Information for Staff

Last updated on May 27, 2020

Updates for staff from Geoffrey S. Swift, Vice President for Finance & Administration, and Treasurer are available here.

What do recent executive orders from Governor Mills mean for Bates and staff who continue to work on campus to support students in residence and other vital operations?

Bates is categorized as essential and remains open to teach the academic program remotely, serve the approximately 100 students remaining in residence on our campus, and maintain the functioning of our campus facilities and systems.

What if I become ill with COVID-19 or think I have been exposed to someone with COVID-19?

We ask that staff and faculty notify their supervisor and do not come to work if they meet any of the below criteria:

  • Any COVID-19-related symptoms
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Or at least two of these symptoms
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
  • Direct exposure to a person who has or is later diagnosed with presumptive or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Exposure to a person who has been directly exposed to a person who has or is later diagnosed with presumptive or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Attendance at a large group gathering where there was a person who has or is later diagnosed with presumptive or confirmed COVID-19.
What if I do not have enough sick time to cover my absence due to the COVID-19?

Any employee who does not have accrued sick time or who exhausts their balance during this period will receive their full pay and benefits and will not be required to use vacation days or take unpaid leave. If you have low paid time off accruals, please speak with Jay Phillips if you are in Facilities Services Operations, Christine Schwartz if you are in DCCE, or your senior staff member.

What if I have a dependent in a daycare and/or school that has closed and my sick time accrual is already depleted or becomes depleted during my time off?

We are following our usual leave policies and employees with available sick time should report absent hours as sick time.  Any employee who, with prior approval, misses work due to dependent coverage during daycare and school closures and has insufficient paid time off will receive their full pay and benefits for time missed. We will be reviewing this policy on an ongoing basis.

If you have low paid time off accruals, please speak with Jay Phillips if you are in Facilities Services Operations, Christine Schwartz if you are in DCCE, or your senior staff member.

How should I record my time if I am absent for a COVID-19 related reason?

Human Resources and Payroll have developed the below guidelines for completing your bi-weekly timesheet or your monthly leave report.  We are trying to capture and be able to report on all paid-time off that is related to COVID-19 in the event there would be any financial assistance available to the college through Federal or State Agencies.  Please follow the below instructions when reporting time off related to COVID-19.

If I was sick with COVID-19, when should I return to work?

Employees that have COVID-19 should inform their supervisor and not come to work until symptoms have subsided and a medical professional has advised them they are clear to return. Depending on the workload of the local medical community, if medical professionals are not able to clear you — verbally or in person — then Bates will ask for a 24 or 48-hour period of time to elapse after symptoms have cleared.  We will be reviewing this policy on an ongoing basis subject to CDC and Medical advice

What considerations are being made for staff who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19?

In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus or in the local community, human resources will work with employees with documented high-risk health conditions should work with Human Resources and their supervisors to evaluate the request and explore accommodations.

What if I can’t work due to an injury or illness not COVID-19 related?

If you cannot work due to an injury or illness that is not related to COVID-19, normal sick leave policy allows you to use accrued sick time to care for yourself or family members. If the injury is work-related, please notify your supervisor and follow procedures for reporting an injury.

What if I am concerned and just do not want to work on campus?

If you do not exhibit any symptoms of the coronavirus and have not been exposed but do not feel comfortable coming to work then you should request a temporary leave from your supervisor. Normal time away from work policies will apply. Please see the employee handbook for more information. We recognize this can be a very stressful time. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free service for all Bates Employees and their dependents.

Phone: 888-238-6232
Web: www.resourcesforliving.com
User ID: 4bates
Password: bwell.

The EAP site has a webinar with information on how to protect you and your family from the coronavirus as well as a list of resources for information on coping with coronavirus fears.

What other community resources are available to faculty and staff?

The Caring Commons is designed to share community support resources among Bates faculty and staff. While the resource list is not intended to be exhaustive, it will be updated periodically as new major or particularly relevant resources become available. 

What considerations should be taken when organizing a department or small group meeting?

In accordance with national guidelines, meetings should be limited to no more than 10 people. In addition, meeting organizers should choose a space large enough to allow for social distancing of at least six feet between attendees. Whenever possible, teleconferencing or video conferencing using Zoom should be used in favor of in-person meetings.  Review the CDC Social Distancing website for the most up-to-date advice on appropriate gathering sizes.

What can I do to minimize the risk of spreading illness?

Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose; Stay at home if you are sick (with any illness, but especially if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever, etc.); Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least twenty seconds; and if soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

What if I need to care for a sick family member?

If a family member is ill, normal sick leave policy allows you to use accrued sick time to tend to your family member (if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 then you have been exposed and the above information on being exposed to the coronavirus would apply).

Have any of my benefits been affected in this crisis?

No. There will be no changes to College benefit plans.  Please note: Testing for the Coronavirus is also covered at 100% with no employee cost. TelaDoc is a service available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through our medical plan where you can access a doctor through either the phone or video chat. The consultation is free for all Aetna plan holders (even those in the Aetna Consumer Choice (HSA) Plan through June 6, 2020).

  1. Phone: 1-855-835-2362
  2. Video: www.teladoc.com/aetna.

To save time, register on the Teladoc website prior to your consultation. There is no charge for registration.

How can I ensure that I will receive all college emergency notifications?

The college has a secure emergency notification system that allows authorized Bates Officials to send information and instructions simultaneously to individuals through land line phones, cell phones, text messages, and e-mail.  Please review your Emergency Contact information under the Account & Access tab on Garnet Gateway and update it as necessary.

What other resources are available?

Locally, both CMMC and St Mary’s have robust information on their websites. The CDC and WHO are always definitive sources of information.

What is a fiscal year?

The Bates fiscal year is July 1 through June 30 of the subsequent year.

What does it mean for retirement contributions to be suspended?

The college has provided a  9% contribution of your eligible wages to the Bates College Money Purchase Pension Plan (the Pension Plan) and up to a 3% match on your contributions to the Bates College 403(b) Retirement Plan (the 403(b) Plan).  These college contributions will be suspended for fiscal year 2021.

Can I still make tax-deferred contributions to my 403(b) Plan?

Yes, you may continue to contribute to your 403(b) Plan on a tax-deferred basis.  You may also be eligible to contribute to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  You may want to talk with a representative from TIAA to understand the characteristics of different plans (i.e. 403(b), IRA, Roth IRA,  etc).  If you wish to make changes to your contributions you will need to complete a new TIAA Voluntary Salary Reduction Form.

What happens to my account balances in the Pension Plan and the 403(b) Plan? 

Your account balances remain invested at TIAA in the investment funds that you have elected or defaulted to.  You may want to contact TIAA to review where your account balance is invested.  You can make changes to your investment elections either online or by calling TIAA at 1-800-842-2776.