COVID-19: Employment Changes and Employee Benefits

The University of Oregon has modified its operations to safeguard the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and the community due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and in accordance with the governor of Oregon's executive order and similar actions across the country.

The university's modified operations have significantly changed many of our services as we prioritize remote education and implement distancing measures to limit the number of students, faculty, and staff on campus. The changes have had a financial impact particularly on auxiliary departments.

Unusual times call for creative options.

Given our unexpected and changed circumstances, we have had to make some very difficult choices about how to align our services and staffing with the current student population while also supporting our employees and keeping them connected to the university – with the goal of returning most of our employees to their full status next academic year.

University leadership, has developed an alternative to traditional layoffs that is designed to provide financial stability, health insurance coverage, and assurance to impacted employees. This extended benefits program is also designed to maintain a connection with impacted employees - with the goal of bringing our employees back to pay status when the work returns to campus. This new program was developed after consultation with our unions and employee groups about ways to reduce hardship for employees and position the university to quickly resume operations once this temporary disruption ends.

Employment Actions

Impacted employees will be offered a paid notice period based on the appropriate collective bargaining agreement or policy, and then a choice of continuing their employment through the extended benefits program or electing layoff.

Extended Benefits Program

The extended benefits program provides leave without pay and continuation of health insurance for those eligible, and it maintains employment status with the UO through August 31, 2020.

  • Leave without pay begins.
    Following the notice period, leave without pay begins and continues until the employee is returned to work or the program ends at the end of the summer. During this time, the employee can apply for unemployment insurance. Since employees will not be scheduled during this period, they will not be able to use their accrued leave. However, employees will retain their accrued leave through the leave without pay period. Employees will not be able to cash out leave accruals prior to entering the program period.
     
  • Health insurance continues at the same cost.
    For those who currently participate in the UO benefits program, health care coverage continues for the period of leave without pay. The university continues to pay its contribution, and the employee continues to pay their premium share at the same rate as they currently pay. Please review the Benefits Continuation Information for more details.
     
  • Employment with UO continues.
    The employee remains employed by the university and available to be called back during the program period.
     

Should the University be unable to return an employee to work at the end of the program period due to a lack of work or for financial reasons, the employee shall be separated from employment and granted all layoff rights.

Layoff Option  

Employees who do not participate in the extended benefits program may choose to be laid off or exercise their layoff rights in accordance with collective bargaining agreements and policy. Specific rights are outlined in the employee notification letter. Employment would end when the notice period ends, and the employee’s healthcare benefits would end on the last day of the month after loss of eligibility.

Support and Assistance

Human Resources is available to answer questions and provide assistance.

You can contact us by phone at 541-346-3159 and leave a message with your question and call back information. You may also email us at hrinfo@uoregon.edu.

Messages will be returned as soon as possible by the appropriate HR team member.


Transition Resources

University HR provides resources to assist employees experiencing a job change or career transition.

Leave Without Pay Information & Resources

The following information and resources will prepare employees as they begin their leave without pay status:

  • Work responsibilities and duties
    You are not expected, nor should you, perform work-related duties or tend to UO responsibilities while you are in leave without pay status. During this period, you are relieved from obligations to your duties and assignments, which includes writing and responding to work-related emails, and you should not receive any work or assignments from your supervisor. Should you receive a work-related email that requires response or be otherwise engaged in something requiring action, please do not take action and reach out to your supervisor or unit representative for guidance on how best to proceed.
     
  • Email and system access
    You will continue to have access to your UO email account. However, in accordance with policy and protocol, access to systems such as Banner will be suspended.
     
  • Building access
    Access to buildings may be suspended during this time in accordance with policy and protocol. Your supervisor or unit representative can share more about what you should expect regarding access to the building within your unit. Should you need access to a UO building or facility while on leave without pay, please contact your supervisor or unit representative and arrangements will be made.
     
  • Return to work
    Our sincere hope is that we are able to bring staff back to work very soon. When the time comes, you will receive an email to your University of Oregon email account with the title “Returning to Work.” When you receive that email, please respond as quickly as possible so we can discuss a return date for you to resume work.

    Please keep your contact information current.
    • Notify your supervisor if you would like to be contacted at an email address that is different from your UO account.
    • If you would prefer a phone call instead of an email, please let your supervisor know as soon as possible.
    • For address or phone number changes, please update via DuckWeb and hrbenefits@uoregon.edu.

Unit Contacts