UO Voluntary Summer Work Share Program - Participant Guide

UPDATES:

Notice — August 6, 2020

Use of Leave
UO has been notified by the Oregon Employment Department (OED) that they are adopting a temporary rule regarding the use of leave while on Work Share that will be effective August 2 through December 26, 2020. The Use of Leave guidance has been updated to address the new temporary rule as well as the use of leave prior to August 2.
If you have taken leave prior to August 2, you do not need to take any action at this time. Please refer to the guidance for more information.

Continuing Work Share Beyond August 15th
We have received a number of inquiries related to extending voluntary participation on the Work Share program beyond August 15th. The voluntary Work Share Program is ending on August 15th and employees will not be able to participate in the program voluntarily beyond that time.

Notice — July 30, 2020

UO Work Share Claims Processing

We have recently heard from the Employment Department that their goal is to begin reviewing and processing UO Work Share claims in the next 2-3 weeks. We don’t have an estimate on when payments will be issued and we don’t have any control over their processing timelines. We will update participants as more information becomes available. Thank you for your patience.

The UO Voluntary Summer Work Share Program is an employee elected, unit approved, HR managed program that allows eligible employees to work fewer hours over the summer and receive unemployment insurance payments in addition to their UO paycheck.  

Human Resources provides oversight and management of the program by filing claim paperwork and submitting weekly certification on behalf of employees.
However, Work Share participants must submit required paperwork in order for HR to take action on their behalf.


Employee Action – Two-Step Requirement

  1. Enrollment - complete and submit forms

  2. EVERY WEEK: Certification - certify hours worked each week

Information and detailed instructions provided below.


EVERY WEEK: Certification
Maintains unemployment benefits

One of the key benefits to the Work Share program is the university taking responsibility for weekly reporting required by the Employment Department. Human Resources will manage the weekly reporting requirement based on the information provided by participating employees.

It is the employee’s responsibility to submit their weekly certification report by 5:00 p.m. every Monday in order to be included in the university’s report that is required by the Employment Department.

  • The process is simple and should only take a few minutes to complete. Weekly Certification can be completed on a computer or on a mobile device.
  • Employees will get an email via Smartsheets every Friday and again on Monday morning as a reminder, which will contain the link to the Weekly Certification portal.
  • The first certification is due the Monday following the approved employee's program start date. For example, an employee who begins the UO Work Share program on June 14, would submit their first weekly certification report on Monday, June 22, no later than 5:00 p.m.

It is critical that participating employees understand that:

  • Failure to submit the weekly certification by the deadline will result in the employee being ineligible to receive unemployment benefits for the previous week.
  • There will be no exceptions for late or missed submissions. HR is unable to accept any certifications that are received after the deadline.

Weekly Certification Instructions

Enrollment
Initiates unemployment claim

Complete Enrollment Forms

The Work Share enrollment packet includes three documents:

Securely Submit Completed Forms

Forms contain confidential and sensitive information that must be protected, such as social security numbers and banking information. Care must be taken during the submission process to protect individual privacy. Please do not email completed forms to Human Resources.

Securely submit completed and signed enrollment forms by:

  • Uploading completed forms through the UO online process facilitated securely through the UO Work Share Form Submission Portal.
  • If an employee doesn’t have access to utilize the online process, they may fax forms to Human Resources at 541-346-2548; or
  • Mail forms through U.S. Mail to Human Resources, 5210 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.

Program Notices

  • The Oregon Employment Department has officially approved the UO Voluntary Summer Work Share program, as of late June. In the coming months, the Employment Department will review participant eligibility and make a determination of the benefit amount for each participant.
  • Due to the unusually high volume of unemployment claims currently being processed by the Oregon Employment Department, there will likely be a significant lag between the time participants begin working a reduced schedule at reduced pay and receiving their first unemployment benefits payment from the State of Oregon. It could be 6 weeks or more until participants receive an unemployment payment from the State of Oregon. The university is offering a Work Share Payroll Advance for employees while they wait for their unemployment benefits to begin.
  • Supervisors and departments do not need to take action in order to reduce or reinstate FTE related to this program. Please do not submit a PRF to reduce or reinstate FTE related to this program; Human Resources and Payroll are collaborating to take care of this via a mass upload.
  • Employees must continue to report their hours worked and leave usage following their normal process and timeline for the purpose of receiving monthly pay from UO while they are on the program.
  • The university, or individual departments, may need to engage in other employment actions over the program period or after the program period. Participation in this program does not exclude employees from being subject to those actions. 

Expectations and Considerations

Employee Responsibilities

To continue participation in the UO Work Share program, employees will need to meet the following responsibilities:

Program

  • Complete and submit the required Initial Claim form timely.
  • Respond immediately to forms, questionnaires, emails or phone calls from the Oregon Employment Department. They may request information directly from you in order to process your claim and ensure proper payment of benefits. 
  • Respond immediately to forms, questionnaires, emails or phone calls from the University of Oregon Office of Human Resources. We may request information directly from you in order to submit your claim to the Employment Department for review and processing.
  • Provide weekly certification information by 5:00 PM each Monday regarding the prior week. Failure to submit the certification by 5:00 PM each Monday will result in the employee being ineligible to receive unemployment benefits for the previous week. No exceptions will be made to this requirement.

Work Arrangements

  • Follow meal and rest breaks rules and complete timesheets according to department/unit requirements. Note, some exempt/salaried participants may be required to track hours, and take meals and rest breaks as a result of working a reduced schedule under Work Share.
  • Work no more than the agreed upon reduced FTE, or work hours, each week or eligibility for unemployment benefits may be impacted. This includes exempt/salaried employees. For example, an employee currently working at 1.0 FTE would reduce to 0.8 FTE, and could then only work 32 hours every week.
  • Report any hours worked over the reduced FTE amount in the weekly certification form, so this information can be reported to the Employment Department. Note that this may impact the employee’s eligibility for payments for that week, or may decrease their benefit for that week.

Use of Leave—New Temporary Rule Effective August 2 through December 26, 2020

UO has been notified by the Oregon Employment Department (OED) that they are adopting a temporary rule regarding the use of leave while on Work Share that is effective August 2 through December 26, 2020.

The temporary rule applies to the use of leave in the following ways:

  • Allows Work Share participants to miss work when they are sick, when they are taking care of someone who is sick, when they are serving jury duty, or for other reasons related to COVID-19 without impacting their eligibility for unemployment compensation for that week.
  • Missing work for a vacation related purpose, such as for leisure, travel, or recreation, may cause employees to be ineligible for unemployment compensation for that week, effective August 2, as those hours will no longer count toward their reportable hours, according to the state’s new guidance.

The Weekly Certification survey has been modified to gather required information regarding the use of leave based on this new temporary rule.

Important Considerations

  • For vacation time previously scheduled between August 2 and August 15 and not already taken:
    You may want to consider delaying your vacation time until after August 15 in order to maintain your eligibility for unemployment compensation for the duration of the program. We have notified supervisors of this new guidance and encouraged them to be as flexible as possible if adjustments to vacation plans need to be made as a result of the temporary rule.
  • If you want to take vacation time off while you are on the Work Share program, or have already taken vacation time off since August 2:
    You will be allowed to use accrued vacation up to your regular scheduled hours (pre-Work Share) in order to remain whole for that week, if those vacation hours make you ineligible for unemployment compensation for that week. More information will be provided regarding the process of reporting leave time above your reduced weekly schedule.

If you are on the Work Share program mandatorily and have vacation time planned, please reach out to UO HR at workshare@uoregon.edu so we can work with you to determine next steps.

Use of Leave Prior to August 2, 2020

We have not received any indication that the use of leave for a vacation related purpose will not be allowed prior to August 2nd, so if you took vacation previously, you do not need to take any action at this time. We will notify you if the Employment Department determines that leave for vacation related purposes taken prior to August 2 impacts eligibility.

Currently, the Oregon Employment Department deems employees who take leave to be ineligible to receive unemployment benefits (including the $600 federal payment) for that week. However, UO is working with the Oregon Employment Department to obtain the flexibility for employees to take leave without impacting their unemployment benefits eligibility for that week. While this has not been finalized, UO has received indication that the Employment Department is willing to work with us on this issue and we are optimistic that we will be granted this additional flexibility. We don’t know when we will get a final response from the Employment Department on this subject. 

If UO is able to obtain this flexibility from the Employment Department:

  • Employees will be able to take up to their reduced weekly hours in leave time and still receive their unemployment benefits for that week.
  • Let's consider an example of an employee who normally works 40 hours per week and reduced their hours to 32 per week for the Work Share program.
    • In this scenario, this employee can take up to 32 hours of leave in a week and still get their unemployment benefits. 
    • If the employee takes a partial week of leave, their combined total of hours worked and leave hours taken cannot exceed their reduced hours- in this case, 32 hours.

If the Employment Department decides not to grant us this flexibility:

  • Employees can still take leave and UO would pay them up to their pre-Work Share hours for that week in lieu of them receiving unemployment benefits. 
  • Let's consider an example of an employee who normally works 40 hours per week and reduced their hours to 32 per week for the Work Share program.
    • In this scenario, this employee can get paid for up to 40 hours of vacation in a week by UO, but they will not receive any unemployment benefits for that week. 
    • They will continue to be eligible to participate in the program, as the Employment Department considers eligibility on a week-by-week basis.

Reporting hours worked and leave time

For Work Share/unemployment benefits: Employees will provide weekly certification information to HR on a weekly basis (by 5:00 PM every Monday) for the purpose of receiving weekly pay from the Oregon Employment Department. 

For UO paycheck: Employees will continue to submit their leave usage to payroll following their normal process and normal timeline for the purpose of receiving monthly pay from the UO. 

Failure to complete both processes timely will impact pay.

Employment Department

The Employment Department reviews each employee to determine eligibility and allowable benefits, and manages the distribution of payments:

  • Claims are reviewed according to standard processes, unemployment rules, and current timelines.
  • The university cannot guarantee eligibility or the amount of individual unemployment payments and is unable to intervene on an employee’s behalf regarding their individual claim. 
  • Due to the unusually high volume of unemployment claims currently being processed by the Oregon Employment Department, there will likely be a significant lag between the time the employee begins working a reduced schedule at reduced pay and receiving their first unemployment benefits payment from the State of Oregon. It could be 6 weeks or more until the employee receives an unemployment payment from the State of Oregon. The university is offering a Work Share Payroll Advance for employees while they wait for their unemployment benefits to begin.

Temporary Rule Reference

Employment Department — Chapter 471-030-0036: Eligibility Factors

(3)(f)(A) For the weeks of August 02, 2020 through December 26, 2020, and notwithstanding OAR 471-030-0079(4), for purposes of determining whether an employee can receive Work Share benefits in a week, if the employee uses approved, accrued leave during a week, those leave hours count as hours worked during the week. This does not apply to leave taken for vacation purposes. It does apply to leave taken for other reasons, including because the employee is sick, is caring for someone else who is sick, is on jury duty, or because of COVID-19 related reasons.

View the complete list of Eligibility Factors on the Oregon Secretary of State website.