COVID-19 FAQ’s for state employees

TSEA March 27, 2020 Comments Off on COVID-19 FAQ’s for state employees
COVID-19 FAQ’s for state employees

Should state employees be working from home right now?

Yes, if you have been trained and certified to work from home.

On Friday, March 13, Gov. Bill Lee issued the following guidance for state employees:

Effective immediately, state employees who have been trained and certified to work from home within the state’s Alternative Workplace Solutions (AWS) program will work from home through March 31, 2020.

(On Tuesday, March 24, Gov Lee provided guidance to state employees who are currently working from home within the Alternative Workplace Solutions program (AWS) to remain working from home until April 24.)

Many departments have indicated to TSEA that they are making every effort to shift people to work from home where possible.

How long should state employees who are AWS certified expect to work from home?

As of Tuesday, March 24, Gov. Lee has asked state employees who are currently working from home within the Alternative Workplace Solutions program (AWS) to remain working from home until April 24.

What if I am not certified to work from home?

At this time, unless you are AWS certified, TSEA recommends employees continue to report to work until told otherwise, or they become sick. If employees have a condition that places them at high risk, they can use their sick time or ask for an accommodation. Keep in mind, things are changing rapidly every day.

Many departments have indicated to TSEA that they are making every effort to shift people to work from home where possible.

What if I am not certified to work AWS but have been diagnosed with COVID-19, will I need to use regular sick leave or will paid leave be granted?

DOHR is encouraging all employees to work from home if possible, even if they are not experiencing symptoms.

But, if work from home is not possible and the employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined by a health professional, then paid administrative leave should be granted to that employee for up to ten workdays as recommended by that health professional, with the approval of their appointing authority. For employees who are otherwise ill, sick leave should be used.

The State Group Insurance Program has approved waiving all costs for COVID-19 in-network testing and in-network outpatient visits associated with these tests for ALL health plan members – in all plans, and with both carriers: BlueCross BlueShield and Cigna.

You can learn more details here: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/finance/fa-benefits/documents/coronavirus_public_info.pdf

Gov. Lee’s recent Executive Orders close all non-essential businesses, and require Tennesseans to stay home, do I still need to report to work?

Yes. Unless you are AWS certified, TSEA recommends employees continue to report to work until told otherwise, or they become sick.

Gov. Lee during his Thursday, April 2 press briefing on COVID-19 announced Executive Order 23, which amends Executive Order 22 to require Tennesseans to stay home unless engaging in essential activities or essential services. Executive Order 22 urged Tennesseans to “stay at home when at all possible,” and ordered all non-essential businesses to close for two weeks. All remaining provisions of Executive Order 22 remain in full force and effect.

For purposes of Executive Order No. 22, Essential Services include all services provided by the State, the political subdivisions of the State, and boards, commissions, or agencies of government needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies or to provide for or support the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

For more information about Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 22, click here.

For more information about Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 23, click here.

What if I live in a County/City under a Safer at Home order, but am not AWS certified, do I still need to report to work?

Yes. The Mayors of several cities in TN have announced “Safer at Home” orders directing all residents of their city and/or county to stay inside their homes, and limit all movement outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs. However, Federal and state offices and services are considered essential under these orders and will remain open.

Here are links to some of the FAQs regarding the recent Safer at Home Orders:

Nashville: https://www.asafenashville.org/safer-at-home-order/

Memphis: https://covid19.memphistn.gov/faq-safer-at-home/

Knox County: https://covid.knoxcountytn.gov/safer-at-home.html

Sumner County: https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/wsmv.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/48/24866c70-6d15-11ea-848c-971a2c42a856/5e78cbfad4d76.pdf.pdf

Is the TSEA Office Open?

TSEA remains operational; However, as a result of Nashville’s Safer at Home order, the TSEA office must close its physical location. Staff members continue to work from alternate worksites and are available by phone and email during normal business hours.

To contact us, call the office at 615-256-4533 or 800-251-8732, or you can email the appropriate staff member directly. To view our staff directory, visit the member side of the website here: https://tseaonline.org/member-l…/member-log-in/contact-us-2/

If you do not have the member password, please email chris.dauphin@tseaonline.org. You can also message us through our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/tseaonline.

Are TSEA Chapters holding meetings?

In order to comply and align with Gov. Lee’s Executive Order #17, TSEA has canceled all in-person chapter meetings through April 15.

However, TSEA has a free conference call number for any chapter desiring to use it. Conference call access requests must be made through our Membership Manager Lisa Moffett. She can be reached by phone at 423-571-0094 or by email, lisa.moffett@tseaonline.org

Gov. Bill Lee on Sunday issued Executive Order 17 prohibiting social gatherings of 10 or more people until midnight CDT April 6.

To view Gov.
Lee’s order, click here:

https://www.tn.gov/governor/news/2020/3/22/gov–bill-lee-signs-executive-order-mandating-alternative-business-models-for-restaurants-and-gyms–lifts-alcohol-regulations.html

Other Helpful Links:

State of TN COVID-19 information https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html

Helpful Coronavirus Links for State and Higher Ed Employees (updated frequently) https://tseaonline.org/helpful-coronavirus-links-for-state-and-higher-ed-employees/

Thank you for all you continue to do for Tennessee during this uniquely challenging time and forbeing members of TSEA.