HR COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Human Resources is closely monitoring developments with COVID-19.

The university continues to take measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our community.As a reminder, it is critical to take the appropriate precautions to help protect yourself and help slow the spread of the virus.

Effective March 16, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a Shelter in Place order for the city of San Francisco. The order requires all individuals anywhere in San Francisco to shelter in place - that is, stay at home - except for certain essential activities and work to provide essential business or government services. All USF staff and faculty are required to work remote unless they have been identified as essential to be on site. 

In this unprecedented time, when we are teaching and learning remotely, working remotely, and working on our campuses we remain committed to change the world from here, there and wherever we may be now.

If you have any concerns, please contact your supervisor or Employee Relations.

The university remains open as an essential service under Mayor London Breed's Shelter in Place order. The USF campus is open on a limited basis and many services and/or service hours are abbreviated.  All staff and faculty are required to work remote where applicable unless they have been identified as essential personnel and are needed on campus.

Staff and faculty should work with their supervisor regarding on campus and remote (if applicable) schedules consistent with the university's current operations schedule. Supervisors have identified and contacted essential personnel to confirm their working schedules. Telecommuting and remote work are recommended where applicable. Please refer to the suggested social distancing recommendations and the USF Telecommuting and Remote Work Policy for more information.

Employees who are sick should stay home and should follow normal protocols for contacting their direct supervisor. Employees who are sick should not come to work. For any time away from work, the employee should report sick or other time off in USFWorks or timekeeping system.

If you have been exposed to an individual who has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, stay home even if you do not have symptoms and contact your supervisor. If you have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 patient, or you have symptoms of COVID-19, email or call your health care provider for advice and contact your supervisor. Do not go into a health facility without first contacting the facility for advice. For a description of symptoms and additional direction refer to the CDC website.

Under the San Francisco Shelter in Place order, USF remains open on a limited basis as an identified essential service. Many campus services and/or service hours have been abbreviated. Staff should coordinate work arrangements (remote and on-site) with their direct supervisor. Faculty should coordinate work arrangements with their dean or associate dean. As conditions related to COVID-19 affect staffing levels, campus leadership encourages supervisors to think creatively about how to support their departments and the university’s commitment to educating minds and hearts to change the world. Supervisors are encouraged to contact Human Resources for further guidance.   

If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the University will inform the employee’s co-workers of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, while maintaining confidentiality related to both reporting the employee’s identity and condition, as required by applicable law.


At all times as a university, we must remember our commitment to diversity and inclusion. It is not acceptable to make a determination or risk based on color, race, country of origin, medical condition or any other protected class. Refer to the USF Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination policy for more information . Now more than ever, USF must be an example of diversity, inclusion and compassion. 

Increasing the space between people and decreasing the frequency of contact among them is known as social distancing.  Social distancing includes:

  • Canceling or rescheduling nonessential meetings
  • Using technology such as Zoom teleconferencing and other mediums of virtual communication to hold meetings
  • Sitting at a distance from others in a cubicle-style, open work environment  or meeting space

Yes. The CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or, become sick during the day, be sent home immediately (if they are experiencing shortness of breath, they should immediately go the hospital). Remember that it is not acceptable to make determination of risks based on color, race, country of origin, medical condition, or any other protected class. Refer to the USF Unlawful harassment policy for more information. HR is available to assist with proper communication and resources.

The Families First Corona Response Act was enacted to provide assistance to employers with less than 500 employees so it does not apply to USF.  If you have been out due to a COVID-19 related reason, please contact

If you work in San Francisco, you are eligible for the San Francisco Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (PHELO) which provides up to 80 hours of sick pay. Employees may use this leave when they are unable to work (or telework) due to specified reasons related to COVID-19. Find out ore about PHELO here.

 To view your time off balances, go to the Absence worklet in USFWorks.

The university is not currently offering voluntary reduction in time. Review the Time Away from USF page for more leave options.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) issued expanded guidance regarding the use of San Francisco paid sick leave. All USF employees may use their accrued sick time for these situations. For any time away from work, the employee must report their sick or other time off in USFWorks or timekeeping system.

In addition, if you work in San Francisco you are eligible for the San Francisco Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (PHELO) which provides up to 80 hours of sick pay. Find out more about PHELO here.

Social distancing is a critical tool to slow the spread of COVID-19 and can take many forms including an immediate physical spacing of six feet between individuals who are meeting in person to implementing telecommuting and remote work schedules. 

  • Staggering shifts and allowing flexible schedules (work on-site coupled with remote work assignments for the time not spent on-site);
  • Allowing temporary telecommuting for those staff who need to work from home. 
  • Examples of situations when staff may need to telecommute include: 
    • taking care of self and family members who are ill;
    • school and childcare closures;
    • member of vulnerable populations.

In situations where work needs to temporarily be performed remotely, supervisors and staff should work together to develop a remote work plan to complete their work (day to day or special projects). In developing a remote work plan, supervisors should review with faculty and staff what is needed to perform work remotely. Review the USF Telecommuting and Remote Work Policy for detailed guidance. For those departments who are short-staffed given the circumstances, Human Resources will work across departments to identify opportunities for temporary assignments.

If you are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19, or because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, the following benefits and policies may apply if certified by a medical professional: Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA),  Short and Long Term Disability, and Paid Family Leave.

  • The seven (7) day waiting period for Short Term Disability leave has been waived for COVID-19.
  • Please visit the USF Disability Insurance web page for more information about short term disability benefits.
  • Please visit the USF Paid Family Leave web page for more information about paid family leave.

If you have questions about these benefits and policies, please contact

At this time, employees who are sick do not need to provide a doctor’s note to USF. However, if an employee is applying for short term disability or paid family leave benefits, they will be required to provide medical certification to TRISTAR, our leave administrator.  

As part of your general emergency planning, please have a back-up childcare plan. For example:

  • Designate a family member or friend(s) as back-ups
  • Create an emergency childcare co-op with co-workers
  • For additional resources please contact CONCERN for child care referrals
  • For other planning ideas for your household, the CDC has released guidelines for creating a Household Action Plan.

If you work in San Francisco you are eligible for the San Francisco Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (PHELO) which provides up to 80 hours of sick pay and can be used to care for family members whose school or daycare has closed. Find out more about PHELO here.

Employees are required to report their time off to their supervisor and report sick hours in USFWorks or timekeeping system.

Yes, you may use vacation time.  Notify your supervisor and report any time off in USFWorks

USF travelers must defer all non-essential, university-sponsored domestic and international travel. Review the USF COVID-19 Travel Guidelines as well as the CDC Travel Assessment page for up to date travel advice.

The news, and especially the uncertainty associated with the constantly changing situation, can feel very scary.  We want to make sure you know that you can contact your healthcare provider or our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), CONCERN. (company code: usf) Concern offers confidential, cost free assessment, intervention, consultation, and referral services to all faculty and staff and their immediate family.

HR is available to consult and support all faculty and staff. Please know that we will work to address all of your questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 virus.

For Employee Relations: Employee Relations

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For General HR:

No, employees who have their hours reduced or eliminated are not entitled to use accrued paid sick leave to account for such reductions or eliminations. Employees who remain scheduled to work may continue to use their accrued paid sick leave for any qualifying reason for any portion of their scheduled hours they are unable to work.  Employees who have their hours and/or pay reduced or eliminated may be eligible for unemployment benefits from the State of California.