FAQ: General Questions for Employees

Below are answers to frequently asked questions related to the work environment. See the Financial FAQs for Employees for information about retirement contributions, investment planning, USC’s financial situation, and resources for those affected by the conclusion of paid administrative leave.

For more health-related information, view the Health and Safety FAQs. Faculty should see the Academic FAQs for Faculty, and researchers should see the Research FAQs. Student workers should view the General Restart FAQs for information regarding fall hiring, remote work and more.

If you have questions that are not answered in our FAQs, please email covid19@usc.edu. Our response team will help find an answer.

Flu Vaccine Requirement

Complete the requirement as soon as possible.

Employees may complete the requirement a number of ways: 1) getting the vaccination, 2) completing a medical exemption form, or 3) completing a religious/philosophical exemption form.

All three options mark a "completion" in the record.

Employees (except Keck Medicine employees, who have options 1 and 2 only) must complete one of these three options.

Employees who are out of compliance will be reminded, and if they do not respond, may be subject to disciplinary action and de-activation of access to campus facilities through TrojanCheck.

Employees of health sciences and health profession programs may have different specific instructions. Please check with your department or Human Resources Partner for applicable instructions if you are an employee of Keck Medicine of USC, Keck School of Medicine of USC, USC School of Pharmacy, USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, or the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC.

Non-health profession employees have three options for completing the flu immunization requirement (instructions with a screen shot are available in English and Spanish on the Employee Gateway COVID-19 resources page).

Option 1: Through the USC Pharmacies

Employees may receive their flu immunization through the USC Pharmacies. Record of immunization completion are automatically updated in the health records system, My Student Health Records (MySHR). No further steps necessary.

If you’ve received your vaccination through USC Pharmacies, your record of immunization completion is automatically updated in the health records system and no further action is required.

Option 2: Other pharmacy or retailer

Keep the documentation of your flu immunization. It must have your name, your date of birth, name of the vaccine, and date administered. Take a photo of the document, and upload to MySHR.

  1. Log into the MySHR portal using your USC NetID
  2. On the menu on the left side of the screen, scroll down and click on the Downloadable Forms link
  3. On the right side of the screen, scroll to 2020-2021 Flu Shot Documentation
  4. In the 2020-2021 Flu Shot Documentation section, click the Upload button and upload your documentation
  5. Click Save

Option 3: Complete an exemption form

Employees who are unable to receive a flu immunization should complete either the 1) medical exemption request form, or the 2) religious or philosophical exemption request form. Upload the form to MySHR following the same instructions as Option 2.

Supervisors may ask about the completion of the requirement only. Employees (except Keck Medicine employees) do not have to provide health information to a supervisor. HR Partners may be provided with a noncompliance list of individuals who have not completed the requirement, but this will not contain private health information.

All faculty and staff working onsite at USC locations will be required to present proof of influenza vaccination by November 1, 2020. Thereafter, as employees return to work onsite, the same requirement will stand through the end of the Spring 2021 semester and may be extended as necessary.

There are several reasons this is being required:

  • Flu and COVID-19 often can present similar respiratory symptoms; receiving a flu vaccine will help with an accurate and timely diagnosis if employees become ill.
  • A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Saving medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients is a way we can all contribute to community health.

It takes approximately 2 weeks for your immune system to create antibodies for protection. Though exact timing of flu season may vary, activity often begins to increase in October and typically peaks between December and February. The sooner you get the immunization, the better for your health and wellbeing and that of others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information available regarding the flu shot vaccination for the year 2020-2021.

Flu vaccines are available at no cost to USC employees through the USC Pharmacies. For more information, please visit the USC Pharmacies Flu Vaccine webpage. USC Pharmacies will submit proof of immunization on behalf of employees.

Employees may choose to get a flu vaccine outside of USC Pharmacies, but will need to submit documentation. Note that employees enrolled in a USC health plan are eligible for a flu vaccination at no cost.

Employees with medical objections will be able to submit a medical exemption form, while employees with religious or philosophical objections will be able to submit a declaration of objection form. Either of these forms can be submitted in lieu of documentation of a flu vaccine.

There are several options for on-site employees to obtain documentation of their recent flu vaccination. Employees can contact the physician’s office or pharmacy where they obtained their flu shot for a copy of documentation. Additionally, some flu shot providers upload their information to the California Immunization Registry (CAIR), including flu shot clinics hosted by the LA County Department of Public Health. To search for your immunization information, please visit the CAIR site. For more information about CAIR, please visit the About CAIR page on their website.

As a reminder, on-site employees who obtain a flu vaccination through USC Pharmacies will not be required to submit documentation.

USC Pharmacies is available to host mobile flu vaccination clinics for departments and units with at least 25 employees interested in getting a flu shot. If a mobile flu vaccination clinic is right for your department or unit, please contact your HR Partner to coordinate the request.

While they are not required, we highly encourage employees working from home to get a flu vaccine. However, as employees return to work onsite through the Spring 2021 semester, they will need to provide documentation of flu immunization.

Please contact the HR Service Center via email at uschr@usc.edu or phone at (213) 821-8100, or USC Student Health at (213) 740-0355 (WELL).

Work Environment

Employees working remotely should visit the COVID-19 resources page on the Employee Gateway to access Remote Work guidelines and required documents. As referenced in those guidelines, all employees were required to complete USC’s Remote Work Letter of Agreement by the end of September 2020, unless they already had an agreement with their department, in which case they must complete USC’s agreement by Jan. 1, 2021. Employees working remotely also need to complete the Remote Work Checklist. All documents are available on the COVID-19 resources page.

Employees and supervisors returning to work on campus should visit the COVID-19 resources page on the Employee Gateway to view the appropriate return to work guidelines, the employee accountability matrix, information on the required Health, Hygiene and Safety training, and information on the flu shot requirement (also see below on this FAQ page - scroll down to the Flu Vaccine Requirement section).

Through Project Restart, the academic and administrative units are developing plans to return employees and students to campus. These plans align with the most current city, county, state, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Education guidelines to ensure a safe workplace for our community.

As a result, you may find that units are offering hybrid on-campus and work-from-home opportunities, creating staggered shifts, and rotating employee schedules to ensure that employees are able to maintain physical distancing guidelines.

We are also ensuring that all facilities, including classrooms, offices, labs and common areas, are receiving enhanced and frequent cleaning that meets the guidelines set forth by the CDC.

To ensure employees understand all safety expectations, we developed health, hygiene and safety training that employees must complete prior to returning to campus. During the training, each member of our community will agree to follow campus and public health guidelines. Each of us has a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of our community. As a result, failure to follow these requirements could lead to disciplinary actions.

Regardless of the announcements made at the county or city level with regards to the resumption of certain activities, please do not return to campus unless you have specifically been asked to return by your supervisor or department head. Supervisors will be notified by senior leadership in their units once it is time to bring employees back to campus. Please do not contact the COVID-19 hotline for this information.

Please do not return to campus unless you have specifically been asked to return by your supervisor or department head. Supervisors will be notified by senior leadership in their units once it is time to bring employees back to campus. Please do not contact the COVID-19 hotline for this information.

Please discuss your concerns with your supervisor, department chair, HR partner or dean of faculty.

We are reconfiguring our facilities and spaces to reduce the risk associated with virus transmission, and the number of rooms available for all activities will be severely restricted this term. We are configuring workspaces to allow for 6 feet between individuals and will install barriers in workspaces where people must face each other or are unable to be 6 feet apart.

There are also overall limits to the total number of people in a room, set by the county. In-person meetings will be limited to 10 people per gathering and ensure 6 feet of physical distancing.

For employees who fall within the high-risk population definition and wish to request an accommodation, USC will follow public health recommendations and work to provide temporary accommodations to the maximum extent feasible.

For those who have a disability but have no higher risk of more severe illness from COVID-19, USC will continue to follow the well-established disability accommodation processes.

Concerned employees should reach out to their supervisors and HR partners for support.

Please see additional details regarding the COVID-19 screening, symptom and exposure reporting process for onsite employees.

For 14 days after travel, monitor yourself closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and strictly follow USC public health guidelines. Take extra precautions and consider being tested if you have engaged in higher risk activities such as travel to an area with high levels of COVID 19, attending a large social gathering, being in crowds, or travel on a boat.

Student Workers

USC is currently in Phase 2 of its 'Roadmap to Return.' During this phase, student work that can be conducted remotely should continue to be done remotely. On-campus employment is limited, approved on a case-by-case basis, and is dependent on public health guidelines. These types of positions include resident advisors and approved research support.

In Phase 3, student work that can be conducted remotely should continue to be done remotely. On-campus student employment will be expanded to permit hiring to support the level and density of campus operations.

Federal work-study aid may be reduced or replaced for students with need who are receiving the Living at Home Grant. We are pursuing additional ways to help students awarded work-study who may have difficulty obtaining a job. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Health Insurance

  • Employees (and covered dependents) enrolled in the USC Trojan Care EPOand USC PPO plans will have the care they receive covered if diagnosed as having COVID-19. Out-of-pocket expenses for the focused test used to diagnose COVID-19 will also be waived.
  • Employees (and covered dependents) enrolled in the Anthem HMO health plan will have the care and treatment they receive covered if diagnosed with COVID-19. Anthem will also waive out-of-pocket expenses for the focused test used to diagnose COVID-19, and for the care visit where the test takes place.
  • For employees (and covered dependents) enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente HMO, cost sharing (deductibles, copayments and coinsurance) will be reduced to zero ($0.00) for medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19, including the visit, associated lab testing, and radiology services in a plan hospital, emergency or urgent care setting, or medical office. If a member is diagnosed with COVID-19, all treatment including – but not limited to – the hospital, transportation and pharmacy services will be covered in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the coverage document for the member’s health plan.

  • At this time, employees enrolled in the USC Trojan Care EPO and USC PPO plans are required to pay their standard co-pay for consultation.
  • Employees enrolled in the Anthem HMO and MyChoice Anthem HMO can access virtual care at no out-of-pocket cost. More information can be found here.
  • Kaiser Permanente members can connect to care anytime, anywhere. To make an appointment, call 1-833-KP4CARE (1-833-574-2273) or 711 (TTY) Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Employees can also schedule appointments online at org/getcare or with the Kaiser Permanente app.

Workers’ Compensation

Employees working from home who are injured while performing work duties may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The reporting process is the same as if you were working on campus and begins with the employee notifying their supervisor. The workers’ compensation documentation must be completed, and Broadspire (our claims company) must be called at 800-495-2315.

If an employee contracts COVID-19 while performing work functions, employee may submit a workers’ compensation claim, which will go through the standard claim decision-making process. Access the workers’ compensation claim form.

Child Care

USC child care centers are doing the following to protect our littlest Trojans:

  • Following all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health authorities;
  • Staffing to ensure they adhere to social distancing mandates;
  • Adhering to additional safety and cleanliness precautions, including temperature screenings for anyone entering their facilities, including both children and employees.

The child care centers are considered essential services and will remain open. If at any time this changes, parents will be notified immediately.

USC and Bright Horizons work together to ensure timely communication with the families enrolled in their programs. Parents are encouraged to ensure their center has the family’s most current contact information and local emergency contact.

Yes. The 30-day notification for withdrawal has been waived. If parents are interested in re-enrolling their children for the fall semester, they will need to pay the $100 registration fee. Re-enrollment for the fall semester would need to take place within 14 calendar days of the end of the COVID-19 work from home period. More information about this due date will be communicated as changes in state, county and local mandates are confirmed.

Yes, employees whose child care center is closed or who do not need child/dependent care at this time because they are working from home can suspend their dependent flexible spending account, as these situations meet the criteria for a qualifying event. To do this, please log in to Workday.

Although the USC child care centers limit care to children age six and under, the Bright Horizons back-up care program (see question below) has varying age limits.

For employees who must come into the office and require back-up child care, it may be available through Bright Horizons (First time users, click on "First time user" at the bottom, then on the sign-up page use username: USoCal, password: Benefits4You). Bright Horizons can also be reached at 877-BHCares (877-242-2737), or though their smartphone apps (iOS or Android). Note: Benefits may vary by location, and some employees are governed by contracts that do not include these benefits; check directly with Bright Horizons.

Employees also may access Sittercity, a web resource that can be used to find child care. Visit the Access Sittercity website, and then click on “Use it” next to “Find Sitter, Nannies and Housekeepers.”

During this situation, the limit on days of back-up care has been waived. USC has secured the following co-pays through Bright Horizons:

  • $15/day per child
  • $25/day for up to three children
  • $6/hour should you require in-home care

COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law

Onsite employees (employees who must leave their homes to perform work on behalf of the university, including at non-USC locations) may be eligible for COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.

Employees who solely perform their work at home do not qualify.

(Food sector workers who qualified for supplemental paid sick leave under the Governor’s Executive Order effective April 16, 2020 continue to be eligible for supplemental paid sick leave but do not receive any additional hours with the passage of this new law.)

A link to the California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave poster for non-food sector employees can be found here. A link to the California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave poster for food sector workers can be found here.

COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave can be taken for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • the employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19; or
  • the employee is prohibited from working by the university due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19.

Eligible employees should submit a time off request through their normal time off request system and select COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Pay as the code.

The amount of COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave pay will depend on the eligible employee’s regular rate of pay or salary compensation. However, the amount of Supplemental Sick Leave pay will not exceed $5,110 for all hours of supplemental paid sick leave used.

Full-time employees: 80 hours

Part-time workers with a normal schedule: The total number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work over a two-week period

Part-time workers with a variable weekly schedule:

  • If an employee who works a variable weekly schedule has worked for USC for six months, the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave hours will be 14 times the average number of hours worked each day in the six months preceding the date the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave is requested.
  • If an employee has not been employed for six months, the look back period will be the time the employee has been employed. If an employee has been employed for 14 days or less, the leave time will depend on the number of hours worked to date.

Example - Part-time employee who has worked for USC for at least 6 months: The example below calculates the number of supplemental paid sick leave hours for a part-time worker with a variable schedule over the past six months; the figure is determined based on the total number of days in the 6-month period, not just the number of days worked – a total of 182 days (26 weeks):

      • Total # of hours worked during 6-month period: 520 hours
      • Total # of days in 6-month period: 182 days
      • Average # of hours worked each day in 6-month period: 520 hours ÷ 182 days = 2.857 hours
      • COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Entitlement: 2.857 x 14 = 40 hours

Example - Part-time employee who has worked for USC for less than 6 months: The example below calculates the number of supplemental paid sick leave hours for a newly hired part-time worker who has worked 14 days or less. In this specific example, the new worker has worked for a total of two days — one day for one hour and a second day for six hours over the past two weeks:

        • Total # of hours worked during the 2-week period: 7 hours
        • Total # of days in 2-week period: 14 days
        • Average # of hours worked each day in the 2-week period: 7 hours ÷ 14 days = 0.5 hours
        • COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Entitlement: 0.5 hours x 14 = 7 hours

General Questions

Parking will remain free for all USC faculty, staff and students through Dec. 31, 2020. See the FAQs for additional details.

All non-essential USC business travel remains suspended until further notice. See additional travel guidance.

To support members of the Trojan family affected by COVID-19, the university established funds for students, employees, the community and Keck Medicine. For more information on how to donate to or apply for support from these funds, please visit our support funds page.