The CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States. VCU provides a website for COVID-19, together.vcu.edu, to inform the university community of the latest updates regarding the coronavirus.
Please keep in mind that this guidance is subject to change based on information provided by federal and state agencies. Schools and units may implement internal guidelines more specific to the mission of the unit. Continue to check this webpage for updates. Questions may be sent to email@example.com.
- Call 1-804-MYC-OVID (1-804-692-6843) to contact Employee/Student Health Services and report symptoms, exposure, or positive test results
Who to contact
- What do I do if I’m concerned about another employee’s health status?
- Speak with your manager about your concerns. Do not confront the employee on your own.
- How should managers advise employees who have recently traveled and may have been exposed to COVID-19?
- Please refer employees to the VCU COVID hotline 1-804-MYC-OVID (1-804-692-6843) where the call will be routed to Employee Health Services. Learn more at One VCU: Responsible Together.
- What if an employee comes into work with symptoms similar to COVID-19?
- The employee's manager should instruct the employee to return home and call the VCU COVID hotline at 1-804-MYC-OVID (1-804-692-6843).
- How do employees obtain access to the VCU network and other software in order to work remotely?
- VCU Technology Services provides a suite of software that enables remote work and collaboration while employees are working away from campus. Information on training opportunities within LinkedIn Learning, connecting to RamsVPN and other resources for remote work is available at telework.vcu.edu. Faculty have been provided with separate guidance on teaching remotely.
- As a manager, what should I do to make sure my team is ready to “keep on working” remotely?
- Develop plans for each staff member in the event that telework work is recommended or required.
- Learn more about Managing remotely with resources in Talent@VCU and the university telecommuting site at telework.vcu.edu - scroll to the bottom of the page.
- Confirm that employees have access to either a home computer or VCU laptop and have the appropriate connections to VCU. As possible, arrange for loaner laptops for those without appropriate equipment.
- Develop lists of projects that can be accomplished while teleworking.
- Utilize the check-in function, which allows employees and managers to report on work tasks and projects in a conversational style.
- Remember to keep in mind that teleworking can include performing normal job duties and special projects. Examples of special projects may include policy/procedure review and development, capturing knowledge to help new employees, electronic record review and clean up for compliance with records retention policies, reviewing past audit findings and ensuring actions taken to address, etc. During this time, managers may want to consider opportunities to cross train employees in support of career development and succession development.VCU HR has curated a list of online career development courses, which strengthen VCU core competencies that employees can complete while working remotely. These courses consist of 16 modules, providing 23 hours and 38 minutes of learning. Employees should be required to provide a summary of what they’ve learned from the online course and how it applies to the work performed.
- What happens to my benefits during this time?
- Employee benefits for Faculty members, University and Academic Professionals, and classified employees continue automatically while employees continue to work (on campus or teleworking), are on paid leave, or are receiving short-term disability benefits. In the event of unpaid leave, covered employees are required to remit health plan premiums in order to continue health coverage. No retirement contributions are made during unpaid leave since there is no creditable salary; however, Virginia Retirement System members may purchase retirement service credit for periods of unpaid leave covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
- Will the COVA employee health plans cover the cost of COVID-19 testing?
- Refer to guidance from DHRM.
- Do the COVA health plans have any special coverage for COVID-19?
- COVID-19 testing is covered by the COVA health plans with no out-of-pocket cost when medically necessary and ordered by an authorized provider. In addition, to avoid in-person office visits and possible exposure to COVID-19, the out-of-pocket cost for any virtual medical visit is waived for COVA Care and COVA HealthAware through September 30. This includes LiveHealth Online (Anthem), Teladoc (Aetna) and other providers who offer virtual visits. For the COVA High Deductible Health Plan, the $0 cost applies only to COVID-19-related virtual visits through September 30. The COVA plans are also offering early prescription refills for a limited time. See important details and keep up with any changes by reviewing Your State Health Plans and COVID-19 on the DHRM website.
- Can I use funds from my health flexible spending account (FSA) to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE)?
- Expenses for masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers (not including cleaning products of any kind) are currently eligible for reimbursement from a health FSA. Since approval of PPE expenses is temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FSA debit card cannot be used at most retailers for these items and participants will generally need to file claims. For more information on submitting claims for PPE expenses, visit www.payflex.com or contact PayFlex at (855) 516-8595.
- Can I change my flexible spending account (FSA) election if my planned health or dependent care expenses are changing due to COVID-19? Will the plan year be extended?
- The state health benefits program has announced a one-time grace period for flexible spending accounts due to end on June 30, 2020. Participants with active accounts as of June 30, 2020 may continue using account funds to file for claims incurred from July 1, 2020 through October 31, 2020. Claims must be submitted to PayFlex by November 30, 2020 in order to be eligible for reimbursement under the grace period. For details, see the DHRM Health Benefits e-newsletter published on June 10, 2020.
- For dependent care FSAs, contribution election changes are permitted when you experience a change in dependent care costs or coverage, including changes due to the closure of a program.
- Can I take a loan or withdrawal from my retirement plan for unanticipated financial needs due to COVID-19?
- As authorized by federal CARES Act legislation, loans and in-service withdrawals from the VCU 403(b) Tax Deferred Annuity plan will be permitted for COVID-19 related reasons. Hardship withdrawals, in-service withdrawals over age 59½, and loans also remain available from the plan for non-COVID-19 related reasons. To initiate a loan or withdrawal, contact your account provider (TIAA and/or Fidelity Investments) directly. No VCU authorization is required.Loans and withdrawals are not available from the VCU Optional Retirement Plan, the VCU Cash Match Plan, or the Virginia Retirement System Defined Benefit Plans (VRS Plans 1 & 2, VaLORS Plans 1 & 2).For information about in-service withdrawals from the Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP), the Virginia 401(a) Cash Match Plan, and/or the VRS Hybrid 457, contact VRS Defined Contribution Plans customer service at 1-877-327-5261.
- If I am quarantined, or become infected with COVID-19, what rules apply to the privacy of this information?
- As your employer, VCU may ask you for a doctor’s note or other health information as needed for administering leave, worker’s compensation, or disability benefits. For additional information, see “Employers and Health Information in the Workplace” at The US Department of Health and Human Services website. If you participate in state employee health coverage, please see the State Health Benefits Program’s HIPAA Employee/Retiree Privacy Notice.
- What types of emergency leave are available to faculty and staff?
- Under circumstances outlined in these FAQs, both state and federal leave are available to faculty and staff whose ability to work is impacted by COVID-19. Available hours may be used continuously or intermittently.
- Review the emergency leave guide (PDF) for a side-by-side look at leave information.
Number of hours
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Federal emergency leave
Effective April 1, 2020
Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)
State emergency leave
Effective March 2020
FFCRA - Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML)
Effective April 1, 2020
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – Federal emergency leave
The federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective April 1, 2020, which includes the allocation of emergency sick leave for employees who cannot work as a result of COVID-19. Please review the FFCRA notification and the Department of Labor FFCRA FAQ list. VCU is still mapping out processes and procedures for FFCRA leave. More information will be posted soon.
- Are some employees ineligible for the emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave?
- Due to the critical work supporting efforts to manage the pandemic and related operations, VCU is not required to provide emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to health care providers and emergency responders. Management will review any requests on a case-by-case basis. If you have applied for unemployment, you are not eligible for FFCRA.
- Who is considered to be an emergency responder under the FFCRA?
- For the purposes of employees who may be excluded from emergency paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave by their employer under the FFCRA, an emergency responder is an employee who is necessary for the provision of transport, care, health care, comfort, and nutrition of such patients, or whose services are otherwise needed to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility.
- What leave code in RealTime do I use for FFCRA?
- Code 73: FFCRA Care of Self
- Code 74: FFCRA Care of Household Member
- Code 75: FFCRA Short-term Childcare
- Code 76: FFCRA Long-term Childcare
- Who do I contact if I need to use this leave?
- Your manager is your first point of contact. The employee may initiate the FFCRA forms, located in DocuSign.
- What documentation do I need for FFCRA emergency sick leave?
- Employees should consult with their managers about their need to use FFCRA emergency sick leave and should provide information and documentation regarding their need to take FFCRA emergency sick leave to the HR professional. Managers should be understanding if an employee is unable to immediately provide a doctor’s diagnosis, proof of illness or other reason for being out of work, but managers should request and employees should be expected to produce information and documentation about their illness, diagnosis or other reason for being out of work as a result of this public health emergency within a reasonable period of time (about 15 calendar days) after the public health emergency has passed.
- Use of the up to 2 weeks of Emergency Sick Leave and 10 weeks of Emergency Family & Medical Leave to care for a child whose school/daycare is physically closed requires documentation that the school/daycare is closed or operating virtually.
- Should I use up my own leave before using FFCRA to home school my children? Will I lose it in January otherwise?
- For University and Academic Professionals covered by the Great Place HR Policy, the university leave carryover limit will not be applied at the end of the 2020 leave year on January 9, 2021. This means that university leave balances will not be subject to the carryover limit until the end of the 2021 leave year on January 9, 2022. There are no changes to the payout maximums for university leave.
- Faculty Annual Leave accrued by 12-month faculty also will not be subject to the carryover limit until the end of the 2021 leave year on January 9, 2022. There are no changes to the payout maximum for faculty annual leave.
- Annual leave accrued by classified employees remains subject to DHRM policy and the carryover limit will be applied on January 9, 2021.
- Can I use my own university leave to supplement the ⅔ (up to $200/day) pay that I will receive for the leave that allows me to remain home with my child whose daycare/school has physically closed due to COVID-19 orders?
- Yes. You may use university leave or annual leave to supplement the first 80 hours (2 weeks of up to $1000 of emergency sick leave. If you request the additional 10 weeks (up to $1000/week) of emergency sick leave, you must supplement the emergency sick leave with your own university or annual leave. For example, if you work full-time, you will charge 8.00 hours to FFCRA leave in RealTime and 1 hour to your own leave balance each day, for a total of 9.00 hours. The system will then make the adjustments based on FFCRA codes used.
- I’d like to take the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for 12 weeks in order to homeschool my children whose schools are physically closed. ⅔ of my daily pay is greater than $200; may I still take the leave? How much of my own leave will I need to use each week if I want to receive my full paycheck?
- If you would like to take the 12 weeks of paid sick leave to care for or homeschool your children whose daycare or schools are closed, you may supplement the ⅔ daily pay with your own leave for the first 2 weeks (up to $1000 per week). After the first two weeks, you must supplement the remaining 10 weeks of ⅔ pay with your leave. The leave will simply cover less than ⅔ of your salary each day, requiring you to make up the difference. In order to determine the amount of leave you will need to use, you should contact your HR Professional. For example, if you work full-time, you will charge 8.00 hours to FFCRA leave in RealTime and 1 hour to your own leave balance each day, for a total of 9.00 hours. The system will then make the adjustments based on FFCRA codes used and employee’s rate of pay.
- Can I take the leave intermittently or over an extended period of time (more than 10 weeks) if I am sharing child care duties with my spouse/partner?
- Yes, this is possible. Please work with your manager and HR Professional to understand how the FFCRA leave will work in this situation. Typically, FLSA exempt University & Academic Professionals would take the FFCRA leave in either full day or half day increments.
- If you are unable to telework for your normal schedule of hours due to one of the qualifying reasons in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), you may take intermittent leave in any increment, provided that you and your manager agree. In that situation, you and your manager may agree that you may take paid sick leave intermittently while teleworking. Similarly, if you are prevented from teleworking your normal schedule of hours because you need to care for your child whose school or place of care is physically closed, or child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19 related reasons, you and your manager may agree that you can take expanded family medical leave intermittently while teleworking.
- Once you and your manager have a schedule worked out, you should consult with your HR Professional to confirm the correct way to charge the time.
- Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
- Your eligibility for emergency sick leave and expanded family and medical leave depends on how much leave you have already taken during the 12-month period that your employer uses for FMLA leave. VCU’s leave period is January 10 through January 9 of the following year. You may take 2 weeks of emergency sick leave and 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave for a total of 12 workweeks as FMLA until December 31, 2020. If you have taken some, but not all, 12 workweeks of your leave under FMLA during the current 12-month period determined by your employer, you may take the remaining portion of leave available.For example, assume you have already taken two weeks of FMLA during the current leave year (January 10 - January 9) for personal medical reasons. This leaves 10 weeks of FMLA leave entitlement remaining (except in the case of military caregiver FMLA which expands entitlement to 26 weeks). Because FFCRA leave is a type of FMLA leave, you would be entitled to take a combination of emergency sick and expanded family and medical leave for up to 10 weeks, rather than 12 weeks. FFCRA counts against your entitlement of pre-existing FMLA leave.
Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) – State emergency leave
The state of Virginia’s Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) provides all classified and non-classified employees with up to eighty (80) hours of emergency leave due to a pandemic. Governor Northam declared a public health state of emergency on March 12, 2020 invoking PHEL.
- Under what circumstances can I use PHEL?
- Employees are expected to work remotely to the extent possible. If employees are unable to work remotely, employees may use PHEL:
- To attend to their own medical needs or the medical needs of an immediate family member being tested, quarantined or treated for COVID-19;
- To actively seek alternative childcare arrangements due to closure of day care centers/schools due to COVID-19;
- If an employee’s job is not conducive to telework or other alternatives are not possible.
- Employees are expected to work remotely to the extent possible. If employees are unable to work remotely, employees may use PHEL:
- Who is eligible for PHEL?
- 0.50 FTE part-time employee would be granted up to 40 hours.
- If a wage employee normally works 20 hours per week, the maximum amount of paid leave should be 20 hours per week.
- Up to 80 hours of Public Health Emergency Leave is currently available to all state employees, including university and academic professionals, classified staff, faculty, adjunct faculty, wage, graduate research assistants and hourly student workers (wage) provided they are actively employed at the time the leave is needed. Student workers have already been provided with leave beyond the two (2) weeks provided for in this policy.
- PHEL is prorated based on the number of hours employees are normally scheduled to work. The maximum paid leave may not exceed the maximum number of hours an employee would normally work each week.
- Full-time employees will receive up to 80 hours.
- Part-time employees (less than 1.0 FTE) will receive pro-rated paid leave based on FTE or the hours normally scheduled to work. For example:
- When a wage employee’s hours vary, use an average as the maximum.
- Affordable Care Act (ACA) considerations and the 1,500-hour threshold still must be taken into consideration.
- What leave code should be used in RealTime for PHEL?
- 91 - "Public Health Emer Lv" for salaried staff.
- 90 - "Wage Paid Leave" for hourly staff.
- I am an hourly worker and I've completed all assigned development activities and cross training. There are no more assignments for me. May I use PHEL for 2 weeks prior to applying for unemployment?
- You are eligible for two (2) weeks of PHEL based on your normal schedule. If you have applied for unemployment, you are not eligible for PHEL.
- I’m working to make arrangements for my children during this period of daycare/camp/after school closure. May I use PHEL?
- Yes, you may use PHEL on a temporary basis while you are unable to work and are actively securing childcare. PHEL is not intended to be used for long periods of time to care for children who are out of school or whose daycares are closed. FFCRA leave may be used for longer periods of time (up to 12 weeks at 2/3 pay, $1,000 per week maximum) when a parent cannot work and must provide child care or homeschooling as a result of daycare/camp/afterschool closures related to COVID-19.
- I am immunocompromised and have been advised by my doctor to self-quarantine. May I take leave instead of working remotely?
- All VCU employees are expected to work remotely to the extent possible. If an employee is unable to work remotely, the employee may use PHEL (up to 80 hours) and then may use other personal leave (if available) after consulting with their manager.
- What options are available if an employee or a family member is quarantined with COVID-19?
- All employees may request up to 80 hours (see max amounts in previous question) of Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) if unable to work remotely while self-quarantining or supporting a quarantined family member.
- Faculty and adjunct faculty should teach remotely or arrange coverage (PHEL).
- See the FFCRA section for additional options.
- I was quarantined for COVID-19 for 2 weeks and used PHEL. I now have been diagnosed with COVID-19. May I use the FFCRA sick leave?
- Yes. As applicable, employees may use both the PHEL and the provisions of the FFCRA leave.
- What leave may employees use if they or a family member are diagnosed with COVID-19?
- PHEL (a maximum of 80 hours) is available to all employees during this public health situation. It does not carry over or get paid out upon separation. Faculty and staff should contact their management to ensure coverage of courses and work responsibilities.
- Employees are also eligible to use the FFCRA leave provisions.
- Faculty and staff in the Traditional Sick Leave plan (TSLP) may use their annual leave or TSLP for personal illness, annual leave for family illness, or may use a portion of their TSLP for a family illness that is covered by FMLA.
- Faculty members, university and academic professionals, and classified employees who are in the Virginia Retirement System and covered by VSDP may apply for VSDP short-term disability benefits for their own illness by contacting Reed Group. PHEL may be used to cover the waiting period for short-term disability benefits. For family illness, annual leave, university leave,VSDP personal/family leave, and/or VSDP sick leave may be used. For a family member’s illness, use of VSDP sick leave is limited to FMLA covered illness and a maximum of 33% of the balance.
- University and academic professionals who are in the Optional Retirement Plan, or are in the Virginia Retirement System with less than one year of VSDP coverage, may apply for short-term disability benefits for their own illness by contacting The Standard. PHEL may be used to cover the waiting period for short-term disability benefits. For family illness, University Leave may be used. Please refer to VCU HR website leave for guidance.
- If I can’t come to work because of a quarantine, am I eligible for short-term disability benefits?
- Quarantine, on its own, is not a medical condition that qualifies an employee for short-term disability benefits.
- What documentation do I need to be eligible for PHEL?
- Employees should consult with their manager about their need to use PHEL and should be expected to provide information and documentation regarding their need to take PHEL. Managers should be understanding if an employee’s is unable to immediately provide a doctor’s diagnosis, proof of illness or other reason for being out of work, but managers should request and employees should be expected to produce information and documentation about their illness, diagnosis or other reason for being out of work as a result of this public health emergency within a reasonable period of time, such as 15 calendar days.
- If I am diagnosed with COVID-19 or if I am caring for a family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, am I eligible for leave share or caregiver leave?
- If you are a faculty member or classified employee in the Traditional Sick Leave Program (TSLP), you are eligible to receive leave share donations for your own COVID-19 illness if you have exhausted your own leave balances, are eligible for FMLA, and have entered a leave without pay status. If you are a faculty member or classified employee (VSDP or TSLP), you are also eligible to receive leave share donations for a family member’s COVID-19 illness that is covered by FMLA if you have exhausted your own leave balances and have entered a leave without pay status. VCU Leave Administration administers the university’s leave share program. If you have questions, contact VCU Leave Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (804) 828-1712 with questions. Review general leave policies.
- If you are a university and academic professional with at least one year of service, and are caring for a family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you are eligible for caregiver leave after using 40 hours of your own leave balances. If additional leave is needed, please contact VCU Leave Administration (804) 828-1712 or email@example.com or your HR Professional. Review caregiver leave information.
- What can I do if I believe I have been exposed to COVID-19 at work?
- If you believe you have been exposed at work and are therefore subject to quarantine, you may file a workers’ compensation claim for any lost wages. The state employee workers’ compensation program determines eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. In many cases, you may be provided with an alternate work arrangement that prevents you from losing wages. If you choose to decline work that is offered to you, you will not be eligible for lost wage benefits under workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation lost wage benefits are offset by any wages you earn.
- If you are diagnosed with a COVID-19 infection due to exposure at work, you may file a workers’ compensation claim for medical care. The state employee workers’ compensation program determines eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim.
- If I require greater than the 2 weeks of available PHEL, due to a personal COVID-19 diagnosis or family member with the diagnosis, am I eligible for leave share or caregiver leave?
- If you are a classified employee or faculty member who participates in the Traditional Sick Leave Program (TSLP), and have exhausted your paid leave balances, and require continued absence covered by FMLA due to your own diagnosis of COVID-19, you are eligible to receive leave share donations.
- If you are a classified employee or faculty member (TSLP or VSDP participant), and have exhausted your own paid leave balances and require continued absence due to a family member’s COVID-19 illness that is covered by FMLA, you are eligible to receive leave share donations. If you have questions, contact VCU Leave Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (804) 828-1712 with questions. Review general leave policies.
- If you are caring for a family member with COVID-19 illness and you are a university and academic professional with at least one year of service, you are eligible for caregiver leave after using 40 hours of your university leave balances. If additional leave is needed, please contact VCU Leave Administration at (804) 828-1712 or email@example.com. Review caregiver leave information.
- Please see available options for you with the FFCRA leave.
- In addition:
- I am experiencing stress or anxiety around COVID-19. Who can I talk to?
- If you participate in state employee health plan with Anthem (COVA Care, COVA High Deductible Health Plan), Aetna (COVA HealthAware), Optima Health (Optima Health Vantage), or Kaiser Permanente (Kaiser Permanente HMO), you may speak with a counselor by contacting your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP covers up to four consultations at no cost. Telephone and telemedicine services are available. EAP benefits also extend to your family members.
- If you do not participate in a state employee health plan, you can still access the online resources of the Anthem EAP by using the employer name “Commonwealth of Virginia” to log in, or access online self-help resources available through University Counseling Services. You may also consult your local Community Services Board for assistance in accessing resources. The listing of Community Service Boards is available on the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Development Services website.
- I am an HR Professional or Department Head at VCU and need to request on-site counseling for employees in my department due to COVID-19 related issues.
- Is there a hotline for mental health support?
- Visit Mental Health Association of Virginia anonymous support line to learn more.
For information regarding parking and transportation at VCU, visit the COVID-19 Parking and Transportation updates page.
- FCC agreement: Providers will waive late fees, provide open hot-spots and will not disconnect service for lack of payment.
- Comcast COVID-19 response: Offering free WiFi for two months to K-12 and higher education students. All Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time.
- AT&T COVID-19 response: Offering open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low-income families.
- Verizon COVID-19 response: Offering free international calling to most countries. Customers should call to receive temporary plan upgrades, including data options.
- Sprint COVID-19 response: Offering unlimited data to existing customers and allowing all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
- T-Mobile COVID-19 response: Offering unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
- Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months: Offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
- Am I eligible for unemployment?
- The Virginia Employment Commission determines an individual’s eligibility for any/all unemployment benefits. However, you may be eligible if you are a VCU employee and you become unemployed through no fault of your own or if you are working fewer hours than you were previously due to a lack of work.
- How do I apply for unemployment?
- Individuals should apply for unemployment benefits through the Virginia Employment Commission to determine if they are eligible. When completing the application be sure to give complete and correct information to ensure that your claim is not delayed.
- Do I need a note from my department stating that I am not working?
- As individuals are applying for unemployment benefits through the Virginia Employment Commission they may be asked to provide supplemental documentation showing a lack of work. If a department has sent out communication, advising individuals not to report for duty, this can be used as documentation.
- If this information was communicated in a way other than in writing, the individual can apply for unemployment without supplemental documentation. The Virginia Employment Commission will ask VCU to confirm that an individual is not working, or working a reduced schedule. VCU is completing all of these requests promptly.
- When will I start receiving payments?
- All payments are handled and dispersed by the Virginia Employment Commission. Due to a high volume of requests the Virginia Employment Commission may take longer to process these requests. It is recommended that you apply for unemployment benefits as soon as you are made aware of complete unemployment, or a reduction in hours. The Virginia Employment Commission has attempted to make applying for benefits easier by waiving the waiting period and by not requiring any job search when filing for unemployment benefits.
- Once approved for unemployment benefits it is important to remain responsive to the Virginia Employment Commission. You must submit information to them each week to ‘continue a claim’. For more information on this process you will need to review the information available on the VEC website.
- How does the CARES Act affect unemployment?
- Beginning with claims effective March 15, 2020, Governor Northam directed that the one week waiting period and the requirement to conduct a weekly job search both be suspended for those receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
- The CARES Act expands existing unemployment benefits in two material ways: (1) providing for an extra $600 weekly payment, in addition to the weekly benefit amount an eligible employee otherwise receives under state law, through July 31, 2020; and (2) increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may receive unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks. These new benefits are funded at the federal level, but will be administered by the states. VCU is waiting on additional guidance from the VEC regarding claims processing.