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.

Work Environment

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

Employees and supervisors returning to work on campus should visit the COVID-19 resources page on the Manager Gateway to view the appropriate return to work guidelines, and the employee accountability matrix.

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

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.