Information for Employees

Impacts of COVID-19 on Employees

To ensure the health and well-being of our employees, we ask that you work remotely if possible. Please explore all reasonable avenues to fulfill both your work and family responsibilities. Below you'll find helpful information to help answer your questions about working remotely and COVID-19.

Working remotely
Pay and leave

Please refer to the Employee Leave and Pay Guidelines for information on pay continuance and leaves for each employee group during COVID-19.

The Government of Canada is offering a Canada Emergency Response Benefit and Employment Insurance support in some circumstances.

Hourly employees (including those currently working and those who have been approved on a leave with pay): submit your timesheet on time every day to get paid.

Salaried employees: you will continue to receive your regular monthly payment if you are working. Enter any exception time (i.e., overtime, shift premium, standby by and/or call back) into your timesheet in PeopleSoft. Once approved by your manager or supervisor, it will be paid on the next available pay date.

Casual employees: if you are not working from home or campus and not ill or on an approved leave, you will be paid for all previously scheduled shifts up to March 31, 2020 unless otherwise authorized for longer by a department lead.

Update your address, phone and email in BearTracks.

If Payroll does not have your direct deposit information on file, a cheque will be produced for you and it will be sent via Canada Post to the mailing address on record. NOTE: Use direct deposit to ensure your payment reaches you each period. We cannot guarantee continued operation of Canada Post during the nation’s COVID-19 response.

How to sign up for direct deposit.

NOTE: For students and alumni, direct deposit information is found in two places in Bear Tracks: the Employees section and the Financials section. You must be enrolled in direct deposit in the Employees section to receive your wages, salaries or graduate scholarship payments.

Human Resource Services forms

Effective immediately, the Human Resource Services offices are closed, and staff are working remotely and unable to accept paper forms. Scan or photograph all completed forms and submit by email:

Pay Action Forms are accepted with digital signatures and/or email approvals. Please ensure your approval indicates the name of the person and job action, for example: “I approve the attached hire form for James Smith” and comes from the person responsible for approving the form.

Graduate student payments

In accordance with the GSA Collective Agreement, all academically employed graduate students with graduate teaching assistantship (including principal instructor) appointments, graduate research assistantship appointments, and graduate research assistantship fellowships will continue to be paid until the conclusion of their current appointments.

Immigration information for foreign nationals

Some travel restrictions now apply to foreign nationals who plan to work in Canada. Please review the IRCC Coronavirus Special Measures web page.

Managing childcare
  • Consider all reasonable options for alternative childcare while daycares and schools are closed.
  • Discuss options with your supervisor for modified hours or duties, and if you are still working on campus, discuss working from home.
  • If you are unable to work due to childcare or other family or personal responsibilities, you may use vacation accrual, banked time, or request leave without pay.
Caring for someone with COVID-19
  • Stay home and take all reasonable precautions to protect yourself while you care for the person. Contact Health Link 811 for advice. 
  • Contact your supervisor to advise them of the reason for your absence. If it is feasible, you may be directed to work from home fulfilling your own duties or alternate/modified duties. Discuss options with your supervisor.
  • Leave provisions as per the collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment (e.g., compassionate leave) will be applied.
  • You may use vacation accrual or banked time, or request leave without pay.
  • Employees without pay are encouraged to explore federal income support programs.
Feeling ill
  • Employees experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms (or any illness) should stay home as a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of any virus. 
  • Standard practices for reporting absences due to illness apply. Advise your supervisor, and record your time as required.
  • If you are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms, complete the COVID-19 Self Assessment on the Alberta Health Services website and follow the guidance provided. 
  • If you are ill  and directed to self-isolate, and are still working on campus, contact your supervisor to advise them that you will be absent from work due to illness. Stay in contact with your supervisor to provide updates. A medical note from your doctor is not required.
  • If AHS testing confirms that you have COVID-19 diagnosis, follow their instructions and advise your supervisor as required for illness leave. A medical note from your doctor is not required.
  • If the illness is not COVID-19 related, standard practices for reporting absences due to illness apply. 
Return to work from illness or injury

Employees who have been on illness or injury leave prior to or during the COVID-19 pandemic will be expected to resume work at the point they are deemed fit for work (whether full duties or a gradual return to work). This includes working from home or onsite, as appropriate to the role or unit's circumstances. As per standard practice:

  • Homewood Health will contact both the staff member and manager/supervisor to advise whether the staff member is cleared for regular hours and duties.
  • A University return to work consultant will contact both the employee and manager/supervisor to help develop and implement a modified work plan if there are restrictions or limitations to hours or duties as part of a gradual return to work. 
Please email recovery@ualberta.ca if you have any questions.
Self-isolating but not feeling ill
  • If you are directed to self-isolate, and are still working on campus, contact your supervisor to advise them that you will be absent. Stay in contact with your supervisor to provide updates. A medical note from your doctor is not required.
  • You will be directed to work from home, if feasible. Speak to your supervisor to explore options for working from home at full or modified duties.
  •  If you have already been working from home, advise your supervisor of your situation. 
  • Follow the AHS Self isolation information sheet.
Medical condition that increases risk
  • If you are still working on campus, speak with your supervisor to advise them of your concern. It is not necessary to disclose your medical condition to your supervisor.  
  • Discuss alternatives to modify your work to decrease exposure. If modified duties are not appropriate, you will be expected to work from home if feasible.
  • Follow Alberta’s guidance on preventing and reducing the risk of infection.
Concerned about getting COVID-19 by coming to work
  • If you are still working on campus, contact your supervisor to discuss your concerns. 
  • If there are reasonable grounds for health and safety concerns in the workplace, the issue will be investigated and steps will be taken to remedy the situation. 
  • Protocols outlined in the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act will be followed. 
Colleague tests positive for COVID-19
Alberta Health Services will alert the appropriate people as quickly as possible if a confirmed COVID-19 case is identified.
Mental Health and Well-being

The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing will likely impact our mental health and well-being as we come to terms with our new temporary reality.  All too often, we don't realize the effects of these stressors until it turns to distress. 

Here are some tips to support yourself and those around you:

  • Take breaks from the news. Limit watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing stressful news repeatedly can be upsetting, and it often doesn't include any new information that could be useful. 
  • Take care of your body. This means trying to eat healthy, well-balanced meals. A special treat now and again is encouraged to keep spirits up! Make physical activity a regular part of your routine. Get plenty of sleep, and avoid coping through use of alcohol and drugs. 
  • Take care of your mind. Make time to unwind. Ensure you take part in activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Even if you can't connect in person, there are many options such as Facetime and Skype, phone call, email, text or a handwritten note to ensure your social health is also being looked after. Set up online coffee dates with friends.

Taking the time to care for yourself during this time is essential.

If you’re experiencing stress and anxiety, you can access counselling services over the phone through the University's Employee and Family Assistance Program 24/7 by calling 780-428-7587 or 1-800-663-1142.

Online courses available to you:

  • Taking Control of Stress
  • Building Resilience: Understanding Challenges, Learning Strategies, and Accepting Change
  • Responsible Optimism
  • Managing your Time and Energy

Learn more about these courses and how to take them here.

Here are some helpful resources to strengthen your mental resilience:

Access more articles and e-courses through our mental health partner at homeweb.ca. Note: you will need to register and create an account to access the information. 

Returning from travel outside of Canada
  • Self-isolate for 14 days. See “Directed to self-isolate by AHS; not ill” section.
  • If you are not sick, discuss options with your supervisor for modified hours or duties, or, if you are still working on campus, discuss working from home options.
Travelling outside of Canada

Employees should check the latest COVID-19 travel information and review Human Resource Services’ Travel Health Benefits information.

Employees covered by our Sun Life travel benefits who are stranded outside of Canada will have their Out-of-Country Coverage extended until April 30, 2020. This extension applies even if they are about to reach, or have already reached, their trip duration limit. If you are currently stranded, please call Allianz Global Assistance at the number on the back of your travel benefits card.

Sun Life, the university’s benefits provider, will be treating illness due to COVID-19 as any other medical emergency. This means there will be no exclusion to treating someone because this is an epidemic versus another type of medical emergency. When it comes to extended health care (EHC) and out of country coverage (OOC), Sun Life will provide coverage for expenses incurred for members placed under quarantine in areas identified as high risk by the World Health Organization (WHO) on or after February 1, 2020 related to COVID-19. In order for emergency medical services and expenses to be eligible for coverage, plan members must meet the definitions in the Sun Life contract for “medical emergency” and “emergency services.” Medical emergencies resulting from COVID-19 will be treated in the same way as any other medical emergency outside of Canada.

Have more questions for HR?

COVID-19: Contact Human Resource Services

Use this form only if you are unable to find the answer from your manager/ supervisor, and the content provided above and throughout this website. We’ll triage your questions and try to answer them as quickly as possible.

Resources