of illness (e.g. runny nose, sore throat) self-isolate? (updated 3/25/20)

Due to COVID-19 and the Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order, only essential employees should be reporting to Stanford facilities. Employees feeling unwell and/or showing signs of illness that are expected to be on campus either partially or fully to do their work should stay at home. You may charge your available accrued sick time in this situation. Employees feeling flu-like symptoms should report it to their school or unit HR Director or HR Manager.

I’m worried about exposure to COVID-19 at work. Will employees in my department be notified if a colleague is in self-isolation?

Due to privacy considerations, this information will not be shared other than in a situation where it is believed other employees may also need to self-isolate.

Flexible Work/Telecommuting Questions

What equipment can I borrow from my office to use at home during the shelter in place order? (new as of 3/24/20)

Guidelines identifying materials that can and cannot be removed from offices can be found on the University IT Work Anywhere website. Manager approval is required prior to removal of Stanford-issued equipment and furnishings by an employee. 

My manager told me that I am required to come to work in person to perform essential activities, but if I’m not comfortable coming to work, what are my options? (posted 3/23/20)

Stanford is considered an Essential Business and continues to operate under the Bay Area shelter-in-place order. As outlined in the FAQ issued with the order, if you work for an Essential Business and your job supports basic operations, you should continue to report to work. However, if you meet certain criteria outlined below, you may be eligible for Stanford’s interim pay continuation policy. If you don’t meet the criteria for the interim pay continuation policy, speak with your manager and Human Resources Manager about requesting vacation or an unpaid leave of absence. If you are sick, please stay home and use sick leave.

You may be eligible for pay continuation, if you meet the criteria listed below:

  • You are required to self-isolate by the shelter-in-place order, and in doing so cannot report to work. Under the recent order, this includes those at high risk of serious illness (defined as age 65 or older, or those with a compromised immune system, a serious chronic medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease).  
  • Employees who cannot work—whether on campus or at home—due to childcare needs as a result of school closures.

If I have a monthly parking permit, will I still be charged? (added on 3/23/20)

On March 16, Stanford announced that ‘A,’ ‘C,’ and resident parking permits are not required in university-operated lots and garages until further notice. To avoid being charged for your monthly permit for April and onward, you must log into Stanford Transportation’s online ordering portal and cancel your long term permit by March 31 or you will continue to be charged. Carpools and Vanpools do not need to cancel their permits. Please note that there are no refunds for parking permits you have purchased. Visit Stanford Transportation for more details.

May I work from a Stanford facility if my role is not considered essential on campus? (new as of 3/20/20)

The Office of the General Counsel has provided more detailed guidance for on-campus work as of March 18, 2020. Visit healthalerts.stanford.edu to read the memo. 

Who is eligible for telecommuting? (updated 3/20/20)

The following may be eligible to telecommute or work remotely from Stanford facilities:

  • Exempt and non-exempt employees, full- and part-time 
  • Employees still in their trial period
  • Contingent (temporary/casual) staff
  • Student employees
  • Postdoctoral scholars in the research environment

Decisions about who can telecommute should be made in consultation with each Dean, Vice Provost, or Vice President (or their delegate) at the school/unit level. The primary consideration is that an employee’s job responsibilities are compatible with telecommuting. 

Employees approved to telecommute should complete the temporary telecommuting form. Managers must ensure that hourly (overtime-eligible) employees adhere to laws related to breaks, meal periods, and overtime.

Postdoctoral scholars approved to telecommute should complete the temporary postdoc telecommuting agreement, have your faculty sponsor sign the form (electronically), and forward the signed form to your departmental postdoc administrator.

Depending on the location of the employee, there may be additional payroll requirements. HR Managers should contact the Payroll Office with questions.

Are employees being required to telecommute if their job responsibilities allow for it? (updated 3/18/20)

Those employees who can do their work from home should do so at this time, instead of coming to a Stanford facility. We want to increase the number of employees who are working remotely to the greatest extent possible, while doing so in a way that supports the necessary operations of the university. We will continue to assess what essential functions require an in-person presence, which may change as the situation evolves.

What resources are available to support telecommuting during the shelter-in-place order?

We recognize telecommuting practices vary across the university. To assist schools/units in adopting more flexible work practices, please refer to the following resources:  

Flexible Work and Telecommuting

Work Anywhere

Visit redwoodcity.stanford.edu for information specific to our Stanford Redwood City campus.

Can contingent (temporary/casual) staff work from home?

Normally, it is by exception that a temporary/casual employee can telecommute. However,  under the current circumstances, temporary/casual employees can be approved to telecommute if telecommuting is compatible with the employee’s job responsibilities. The  temporary telecommuting form should be used. Managers must ensure that hourly (overtime-eligible) employees adhere to laws related to breaks, meal periods, and overtime.

Do I get reimbursed for internet expenses when telecommuting?

Per existing policy contained in Administrative Guide Policy 8.1.3, you are eligible to receive a stipend for home internet services.

I do not have a university laptop issued to me. Can I use my personal computer in order to work from home?

Using a Stanford-owned device that has been configured to meet Stanford’s security requirements is always the best alternative for conducting Stanford work, both when at Stanford or at another location. If that option is not possible, the Information Security office strongly recommends that you leverage your department’s computing support staff to make sure your personal machine complies with Stanford requirements. If you access high-risk data, your device MUST be encrypted. For more information on encryption, check with your department’s computing support staff or visit Encrypt Your Devices.

Visit the UIT Work Anywhere toolkit (link is external) for telecommuting and remote work resources.

Leaves/Time Off Questions

If I test positive for COVID-19, what steps do I need to take before coming back to work? (updated on 3/24/20)

Occupational Health must provide clearance for an employee’s return to work when cleared by their physician. However, due to the Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order that took effect on March 17, only essential employees should report physically to Stanford facilities; speak with your manager about if you should be reporting to a facility or working from home.

Can disability leave be used if an employee is asked to self-isolate? (updated 3/16/20) 

If you are sick, you can use sick leave and you may be eligible for short-term disability leave through voluntary disability insurance.If you are not sick, but are self- isolating at home, you may be eligible for pay continuation. Employees involved in health care delivery need to consult with appropriate leadership about self-isolation.  Governor Newsom’s guidance for individuals age 65 or older was clarified to express a commitment to keeping the health care system strong, stating that individuals age 65 or older who work in health care can continue to work, and practice social distancing and home isolation after hours.

Is there a waiting period for voluntary disability insurance (VDI)? (updated 3/26/20)

Ordinarily, there is a 7-day waiting period for VDI or state disability to begin. In an executive order issued by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, this waiting period is waived for people who are unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19.

If the university or a healthcare provider requires an employee to self-isolate and their work cannot be done from home, what options do they have (leave, sick time, etc.)? What if they do not have any paid time left to cover the required self-isolation period? (updated 3/16/20)

If the employee is not sick, but has been asked to self-isolate, they may be eligible for pay continuation.

If I were to contract COVID-19 at Stanford, can I file a workers’ compensation claim?

Yes, you can submit a workers’ compensation claim and the decision will be made through the normal workers’ compensation process.

If I’m asked to self-isolate by a medical professional, should I take sick leave? (updated 3/16/20)

If you are sick, you can use sick leave and you may be eligible for short-term disability leave through voluntary disability insurance.

If you are not sick, but asked to self-isolate as a precaution, you may be eligible for interim pay continuation.

Business Travel Questions

I am a remote staff member and I have a trip scheduled to Stanford this spring. Should I travel back to campus?

To reduce Stanford’s contribution to the potential spread of infection to other areas, the university encourages finding alternate means of conducting business. An effective strategy for minimizing the spread of the virus is greater social distancing, which can include more effective use of technology. When possible, Stanford encourages phone calls or Zoom videoconferences in place of large meetings or face-to-face contact in significant numbers.

I have business travel plans that now need to be canceled, what are my options?

Financial Management Services has created an information sheet to address questions about flight cancellations, airline waivers and reimbursements. It is being updated often and can be found on the Fingate website.

Events/Conferences

Should my external business partners still conduct meetings on campus? (updated 3/25/20)

Due to the Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order that took effect on March 17, only essential services should be conducted on campus. External business partners should use phone or Zoom video conferencing to conduct business.

Will UHR continue to hold weekly Welcome Center for new hires? (updated 3/17/20)

No. The Welcome Center is currently suspended as we comply with county shelter-in-place regulations. New hires will be sent instructions to accomplish tasks virtually and will also be offered Zoom Office Hour sessions for additional onboarding support. Communication is being sent to human resource managers and faculty affairs officers to ensure onboarding tasks are clear. If you have questions, please email welcome-to-stanford@stanford.edu.

My department is canceling an event. What should we do if we have signed a contract with a vendor for it?

Financial Management Services has created an information sheet to address contract issues as a result of COVID-19, including the cancellation or rescheduling of hospitality agreements, such as event, hotel, venue, catering, and restaurant agreements. It is being updated often and can be found on the Fingate website.

Child Care Questions

Are any of the on-site child care centers open? (added on 4/1/20)

Following the closure of all child care centers for Stanford Spring Break (March 23-27), we have since re-opened a few centers for university employees who fall into the category of “essential reporting” roles under Stanford’s current definition of “essential business.” We are working in support of the university’s goals to limit the number of people on campus, the potential for exposures and general shelter-in-place requirements. Families currently enrolled in the centers have received additional information from the WorkLife Office. For questions about Stanford child care centers, please submit a Help Ticket.

With shelter in place extended, what do I do about my kids? I have to work. (added on 4/1/20)

If you work for an essential business, as described in the Order, you can and should continue to work. Certain employers, schools, and community organizations will be providing childcare for employees of essential businesses. You may also employ a nanny or babysitter to provide home-based care for your kids. 

Are daycare facilities allowed to operate during the shelter-in-place order? (added on 4/1/20)

Childcare facilities provide services that enable owners, employees, volunteers, and contractors for Essential Businesses, Essential Governmental Functions, or Minimum Basic Operations to work as allowed under this Order.  Children of owners, employees, volunteers, and contractors who are not exempt under this Order may not attend childcare facilities. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must operate under the following conditions:

  • Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).  
  • Children shall not change from one group to another. 
  • If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other. 
  • Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.

Can my in-home nanny still take care of my children during the shelter-in-place order? (added on 4/1/20)

Yes, the Order allows nannies and childcare providers caring for a child in the child’s own home to continue working.

With child care centers remaining closed, what options do I have to support my child care needs? (added on 3/23/20)

Stanford University continues to collaborate with Bright Horizons to offer 10 days of Back-Up Care (BUCA) to support benefits-eligible faculty and staff. Our Bright Horizons services include:

  • In Home Care. A Bright Horizons network caregiver provides child care at your home for up to 10 hours.
  • Crisis Care. This is a new offering in response to COVID-19, which expands your in-home care needs to include your own personal network of friends, neighbors and family babysitters. Through Crisis Care, you will receive a $100 reimbursement toward the cost of care. Crisis Care reimbursement counts towards your annual 10 days.

When you’re ready to register, visit Bright Horizons or call 877-242-2737. First time users, select “Not signed up yet? Register Now” and enter Employer Username: sucares, Employer Password: Benefits4You. Please note, call wait times may be longer than usual as Bright Horizons has received a surge in requests. We encourage you to use the web portal or the Back Up Care app (search Back-Up Care in the App Store) to make/update reservations or access the Crisis Care option. For updates and guidelines on back-up care related to COVID-19 visit www.brighthorizons.com/covid19.

I used up my allotted 10 days of my back-up care benefit, what additional resources does the WorkLife Office offer? (added on 3/20/20)

If you already used up your 10 days of Back-Up Care (BUCA), you may still access Bright Horizons Additional Family Supports, but pay for the services out of pocket.

Bright Horizons Additional Family Supports gives you free membership access to Sittercity’s extensive database of babysitters, nannies and elder companions where you can find a caregiver and negotiate rates directly. 

What measures are being taken to protect our children and teachers? (updated 4/1/20)

Child care centers that continue operations are following very stringent, important guidelines that limit the number of children who can be served in each classroom, the ways in which teacher’s breaks can be covered, and how children and teachers must remain in their same groups throughout the day. Our centers also continue to deploy hygiene best practices and preventive measures to keep all members of our child care facilities safe. Additionally, we are closely monitoring practices shared by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), County Public Health Department, and the Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing. The day-to-day practices we are implementing include:

  • Continued focus on handwashing as the most effective means of stopping the spread of illnesses
  • Consistent use of the “daily inspection for illness” as required by Community Care Licensing to assess symptoms of illness
  • Increased daily cleaning and disinfecting of toys and play areas – both by teachers and our janitorial services
  • Refreshed teacher training to reinforce these procedures 
  • Regular reminders to parents to comply with illness prevention measures, including keeping children home if they have symptoms of illness and especially if they have a fever.
  • Reduced outside visits by tour groups

Are there actions parents can take to help minimize the spread of COVID-19?

Yes, we ask that all parents help support our efforts by:

  • Complying with the handwashing guidance when you enter and leave a classroom.
  • Keeping your children home if they have symptoms of illness and especially if they have a fever.
  • Following the self-isolation guidelines as recommended by the CDC.
  • Providing accurate and complete information during the daily inspection for illness.
  • Communicating your travel plans to ensure compliance with Stanford’s self-isolation requirements. Visit the Stanford Health Alerts website for important updates about infectious diseases, travel warnings and other public health issues.
  • Remaining vigilant to your own health and the health of your child(ren). Please review the CDC’s Healthy Habits to Prevent Flu to avoid the spread of flu at work and school. 
  • Planning and preparing for alternative care in the case of center closures (e.g. family support, alternating schedules with partners, neighborhood cooperation). 

If our family lives with someone who recently traveled, what should we do?

Our facilities are complying with university policies relative to self-isolation following travel for all families enrolled and we are enforcing this to potential tours of enrolling families, etc. 
As a reminder, you should self-isolate if you (or anyone in your home) have returned from travel to one of the restricted travel areas in the last 14 days. This includes all individuals, including children, with or without symptoms.

How will parents receive information from our child care centers, which are managed by third-party operators?

Each operator is responsible for timely communication to the families enrolled in their programs. The WorkLife Office is in constant contact with the center operators to provide updates from the university and to share relevant, best practices. Parents should ensure that their child’s center administration has their most current contact information and a local emergency contact. 

Workplace resources

Flexible Work and Telecommuting

Manager Toolkit Resources

Work Anywhere

COVID-19 Information & Resources

Maintain emergency contact information: https://stanfordyou.stanford.edu