Important: please review these links if you are ill with Covid-19.
Will 360-Degree surveys be part of my performance appraisal this year?
No. President’s team has determined that these surveys will not be conducted this year, except for a few special circumstances.
Adjunct, Temporary, or Additional Assignment ContractsAdjunct credit and noncredit contracts issued for payment of wages should be emailed to Human Resources folder, HumanResources@howardcc.edu with Attn: Michele Lewis in the subject line.Temporary and Additional Assignment contracts issued for payment of wages should be emailed to Human Resources folder, HumanResources@howardcc.edu with Attn: Portia Logan in the subject line.
Employee Assistance Program
What resources are available to me via the Employee Assistance Program?
Employee Assistance Program
All full-time staff and faculty, and part-time budget employees can receive support through the employee assistance program (EAP). The EAP is managed through BHS. Resources include guidance on managing anxiety while working remotely and working from home with kids. In addition, BHS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week If you need to speak with someone, call 800-327-2251.
Aetna and Kaiser
We encourage employees to create online accounts with Aetna or Kaiser to take advantage of telemedicine services, COVID-19-related information and other online services. Visit www.kp.org or www.aetna.com to create an account and/or access online resources. If you do not know your member ID, you can use your SSN to create an account.
Employee Helping Hands Fund
The Employee Helping Hands Fund assists employees with daily living expenses during times of financial need. If you or someone you know at HCC requires this type of monetary assistance, please have them contact members of the human resources office (443-518-1100) to begin the process. Employees may also request assistance by submitting a helping hands fund application form, which is available on the portal, to the office of human resources. All requests are confidential.
Employees eligible to participate include full- and part-time budgeted employees regardless of service time, and adjunct faculty and temporary employees with at least five years of service. Exceptions to the eligibility requirements may only be made with approval from the president or vice president.
Human resources personnel will review the information after receipt of the formal written request. Please be advised that the request may be approved for the amount requested, approved for a different amount, or denied. If approved, a check will be mailed within two to five working days of the request.
FFCRAThe Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. For more information click here.
Leave Balance and High Risk
What if I am considered at high risk for exposure?
- If you are an employee that is at higher risk for serious illness because of age or a serious long-term health issue and are concerned about your safety, please contact Andrea Black (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Joseph Pettiford (email@example.com) for guidance.
What do I do if I am running out of leave?
- If you are sick or need to care for a sick family member (as defined by the college's Sick and Disability Leave or Absence Procedure 63.08.14) and have exhausted all forms of earned leave (sick, vacation, personal), the college will consider advancing up to 10 days of sick leave. This leave must be repaid when you return to work, over a period of time. If you leave employment prior to repayment, your last paycheck will be adjusted accordingly.
- For approval of advanced sick leave, submit the Leave Request form to Andrea Black at firstname.lastname@example.org. Immediate supervisors may submit an email to Andrea with the request form attached, authorizing such.
Life Events or a Family Member Impact
What if I have a life event or a family member has a loss of a job that impacts me or one of my dependents’ medical coverage?
If you have a life event that impacts your healthcare coverage or that of a family dependent, regardless of household arrangements, immediately contact Human Resources, Natasha Gray, benefits manager at email@example.com for guidance.
MailroomThe mailroom will not deliver mail during this period because mail cannot be left outside locked office doors. Several areas have arranged to obtain their mail. Other office areas that expect mail can pick up mail by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To make an appointment, call the mailroom at extension 1910.
How does remote working affect my paycheck?
- Hourly/temporary employees should continue to report to their supervisors for work assignments. The college is currently paying hourly employees, who typically work a regular schedule, their average weekly hours worked, up to 25 hours. These hours will be prorated for days in the pay period.
- The college will continue to evaluate the financial situation and the impact of the coronavirus on the budget. Employees will be notified of any change that would be necessary
Full and part-time budgeted employees
- Similar to a weather closing, all full and part-time budgeted faculty and staff will continue to be paid their regular pay.
- We are not charging individuals for leave at this point, but this action may be needed, depending on how long this situation continues. Full and part-time budgeted employees are still continuing to accrue leave unless they have reached the maximum limit.
- Budgeted employees should continue to track their hours and submit through the biweekly or monthly timesheets.
Professional Development Hours
What if I have not completed my required Professional Development (PD) hours for the program year, will I be penalized?
No. The president’s team has relaxed the annual PD credits required for the FY20 program year. A separate collegewide message was sent on March 30, 2020, from human resources, regarding this new guidance.
However, you are encouraged to complete Index #1969 - Sexual Harassment and Index #4981- Emergency Operations. Seeking out additional training during this time is a productive way to spend downtime.
The requirements for PD in FY21 remain the same, meaning all employees must complete the required annual refresher trainings (Emergency Operations and Harassment Awareness and Avoidance) and the additional 10 hours, which can be earned through resources of your choice, by March 31, 2021.
With the move to remote classes and services, how does my work change?
Faculty and staff should telework and complete their work remotely.
The only faculty and staff allowed on campus are those authorized employees who are responsible for maintaining critical operations. Each authorized employee should have an email or printed copy of the emailed ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL EXEMPTION letter from the college president. Employees must be able to present this letter to demonstrate they are authorized to travel and be on campus. In addition, they are expected to follow social distancing recommendations on campus, which include staggered schedules, supervisor-approved alternating work days and teleworking, as applicable.
Employees who are unsure of their work location or who have other questions should contact their supervisor.
See our tips for home office ergonomics to improve your remote experience.
Retirement Plans - CARES Act
Federal Government CARES Act provisions affecting TIAA, Fidelity, Valic and Vanguard retirement plans
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by the president on March 27 and provides options for you to consider as you navigate financial decisions in the coming months. As always, we recommend reaching out to your designated financial consultant to review your current situation–along with short- and long-term financial goals–before making any decisions. In addition, employees can also seek guidance from HR about all other HCC options available prior to making a final decision to make withdrawals.
HCC has chosen to adopt the following CARES Act provisions for our retirement plan(s):
- Penalties and withholding are waived for qualified distributions from retirement plan accounts
- Retirement plan loan limits have been increased
- ·Optional suspension of required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020
In addition to these CARES Act relief measures, the deadline for 2019 Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contributions has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020.
What does this mean for you?
We know that keeping you and your family healthy and safe amid the challenges surrounding COVID-19 needs to be your first priority. That’s why we’re working with our retirement plan partners to break down the provisions in the Act to make them easier to understand so you can determine if they may be right for you.
Retirement plan withdrawals and loans
Who is eligible?
- You are considered eligible to take distributions/loans from your retirement plan if any of the below conditions are met:
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a test approved from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- You have a spouse or dependent who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- You suffer financial consequences as a result of quarantine, employment furlough, layoffs, reduced work hours or cannot work due to lack of child care as a result of coronavirus
- You experience a financial loss to an individually owned or operated business that is caused by a closing or reduction of hours due to coronavirus
- Other factors as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate
How can the Act help if you are eligible?
Penalties and withholding are waived for qualified distributions from retirement plan accounts
Provided the above eligibility criteria are met, the CARES Act waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty and eliminates the 20% withholding for coronavirus-related distributions of up to $100,000 across qualified retirement plans and IRAs. Note: While the 20% withholding will not be taken from distributions, you will have the option to add withholding if you want.
Distributions will be subject to taxation, and you will have the option to pay taxes due over a three-year period. We suggest you consult with your personal tax advisor.
The Act also allows you to reinvest withdrawn funds within three years regardless of that year’s contribution limit, making it easier to replace the amount of your distribution in your retirement account.
Retirement plan loan limits are increased
Maximum retirement plan loan limits have been increased from $50,000 or 50% of vested account balances to $100,000 or 100% of the vested account balance for loans made within 180 days of enactment of the CARES Act on March 27th.
This is also dependent on the loan policy, the type of loan, the number of loans allowed and limits offered within our plan. Please contact your vendor for more information regarding loan eligibility.
If you choose to take a loan, you will be asked to self-certify that you meet the requirements for a coronavirus-related loan. The loan approval process will remain the same as it does for non-coronavirus-related loans.
If you have existing retirement plan loan payments, you may be able to defer payments for one year and extend the term of your loan by one year.
For retirement plan distributions and loans, electronic funds transfer (EFT) for faster delivery of funds are encouraged when possible.
Suspension of required minimum distributions (RMDs)
Contact the appropriate vendor additional information and relief support if you would like to cancel your RMD and restart it in 2021.
Other changes to consider
Tax filing and payment changes
The Treasury has extended federal tax filing and IRA contribution deadlines. The federal deadline for filing a 2019 tax return—and any corresponding 2019 IRA contributions outside of your retirement plan—has been extended to July 15, 2020.
Student loans and stimulus payments
Borrowers who have certain federal student loans have the opportunity to defer payments until later in the year, and qualified taxpayers meeting specific single/joint filing criteria may be eligible to receive stimulus payments. Please consult your personal tax advisor or your loan provider for additional information.
If you meet the eligibility criteria detailed above and would like to speak to a financial consultant, or would like to request loans or distributions, you can do so by logging in to your online account or calling. You can also visit the appropriate vendor website for more information on the provisions of the CARES Act and other changes to consider. We recommend reviewing all of your options prior to making a decision.
Designated Financial Consultant
William Ross, William.RossIV@tiaa.org
Punchai Vutiprichar, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Misterek, email@example.com
Can I still schedule meetings?
No in-person meetings should be held for anyone working remotely. All meetings have moved to a Zoom format.
For authorized employees required to be on campus, in-person meetings are only allowed if the number of participants remains under 10, seating at least 6 feet apart is available, and hand-shaking or other physical contact is avoided.
Securing Zoom Meetings
What are the best ways to secure Zoom meetings?
- Require a meeting password to prevent anyone without the password to enter a meeting. Please remind meeting participants not to share the password.
- Ensure your Zoom application is the latest version. When prompted to update the application, please click to update to address any issues or bugs with the system.
- Enable waiting rooms for office hours or individual meetings. Options can be selected for “guests only” to allow users logged in with @howardcc.edu to join the meeting automatically.
- Disable participant screen sharing. HCC has already taken this action globally to prevent individuals other than the host from sharing their screens. This can be done by clicking the arrow next to “share screen” and choosing advanced sharing options. If you need to allow screen sharing for classes or team meetings, the host can grant sharing one by one.
- Keep your meeting ID private. Your personal meeting ID never changes. If given out, individuals will be able to check if there is a meeting in progress and potentially join if a password has not been configured. Instead of using your personal meeting ID, allow Zoom to generate a new meeting ID each time by checking generate automatically next to meeting ID.
- Be careful about taking pictures of Zoom meetings. Older versions of Zoom show the meeting ID at the top of the screen, so pictures could reveal the meeting ID and, if not protected with a password, allow anyone to join. The newest version of Zoom does not show the meeting ID at the top.
- Lock meetings to manage participants. This option prevents anyone else from entering the current meeting or class once everyone has joined.
All Zoom hosts should know how to remove participants that are unwanted, mute participants, and stop screen shares (if they allow them). These steps always give the host control of the meeting.
If anyone acts inappropriately during a Zoom meeting, it is either a student code of conduct issue or human resources matter. If this occurs, take the steps necessary to report the incident, just as you would if on campus.
What if a person living in the same household is on self-quarantine? Do I have to stay home as well?
Authorized employees whose household is on self-quarantine must stay home. You may use safe/sick leave or telework with your supervisor’s approval. Please refer to the safe/sick leave policy to determine if the member of the household qualifies you for sick leave usage.
The college will advance safe/sick leave, if no accrued leave is available, capped at 10 days for employees who are impacted by an individual living in the immediate household under quarantine (immediate documentation not required). Any advanced leave is repayable to the college as annual and sick leave balances accrue.
Questions? Contact Human Resources at HR@howardcc.edu.
What technology resources are available for working remotely?
- Resources for working remotely.
- If an employee begins teleworking due to circumstances resulting from COVID-19, and does not have a current, approved telework application on file, the employee can submit a telework application to their immediate supervisor clearly denoting “COVID-19” as the justification. The form will need to be electronically approved before an employee can begin teleworking. If an employee has already submitted an approved telework application and will be temporarily adjusting their telework schedule, a new application is not needed.
Technology Service CenterWith remote teaching and working, many of us will be working flexible schedules. Please understand that the Technology Service Center is only available to help during their operating hours. The hours are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–11 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1–10 p.m. The Technology Service Center is not 24 hours a day.
How do I complete timesheets?
Please note that there are new forms on the timesheets MyHCC page. For hours worked via teleworking, please mark the telework column.
For hours not worked as a result of work schedule adjustments related to actions the college took in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), please mark that in the “other” column with the code CO19.
For those select authorized employees who may be working on campus, there is no need to mark any leave or special column for those hours worked.
Hourly Employees (Time period March 15-31) Pay date April 15
For hourly employees who are working, please continue to submit your hours online through MyHCC.
Hourly employees that are not eligible to work during this time period will be paid based on their average weekly hours worked during the last three pay periods, up to 25 hours. There is no need to enter these hours into MyHCC.
Should an hourly employee’s hours be limited due to remote work and are less than their average normal hours, they would be paid for the differential, up to 25 hours. The difference should NOT be reported through MyHCC but will be added to their pay for that time period.
For budgeted employees that use the semi-monthly or monthly timesheets, please continue to submit these files to your supervisor who will approve and submit them to the payroll department. Budgeted employees will be paid their regular wages. Employees should complete their semi-monthly or monthly time reports, and then email the completed forms to their supervisors.
- For any time worked at home, those hours should be documented in the telework column. There is no need to mark anything in the notes or other column.
- For any time not worked as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, these hours should be marked in the other column, and the note should be COVID-19.
- If you are taking vacation, sick, or personal leave, use the appropriate column.
- Any combination of telework, leave, or COVID-19 designation is acceptable if the combination of leave is used within the same day.
Once supervisors have reviewed and approved, they can email the form with their approval to the payroll email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have been laid off as a result of COVID-19 and are interested in filing a claim for unemployment insurance, the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance will make a determination whether you qualify to receive benefits.
Please utilize the Beacon one-stop application to file your unemployment claim. You may access the application 24/7 except between the hours of 1 - 3 am. You can also apply by phone between 7:30 am - 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday, at 410-949-0022 (within the Baltimore-metro area and out-of-state) or 800-827-4839 (from within Maryland).