Coronavirus resources for employees

For the latest updates on University operations, consult the McGill coronavirus site.

FAQs

Working during the closure

Are staff expected to work remotely during the suspension period?

Yes. Employees are asked to work remotely when possible.

Employees who are required to be on campus to provide necessary functions will be notified by their supervisors.

As per clarifications from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the University confirms that all regular and contractual University employees who have a valid contract after May 1, including casual and work study employees who were scheduled to work, will continue to be paid.

What if it is not feasible to work from home?

Employees will be required on campus to perform necessary functions and activities that cannot be performed off campus. The necessary functions and activities will be determined by the heads of each unit.

Can I come into work on campus during the suspension period?

Building access is restricted to employees who need to provide necessary functions. Employees who are required to be on campus to provide necessary functions will be notified by their supervisors.

Are tools available to hold virtual meetings or to enable collaboration?

Please see IT’s website, Working Remotely, which provides extensive information.

  • Zoom is available to instructors, and reserved for teaching and learning activities
  • MS Teams is available to all employees for collaborative work (web conferencing, chat, etc.)
  • WebEx is available to employees for all Web conferencing needs.

Does McGill plan to lay off employees?

The University will do its very best to avoid laying people off, even in this unprecedented and unpredictable global crisis. Budget measures have been implemented to reduce expenses, especially non-salary expenses. To help avoid layoffs, many duties and work processes will have to be adapted to the reality of COVID-19. Ultimately, we need to work together to protect the essential academic mission of McGill, maintain the financial wellbeing of our University and minimize the impact of the pandemic on employees.

Can I contact Human Resources during the closure period?

Human Resources will continue to serve our community during the closure period. Please feel free to reach out to us at the following email addresses: hr.hr [at] mcgill.ca or by phone at 514-398-4747. You can also reach out to your local HR Advisor.

Health and self-isolation

What does self-isolation mean? What does it entail for employees?

  • You are asked to self-isolate if you have returned from abroad since March 12, or experienced close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. In self-isolation, you must stay at home, avoid contact with other people, and monitor for symptoms during the incubation period, which has been identified as 14 days.
  • You are asked to isolate if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, are awaiting test results or have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In isolation, you must stay at home and avoid contact with other people until your Public Health Authority advises you that you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others.

Employees can find out more about the recommended practices of isolation and self-isolation by consulting the Government of Quebec COVID-19 webpage.

How will employees required to be absent from work due to self-isolation be affected?

When feasible, they will be invited to work from home. If working from home is not feasible, they will be considered on a paid leave of absence during the suspension period.

How do I report that I am self-isolating, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19?

  • Employees who are required to be on campus to provide necessary activities, but are unable to do so because they must self-isolate, must use the self-declaration form.
  • Employees who are NOT required to be on campus do not need to report that they are self-isolating.

Why are employees with a weakened immune system, chronic condition or aged 70 years or older being asked to identify their condition?

Public health authorities recognize that the COVID-19 virus presents a higher risk to those with a weakened immune system, a chronic condition (such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, etc.) or aged 70 years or older.

Employees required to provide necessary activities and functions on campus who have a weakened immune system, chronic condition or are aged 70 years and older, should remain at home. They must send an email to disability.hr [at] mcgill.ca to inform them of their situation. The Disability Management unit (HR) will contact them to document their condition.

What if an employee does not want to come into work because they fear for their safety?

Employees should contact their manager to discuss their specific situation and concerns. Please keep in mind that our workplace is still a safe environment. The measures that have been put in place are meant to limit the propagation for the virus. Therefore, we ask all our employees who are coming into work to apply the basic hygiene precautions, such as hand washing and social distancing, as recommended by the authorities.

If employees have reasonable grounds to believe the workplace presents unsafe working conditions, they may initiate a work refusal process in accordance with the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety. The law provides that an employee has a right to refuse to perform particular work if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the performance of that work would expose them to danger to their health, safety or physical well-being, or would expose another person to a similar danger.

This process must be documented by the immediate supervisor. Without reasonable grounds, a work refusal may be considered an unjustified absence.

Hours and pay

Will casual employees be paid during the suspension period?

All contractual University employees who have a valid contract after May 1, including casual and work study employees who were scheduled to work, will continue to be paid.

What is the process to follow for submitting timesheets?

Casual employees are expected to submit timesheets as if they were at work. Exceptionally during this period, signatures and approval via email are acceptable. Once normal operations resume, paper time sheets must be completed, signed and retained by the unit as a matter of record to ensure compliance.

Am I allowed to work overtime during the closure period?

As per usual practice, overtime must be pre-approved by your manager.

If I’m working from home, do I need to follow the regular schedule?

Employees are expected to be available during their regularly scheduled hours. For individual situations, please contact your manager.

Do I need to take outstanding vacation days before May 31, 2020?

The reference year for vacation purposes is not changed and still runs from June 1 to May 31. Outstanding vacation days should be taken as follows:

Employees who continue to perform their duties, whether on campus or from home, are requested to take any outstanding vacation days before the end of the reference year. Exceptionally and with the Unit Head’s approval, employees who are unable to use all of their vacation prior to May 31 will be permitted to carry over up to 5 vacation days into the next reference year.

Employees who are at home during the closure period and who are unable to perform their duties due to the nature of their tasks, the need to care for children, etc. will be required to take any outstanding vacation days before the end of the reference year. Carry over of unused vacation will not be allowed. This does not apply to employees on sick leave or any other type of paid or unpaid leave such as maternity leave, parental leave, etc., for which the relevant policies and collective agreements' articles will apply.

Childcare and support

What do I do now that daycares and schools are closed?

We ask you to discuss possible arrangements with your immediate supervisor. If working from home is feasible, you will be invited to do so. If working from home is not feasible, because your children require all your attention and care, you will be considered on paid leave of absence.

What happens if I cannot be at work because a family member is in self-isolation and requires assistance?

We ask you to discuss possible arrangements with your immediate supervisor. If working from home is feasible while you assist the person under isolation, you will be invited to do so. Employees who cannot work from home will be considered on paid leave of absence.

This is a stressful time – how can I get assistance?

If you are feeling stressed, you may contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 1-844-880-9142. You can also visit the following website: https://www.mcgill.ca/hr/benefits/eap. Remember that all contact between you and your EAP counsellor is confidential and at no cost to you. Additional staff resources are available on the page below.

Are virtual appointments covered by my plan?

Virtual appointments are an eligible expense provided the health care practitioner is

  • licensed and registered in the province in which they are practicing,
  • has an eligible qualification as determined by Manulife, and
  • is practicing within the guidelines of their governing body.

Any practitioner offering virtual care must first be licensed by their college or governing body. The college/association or governing body and the practitioner’s scope of practice must permit virtual appointments for the service being claimed.

Manulife continues to monitor provincial guidelines about virtual care, which are quickly evolving. Based on information known today,they will consider claims for virtual appointments to be an eligible expense for the following practitioners, subject to the terms of McGill’s contract:

  • Chiropractor
  • Dietitian
  • Occupational therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Speech therapist

Manulife recommends speaking with your professional to confirm the specific services they can deliver online. You should also rely on them to follow the appropriate protocols.

Working Remotely

Access technical information on working during the closure

Staying healthy

Consult our health and wellness resources for staff

Reporting Illness

How to report illness and self-isolation as an employee or student

Discover virtual counselling services available through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

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