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COVID-19 has changed the way we work, learn and live. Information contained in these pages provides resources for employees. Visit the One VCU: Better Together website at together.vcu.edu, for the most up-to-date information regarding university operations, health and safety measures, and requirements.
Please keep in mind that this guidance is subject to change based on information provided by federal and state agencies. Schools and units may implement internal guidelines more specific to the mission of the unit. Continue to check this webpage for updates. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
VCU has generous paid leave programs for faculty and staff, and Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) is an essential category of leave covering faculty, staff, adjunct faculty and hourly employees. The purpose of PHEL is to provide a temporary emergency benefit rather than an ongoing expanded leave program. PHEL is activated at the state level by the Virginia Department of Human Resources Management; criteria for usage are also defined at the state level.
As of September 1, 2021, PHEL has been re-activated by the Department of Human Resources Management.
All employees, including wage employees and adjunct faculty, are eligible for up to 80 hours of PHEL during calendar year (CY) 2021 to attend to their own medical needs and/or those of their immediate family members due to positive cases of COVID-19. The amount of PHEL for adjunct faculty and hourly employees is prorated based on average hours worked. If employees have already exhausted their 80 hours of PHEL that was allocated at the beginning of CY 2021, the reactivation of PHEL does not add hours to the original allocation of leave and employees will need to use their own leave (university/sick/personal/annual).
Criteria for using PHEL beginning September 1, 2021:
Employees may use PHEL with their manager’s approval by submitting medical documentation which meets the following criteria:
DHRM’s PHEL guidance provided prior to September 1, 2021 is not applicable. Quarantining due to a COVID-19 exposure and coordination of childcare/school arrangements are no longer covered by PHEL. These situations will need to be covered by the employee’s university, sick, annual or other leave type.
Once the employee’s allotment of PHEL is used, employees may use appropriate and available personal leave balances or leave without pay. Employees who have used PHEL during the current leave year (since January 10th) may use the remaining balance of PHEL based on the above criteria. Employees who have used 80 hours of PHEL within the current leave year will not receive an additional PHEL leave allotment.
*Medical documentation is required to access PHEL leave. Employees who are positive for COVID-19 but asymptomatic may telework for the isolation period (per VDH guidance) provided the position’s duties are suited for telework.
See also: Emergency Leave Guidelines
A virtual mental health training "Creating and Fostering Healthy Work Environments" is now available. This training, designed for VCU leadership yet open to anyone, will explore mental health topics, characteristics of a healthy work environment, and mental health tools for managers and employees. Participants will learn how to address and reduce stigmas related to mental health conditions. Register in Talent@VCU.
All health plans offered to state employees and their dependents have employee assistance programs (EAPs). Included are up to four sessions at no charge for such services as mental health, alcohol or drug abuse assessment, child or elder care, grief counseling and legal or financial services. EAP counselors are available to assist employees with problems related to:
In general, care must be authorized in advance. You or your eligible dependent will speak to an EAP specialist who will assess your problem and coordinate assistance. Should your problem require mental health or substance abuse care, you will be referred to a provider, under your mental health and substance abuse benefit. Your EAP specialist or care manager will arrange a referral according to your specific needs. Contact your plan's Member Services department for more information.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Member Services: 1-855-223-9277
Kaiser Permanente HMO
(866) 517-7042 (toll free)
Optima Health Vantage HMO
(866) 846-2682 (toll free)
VCU Human Resources Employee Relations
Lindsey House - HR Welcome Center
Phone: (804) 828-1510
TDD: (800) 828-1120
Phone: (804) 828-1712
VCU ADA Services
Crystal Coombes, University Accessibility Administrator
Phone: (804) 828-8532
Emergency Medical Services
University Counseling Services
Employees can access online self-help resources
VCU Center for Psychological Services & Development
612 N Lombardy St, Richmond, VA 23284
Offer outpatient services to members of the VCU and Central Virginia communities
Mental Health Association of Virginia
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Development Services
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA) 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Office on Women’s Health Helpline
Coping with stress and staying healthy – Virginia Department of Health (VDH)
For information regarding parking and transportation at VCU, visit the COVID-19 Parking and Transportation updates page.