COVID-19 Crisis Resources for Employees

As the University focuses on keeping all students, faculty and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Human Resources understands the stress and uncertainty everyone is experiencing.  Below is information and resources that are available and may help you and your family during this time. As always, the JSU HR Team, is available to assist.  We prefer email communication but are also available via phone and do have office hours, Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm should you need to meet in person or do not have the capability to access information online.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Leave

Employees Rights and Responsibilities

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, employees may be eligible for emergency paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 if they are unable to work or telework because of COVID-19 related reasons and meet the qualifying criteria.

Paid sick time provided under this Act does not carryover from one year to the next. Employees are not entitled to reimbursement for unused leave upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.


Eligible Employees

Employees are eligible from the first day of employment for Emergency Paid Sick Leave if they are unable to work or telework for one of the six qualifying reasons.


Qualifying Reasons

Employee illness/symptoms:

1. Quarantine or isolation order by federal, state or local authorities or an official member of the JSU COVID-19 Task Force.
2. Employee advised by health care provider to self quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
3. Employee has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis

Family member illness/childcare:

4. Employee is caring for an individual under Federal, State, or local quarantine or who was advised by a health care provider to self quarantine
5. Employee is caring for dependent child due to school/childcare closure
6. Employee is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.


Length of Leave

  • Full-time employees are eligible for up to two weeks of leave time, based on their regular schedule over a 2-week period, up to a maximum of 80 hours.
  • Part-time employees are eligible for a number of hours equal to the number of hours the employee works, on average, over a 2-week period.
  • Intermittent leave: Emergency Paid Sick Leave may only be taken intermittently if you are either a) teleworking, or b) working at your usual worksite and requesting leave to care for your own child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19 related reasons. If working at your usual worksite, leave must be taken in full day increment unless requesting leave to care for your own child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19 related reasons.


Pay Details

Employee will receive their regular rate of pay for up to two weeks if they are unable to work or telework due to any of the reasons below:

  • Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis
  • Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  • Employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19

Employee will receive their regular rate of pay up to two weeks if they are unable to work or telework due to any of the reasons below:

  • Employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  • Employee is caring for their dependent children whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons
  • Employee is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition that may arise, as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services

Employees may be charged Comp time/Vacation/Sick during this time to get paid.


How to Apply

Complete the Leave Request Form


More Information:

Eligible employees include all employees and faculty who have worked for JSU for at least 30 days.


Effective Date

Effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020


Qualifying Reasons

Employee cannot work or telework due to closure of school or childcare for son or daughter because of COVID-19.


Length of Leave

Up to 12 weeks, assuming the employee has not already exhausted any FMLA leave time.


Pay Details

Employee may take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a dependent child if the child’s school hours place of childcare has been closed or is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons.

Employee leave balances will be charged according to FMLA guidelines (Sick/Comp/Annual).


How to Apply

Complete the Leave Request Form


More Information:

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential, voluntary, professional counseling and referral service administered by Health Management Systems of America. The EAP is designed to help JSU employees and their families resolve problems that affect their personal lives, family, and job performance. As a benefit to JSU employees, the mission of this program is to enhance the quality of life for JSU faculty and staff, improve personal effectiveness, and create a healthier campus community by providing assessments, interventions, and/or referrals as needed. For more information about the EAP offered as a benefit to employees, please call (800) 847-7240 or visit: www.my-life-resource.com.

When logged into the website please use the following information:

Company User Name: worklife
Company Password: myresource

COVID-19 Resources:

Retirement System of Alabama (RSA) Issues

The Retirement System of Alabama (RSA)/PEEHIP has a dedicated phone number to call should you have any immediate issues with Teachers Retirement.  Please do expect delays in calls being answered as medical related inquiries will receive priority.  

  • RSA COVID-19 Information
  • RSA help line: 1-334-517-7000 or toll free at 1-877-517-0020
  • Retirement Application Deadline.  Many employees are reporting difficulty completing retirement paperwork due to not having access to their payroll offices for employer certification or notary services.  Retirement applications must be submitted 30 to 90 days prior to the retirement date.  During this unusual time, RSA will accept the retirement applications and option selection forms for processing as long as the member has completed and signed their portion of the form.  RSA will return forms to members for notarization at a future date.  To meet the filing deadline, members may submit the forms to RSA by mail at the address listed on the form, by fax at 877.517.0021, or by email at trs.info@rsa-al.govMembers must still mail the original documents to TRS.

PEEHIP Medical Insurance/ BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama

The Retirement System of Alabama/PEEHIP has a dedicated phone number to call should you have any immediate issues with PEEHIP Insurance. Any inquires related to immediate medical situations will take priority so please ensure you hold on the line for assistance, but do expect delays in calls being answered.

Mental Health

Employees with PEEHIP medical insurance has access to BCBS’s New Directions’ emotional line, a free and confidential 24/7 mental health helpline staffed by trained and caring professionals ready to guide you to the care you need. Additional Crisis Resources are also available on their website.

Medical Coverage

BlueCross BlueShield Alabama also has extended their Telehealth Services that is available to BCBS plan participants and their families.  Telehealth allows in-network providers to provide medically necessary services that can be appropriately delivered during a telephone consultation. Check with your in-network provider to see if they offer Telehealth services. To locate a current listing of in-network providers, login to myBlueCross and visit Find A Doctor.

  • Give you the option to receive care remotely in order to limit your exposure to COVID-19 and other illnesses.
  • Serve as an initial screening when you may need testing for COVID-19.
  • Provide consultations and visits rendered by in-network providers for low complexity or routine health conditions.
  • Provide ongoing health evaluations and care management based on the in-network provider's medical judgment.

TIAA Retirement

Congress has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) which is designed to bring financial relief for individuals and families.  Plan Participants can visit the TIAA website for more information and determine eligibility for withdrawals and loans.

Remote Work

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Remote Working has become a new reality and employees need to understand that ergonomics is still just as important now as before. It is best to first identify your dedicated workspace.

Understanding proper ergonomics is essential and then evaluating your remote work environment to determine what changes you may need to make. Below is a “how-to guide” in developing a comfortable workspace. Once you have reviewed the information and can better understand proper ergonomics, you can now evaluate your area and determine what you can do to make it more comfortable. Remote working and the governmental limitations of travel/shopping may hinder your ability to obtain specific items (ergonomic chair) but you can still be creative with what you have available in your remote work area.

Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide

Laptop Ergonomics: How to Avoid Fatigue and Discomfort

Chair: as with many homes, an adjustable chair may not be available, so it is best to try different chairs in your home to determine which provides the most comfortable upright or slightly reclined position. The height should be so that your feet rest flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the floor. If a foot stool in necessary, you could stack books or something sturdy under your feet. Adding a small pillow or rolled up towel at the curve of your back may also help to support your spinal curves and prevent stress on your back.

Laptop: it is highly recommended using external devices such as an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. This will allow you to set up your work area properly.

  • Use a chair that supports a comfortable upright or slightly reclined position
  • Position your laptop for the most neutral wrist position you can achieve. If you have a large binder handy, place the wider edge at your knees so it creates an angle that keeps your wrist straight and maximizes the height of the screen
  • Angle the laptop screen back so you can see it with the least amount of neck deviation as possible

Phone: Since most are using cell phones, use the speaker function or earbuds/headset with a microphone. Don’t brace the phone between the neck and shoulder.

Lighting: Good lighting is best but place the light source to the side of the monitor/laptop. Use as much natural lighting as possible or lamps when needed.

Move More!: Movement is important so be sure to stand up, stretch, and move! Your body is designed to move, not to remain in a static posture for long periods of time. Getting up and stretching will help to minimize stiffness and fatigue.

Best Ergonomic Exercises and Stretches

Additional information

  • The Treasury has also extended tax filing and IRA contribution deadlines. The deadline for filing a 2019 tax return—and any corresponding 2019 IRA contributions—has been extended to July 15, 2020.
  • Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Health Equity.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) contains important provisions that will affect FSA participants.
    • Over-the-counter drugs and medicines can be paid for or reimbursed through an FSA without a doctor’s prescription
    • Menstrual care products are now considered a qualified medical expense and are eligible for payment or reimbursement through an FSA.
    • All expenses incurred after December 31, 2019 qualify and the provision has no expiration date.
    • https://healthequity.com
  • Wellness Screening Requirement Waived for Current Plan Year
    • To help members avoid any situations in which they may be at greater risk of exposure to the coronavirus, PEEHIP is waiving the wellness screening requirement for the current plan year. These waivers will display in members’ Sharecare accounts prior to the end of the plan year.
    • All members who are currently incomplete for this year’s wellness screening in the Choose Well, Live Well wellness program will be given a waiver for that screening requirement.
    • This screening waiver does not apply to the coaching requirement for those members that were identified for health coaching, as health coaching can be done either telephonically or online, and because health coaching provides a valuable resource to maximize health during this time of a global pandemic.
    • Members who have a health coaching requirement will receive a one-month extension which means their new deadline to complete their coaching is September 30, 2020.
    • Access your Choose Well, Live Well wellness program or call Sharecare at 855.342.6809.