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Frequently Asked Questions about H1N1 Flu - Employees

With the H1N1 virus, staff and students are encouraged to report empty soap dispensers or any undesirable restroom conditions by calling FM Customer Service at ext. 3711 OR Building Services ext. 2067 for a prompt response.

I am concerned about being exposed to the H1N1 flu at work. Do I need to report to work?

Yes, please report for work unless otherwise directed. As SIUE employees, everyone has an obligation to keep programs and offices running to the fullest extent possible, even in a crisis. SIUE will do everything in its power to reduce the risk of exposure in the workplace. If you are at high risk for complications you should contact your healthcare professional for additional assistance.

What if I have been exposed to the flu but have no symptoms?

In general the current recommendations state that individuals without symptoms can continue their normal activities in and out of the workplace.

If I'm experiencing flu-like symptoms, what should I do?

Stay home or go home. Minimizing the spread of the virus is critical. If you think you are coming down with, or have the flu, contact your supervisor or department (as appropriate) and stay out of the workplace.

When can I return to work?

The CDC recommends that you wait until you are free of fever for at least 24 hours before you return to work.

Must I have a doctor's release to return to work?

Employees may be required to provide a doctor's release before returning to work.

What if I suspect that a coworker has the flu, or has been exposed to it?

Please discuss your concerns with your supervisor. In spite of these concerns however, employees are expected to work unless granted approved leave. We recommend that individuals who do not have symptoms follow their normal routine.

What type of leave is available to me in the case of this H1N1 influenza outbreak or pandemic?

The University's regular leave policies cover all types of absences and illnesses including the H1N1 influenza. There are no separate policies establishing special types of leave relating to an influenza outbreak or possible pandemic. All current available forms of leave; sick, vacation, or built up compensatory time may be considered for use in the event of an influenza outbreak pandemic. Employees should consult their most recent timecard to view their available vacation, sick, or compensatory time available.

Civil Services employees should review:

Faculty, Professional and Administrative staff employees should review:

May my supervisor send me home if I exhibit flu-like symptoms at work?

Employees exhibiting symptoms can and will be sent home. The employee's continued presence must pose no risk to the health of the employee, other employees and students in order to remain at work. Employees ordinarily will not be sent home unless they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms. An employee should consult their healthcare professional if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

If I am sent home from work due to flu illness, are those days charged against my accrued sick leave?

When an employee is sick and not at work, sick time will be recorded for your absence. In accordance with Civil Service policies and/or applicable collective bargaining agreement, Civil Service employees may be eligible to utilize their available extended sick leave.

Civil Services employees should review:

Faculty, Professional and Administrative staff employees should review:

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What if an employee refuses to go home and they are sick?

Employees are required to leave the university if they are sick and contagious. Infected employees pose a threat to the other employees and students and could spread the flu. If a supervisor believes an employee has flu like symptoms, including a fever, the supervisor will ask the employee to go home. Supervisors will have disposable thermometers available if an employee would like to take their own temperature. If the employee refuses to leave, the supervisor should contact their respective director. The director will contact Health Services to speak with a nurse regarding the employee's symptoms. The director and Health Services will make the decision together as to whether the employee will be required to go home. Employees who refuse to go home will be considered insubordinate and may be subject to disciplinary action.

May I be sent home due to the H1N1 flu even if I have no sick time available?

Yes. Employees may use vacation leave and any built up compensatory time to cover days missed. Employees will be encouraged to use available compensatory time. However, employees may decide whether to use vacation leave to cover the days missed. Employees without leave available will be recorded as "absent without pay" for those days with no leave to cover the absence. Available compensatory time must be exhausted before employees will be recorded as "absent without pay".

What does "absent without pay" mean and how does this affect me?

"Absent without pay" means that you are not at work and will not be paid for this time missed.

May employees be asked to perform other job duties than their regular job?

Employees may be asked to perform additional job duties. Departments must contact the Office of Human Resource before changes are made to employee's work duties so that the supervisor can make an informed decision regarding changing an employee's work assignments. Employees will be compensated in accordance with civil service statutes and/or the terms of their respective collective bargaining agreement for time worked including overtime if necessary.

Can my supervisor schedule me to work hours or shifts that I do not normally work?

You may be asked to work more hours or different hours, especially if your position is considered an essential service position or the university is short-staffed as a result of a flu outbreak. In some departments (such as Dining Services), employees may be assigned to work in other areas within the department.

If the university is closed by Administrative Closure, are employees required to use leave time to remain in pay status?

When the university is closed by the Chancellor as an Administrative Closure, hourly employees are paid for those closure days as an Administrative Closure at their regular rate of pay. Salaried employees are paid their normal salary. Departments will follow their normal procedures regarding any type of Administrative Closure.

I have a vacation scheduled. Is there a chance my supervisor will cancel my vacation?

The University may have the right to cancel any pre-approved vacation request, especially in circumstances where staff shortages occur as a result of illness. Your vacation may also be cancelled if your job is considered an essential service position. If this situation arises, the department should consult with the Office of Human Resources. You will need to communicate with your supervisor before making any vacation plans.

If an employee believes they caught the flu from another employee or a student at work, will this be a covered Worker's Compensation claim?

Temporary illnesses, such as the flu, are not typically considered a work-related injury under the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act. However, the University encourages employees to consult with the Offices of Human Resources in order to verify whether the employee's particular situation may be covered.

I am an employee who is not sick but my children are sick and they cannot go to school or daycare. I have no one else to care for my children what options do I have?

Depending on your employment status, you may use available sick leave or vacation leave to be away from work. You will need to contact your supervisor immediately and obtain approval from your supervisor in order to use your leave time. You will be required to keep your supervisor notified of your anticipated return to work date.

Civil Services employees should review:

Faculty, Professional and Administrative staff employees should review:

What if my children's school or day care has been closed?

You may use available vacation leave to be away from work. You will need to contact your supervisor immediately and obtain approval from your supervisor in order to use your vacation time. You will be required to keep your supervisor notified of your anticipated return to work date and your supervisor may require a record of the school district or day care being closed. If your employment is considered an essential position, you may be required to report to work.

Is the H1N1 flu a condition that will qualify me for the use of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave?

FMLA may be available with regard to the employee's own serious health condition or for the care of a family member with a serious health condition. For more information on FMLA review the website below or contact Benefits at extension 2190.

What if an employee becomes severely ill and cannot contact their supervisor?

If an employee is too ill to contact their supervisor, the employee should ask another family member or friend to contact the employee's supervisor or other co-worker who can pass on the information to the supervisor. The family member or friend may also contact the Office of Human Resources at 650-2190 and Human Resources will notify the supervisor of the absence.

I am an employee who has other medical concerns. Will I be allowed to work from home if I am afraid of contracting the flu?

This University does not currently have a work at home policy. The decision to work from home will be made on a case by case basis by the respective Vice Chancellor.

I would like to wear a mask to work to reduce my chances of getting the H1N1 flu. Is this okay?

An employee may wear a surgical mask at work as a preventative measure as long as it does not unreasonably interfere or disrupt the employee's job performance and/or duties. The University will not provide masks to employee, so acquiring a mask will be left to the employee.

Will travel on behalf of the university still be permitted?

The university will follow travel guidelines by the CDC. See link below:

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