Staff hiring review process
July 17, 2020
This update is to inform you that University Human Resources has established a phone line to address inquiries for all faculty and staff members related to the COVID-19 test or to respond to other health-related inquiries. A representative will be available to respond to your questions directly from 8:00am-4:00pm on Monday through Friday at 401-368-4828. Voicemail messages will be returned within 24 hours.
For other inquiries, please contact a representative in University Human Resources (UHR) as outlined below.
For inquiries relating to COVID-19 leaves or workplace accommodations, please contact a UHR-Benefits representative at [email protected].
For inquiries relating to workplace safety training requirements, please contact a UHR-Talent Development representative at [email protected].
For inquiries relating to essential designations, please contact your HR Business Partner or a UHR-Compensation representative at [email protected].
For all general inquiries, please email [email protected]. Thank you for contributing to a healthy, safe campus.
Vice President of Human Resources
May 2, 2020
In these challenging times of COVID-19, we want to provide you with information that protects you and your safety. The University has been made aware that a small number of invalid claims for unemployment insurance have been made on behalf of Brown University employees. It is important that you read this email and remain vigilant to ensure that any false claims that might be submitted on your behalf are identified.
Unfortunately, invalid unemployment claims appear to be a widespread issue across Rhode Island and other states during the pandemic. As a result, a combined task force has been created with the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RI DLT) to investigate. After an immediate and comprehensive review of all Brown data information systems, Brown’s Computing and Information Services (CIS) has confirmed that the University’s data and information systems have not been compromised.
Employees who apply for unemployment compensation typically submit applications directly to RI DLT, and DLT then informs University Human Resources of the compensation request, working with UHR to verify employment information before UHR returns the completed claim to DLT. In the case of invalid claims, UHR is receiving requests from RI DLT to verify employment for employees who have not filed applications. In other cases, Brown employees have informed UHR that they have received a request appearing to come directly from DLT to complete the process to verify employment information to receive unemployment compensation. This is not a legitimate process.
For legitimate claims, RI DLT directly contacts the employer, which would be Brown University Human Resources. Employees have received these invalid requests both electronically and via US postal service, and University Human Resources also has received these invalid requests directly. As soon as an invalid claim has been submitted to University Human Resources, UHR has contacted each employee to inform them that a claim has been submitted to be processed.
As mentioned above, the combined law enforcement and RI DLT task force is investigating this matter. UHR is following the RI DLT’s Fraudulent Claim Unit’s process to submit, on behalf of employees, each invalid unemployment insurance claim that is received. If a fraud claim has been filed on your behalf by Brown, you will hear from a fraud investigator at the DLT so that they can gather information necessary to determine who is filing the invalid claims. DLT has specifically advised Brown that once notified, no unemployment payments will be issued, and an employee's ability to apply for future compensation, if needed, will not be impacted.
You are encouraged to remain vigilant and check both personal and Brown emails and U.S. mail for any communications from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. Do not disregard these communications. If you receive a request to complete a claim for unemployment compensation, and you have not requested unemployment insurance compensation, please inform University Human Resources as soon as possible by emailing [email protected]. Please include in your email any documents that you have received electronically or in hard copy. You will be asked to share the documents that you received. If UHR has received a claim to authorize unemployment compensation on your behalf, you will be contacted to confirm whether you filed the application. If you have not filed an application, UHR will immediately notify RI DLT.
This matter is being investigated as quickly as possible to reach a solution, and CIS continues to ensure that there is no compromise to Brown’s data and information systems. Brown remains in close contact with RI DLT to be informed immediately when a solution has been reached. In the interim, University Human Resources continues to closely monitor and assess every claim daily.
Vice President of Human Resources
April 18, 2020
I write with an important update for any Brown employees who are designated as essential personnel and reporting to work in person.
As a new measure in Rhode Island’s effort to battle novel coronavirus, an executive order issued by Gov. Gina Raimondo this week requires that all employees of the state’s businesses and nonprofit organizations wear cloth face coverings, effective today — Saturday, April 18. This applies to any Brown employee working on campus.
The executive order also requires that employers provide employees with face coverings. While nearly all departments with essential employees have already provided these, any employee in need of a face covering can request one by contacting Environmental Health and Safety at [email protected].
Additional guidance on face coverings is available at: https://www.brown.edu/health-safety/covid-19-face-covering-guidance
Vice President for Human Resources
March 12, 2020
Dear Brown University Staff,
We write to follow up on the University-wide message from President Paxson sent this morning, and to respond to questions that staff may have as the University transitions to remote instruction for courses. In this message, we are re-iterating guidance to all staff members, offering a link to FAQs and encouraging staff with questions not answered here to direct questions to University Human Resources at [email protected] or (401) 863-2141.
First, it’s important to emphasize that, despite the transition to online course instruction for many students, the University remains open for academic and administrative operations. We want to underscore that Brown University is currently at low risk for the coronavirus, and the actions the University is taking are designed to further minimize that risk. A top priority during this time is to continue to promote the well-being and safety of all employees as they work to advance the education and research mission of the University.
Accordingly, the University has created a new category of paid leave specific to the COVID-19 event called “Paid Special Leave,” which provides for 10 business days of paid leave. The policy recognizes that there are times when staff may need to be absent from their roles to safeguard their health and the health of others.
The specifics of this special leave policy are outlined with other guidance for Brown employees below.
Effective immediately and until further notice, the following guidelines and information are being provided to assist employees in regard to the impact of COVID-19:
- All offices are being encouraged to postpone or hold virtually any non-essential meetings, and to plan thoughtfully any meetings that are essential, considering measures such as social distancing.
- Managers should prepare and discuss with their employees all possible Alternative Work Arrangements (AWA) based on department operational needs.
- Employees who are not sick, but who need to quarantine can request an AWA or a Special Leave for up to 10 business days to care for themselves.
- Employees who are not sick and need to provide care for a dependent or a household member in need of isolation can request an AWA or a Special Leave for up to 10 business days.
- Employees who are not sick but must provide dependent care due to a school closure may request an AWA or use sick or vacation time.
- Employees who are sick must remain at home and not report to work, and request a leave of absence.
- Employees who must remain at home to care for a sick dependent or household member may request an AWA or a leave of absence.
Please be aware that University policies may continue to be modified as more information about the impact of COVID-19 becomes available. The health and well-being of our community will inform our efforts and decision-making.
A new Workforce page on Brown’s COVID-19 website answers frequently asked questions about the operational changes affecting employees.
In addition to this guidance, we strongly encourage you to read closely the full letter from President Paxson outlining changes in Brown operations. Many employees are in roles that require knowledge of the changes in academic and residential operations outlined in that letter for faculty and students.
Please continue to consult Brown’s COVID-19 website for regular updates.
Amanda Bailey, Vice President for Human Resources
Barbara Chernow, Executive Vice President for Finance & Administration
March 3, 2020
Dear University Staff Colleagues,
As an update on Brown’s continued response concerning coronavirus (COVID-19) issued to the campus on February 29, this communication provides staff with additional guidance on work arrangements should you fall ill this season. As previously stated, medical doctors who lead the University’s health services are in constant and continuous communication with the Rhode Island Department of Health. If there are any changes in medical and public health guidance, the University will communicate that to the campus and take all necessary steps.
If you become ill or have received medical advice to be isolated for a specified period of time, please immediately discuss the matter with your supervisor to identify the best work arrangement for your safety, the safety of other colleagues, and the operational needs of the University. You are encouraged to explore alternative work arrangements — whether to care for yourself or for a family member who must be isolated for a specified period of time — by submitting supporting documentation to your supervisor. The University’s Alternative Work Arrangements (AWA) policy governs situations that permit work to be performed at another location for a specified period of time. You can access the AWA policy at the following link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/policies/alternative-work-arrangements-20053.
If your position is deemed essential to the University’s operations as per the University’s Essential Positions policy, or an alternative work arrangement with your supervisor cannot be established, and you have been directed by a medical practitioner to remain isolated for a specified period of time, please discuss the situation with your supervisor. For more information about essential positions at the University, please access the University’s policy at the following link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/policies/essential-positions-20052. In addition, the University provides a variety of leaves of absence, and you and your supervisor can discuss which leave of absence is most applicable to your situation. Information about the University’s leaves of absence can be found at the following link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/benefits/absence/leave-absence.
For questions related to Alternative Work Arrangements (AWAs), please contact University Human Resources via email at [email protected] or by phone at 401-863-3896. For questions related to leaves of absence, please contact University Human Resources via email at [email protected] or by phone at (401) 863-3458.
Important Health Information
Employees are encouraged to continue to take the following steps to seek treatment and control the spread of viruses, including the novel coronavirus:
1. Get a flu shot: If you have not already received a flu shot, you are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as possible. You can receive a flu shot from a healthcare provider, at an urgent care clinic, or a local pharmacy. To find a list of healthcare providers, you can call Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rhode Island or United Healthcare at the phone numbers found at the link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/benefits/vendor-directory.
2. Seek medical treatment for symptoms: If you experience shortness of breath, a cough, or a fever, please inform your supervisor immediately and seek treatment. Please do not report to work until you receive documentation from a healthcare provider with a date that you are able to return to work. Please take these actions even if you have previously received a flu shot. Employees and dependents covered under one of Brown's health insurance plans also have access to telemedicine benefit services. This service provides you with access to board-certified physicians through phone and/or video consultations, and the ability to speak to a physician as soon as possible. You can access information for telemedicine services by clicking on the link: https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/human-resources/benefits/health-and-wellbeing/telemedicine.
3. Take caution to prevent spreading the virus: Even if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but may have been directly in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus, please inform your supervisor immediately and seek medical guidance as soon as possible. If you have been in contact with someone who has traveled to a restricted country, you also are encouraged to inform your supervisor and seek guidance from a medical provider. If you are directed by your medical provider to remain absent from work, you will need to provide documentation that you are physically able to return to work or that you need to be isolated for a specific period of time. You can receive updates of destinations with travel notices directly from the CDC by clicking on the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
4. Follow prevention steps to remain healthy: According to the CDC, the following steps are strongly encouraged to ensure that you remain healthy during this time:
Frequently wash hands, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or cough or sneeze into your elbow and not your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
For further information, please visit https://covid.brown.edu/.
Vice President of Human Resources