you know, the public health crisis we are currently facing is unlike anything
we’ve seen in recent history. Our state and federal governments are working to
approach this crisis from many directions, one of which is how to help mitigate
the potential negative impact on our workforce. As policies are developed and
refined, we are working diligently to understand the impact to our college
community, and how it may help as unexpected or challenging situations arise.
With this communication, I want to provide summary thoughts on the core
policies that are in place today, as well as some additional resources.
Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)
one of my first communications to you, I provided a copy of the state’s Public
Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) policy, and asked you to familiarize yourself
with it. Essentially, this policy is designed
to provide paid leave to full-time and wage employees when work hours are
reduced or eliminated as a direct result of COVID-19. PHEL eligibility is based on
regularly scheduled work hours. Effective last week, eligibility for full-time
employees was increased from 80 hours to 160 hours, or the equivalent of 4
standard work weeks. For part-time employees, the proration also increased to
the equivalent of four work weeks, with the amount based on an individual’s
regularly scheduled work hours. For example, an employee regularly scheduled
for 20 hours per week is eligible for up to 80 hours of PHEL; an employee
regularly scheduled for 29 hours is eligible for up to 116 hours. Please talk
with your supervisor if you believe that you may be eligible for PHEL.
First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
is federal legislation that goes into effect nationwide today, April 1, 2020.
While the typical requirement is to post these notices in our physical
locations, I am instead attaching a copy of the poster to this email, as the
majority of our campus community is now working remotely. This legislation has
two main leave components: sick leave and expanded family/medical leave. As a
state agency, we continue to await guidance from the Department of Human
Resources regarding how this policy will be enacted across the state.
Additional communications with details about how this pertains to us will be
shared as soon as they are available.
the policies noted above help to provide some financial peace of mind, it is
normal to feel a heightened level of stress and anxiety in the midst of all of
these changes. There are many resources available to help. Here are a few to
get you started:
- COVID-19 Reducing
Stress Video: https://youtu.be/jZ5u89yZRwg. At less
than 4 minutes in length, this video provides quick ideas for how to reduce
your stress during this time.
- Anthem provides a wealth of online resources related
to EAP. Visit https://resources.powerflexweb.com/1631/login.html and enter “Commonwealth of Virginia” in the company code
box, then click Commonwealth of Virginia. You may also reach out to
Human Resources via Hrapps@virginiawestern.edu to discuss what EAP options may be
available to you personally.
- The CDC has also developed a webpage dedicated to tips for
managing anxiety and stress, which can be accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html.
Additional communication will be forthcoming. If you have
questions in the meantime, please reach out to Human Resources at Hrapps@virginiawestern.edu and our
HR team will assist you.
As I have said before, our priority during this time is the safety and well-being of our campus community. Thank you for everything that you have done, and continue to do, to keep our college operational. Your efforts are sincerely appreciated.
Dr. Robert H. Sandel
Virginia Western Community College