From the HR Department

As you prepare to return to campus for our fall reopening in August, we understand you may have many questions about what your working life will look like, and the supports available to you. The HR team aims to be as helpful as possible. Please browse the FAQs below. This page will be updated frequently as new information becomes available, so please check back often.

Do not hesitate to reach out if you have additional questions or concerns:



Return to Work FAQ

I’m experiencing a great deal of stress related to the Coronavirus pandemic. What resources are available?

Employees will continue to have access to resources through our Employee Assistance Program with Mutual of Omaha. They can be reached at (800) 316-2796.

Will my Cornish provided medical plan cover expenses related to the testing and treatment of COVID-19?

Yes. Please see the Kaiser Permanente Coronavirus and COVID-19 website.

What if I feel sick?

In general, all employees are required to stay home if they are sick, regardless of what they believe the cause to be. This will help stop the spread of any illnesses.

What if I have some symptoms of COVID-19?

Employees who have been instructed to return to campus must conduct symptom monitoring every day before reporting to work. If you have any symptoms, you must first call your health provider to report your symptoms and get information about COVID-19 testing. You should self-isolate until cleared by your physician to return to work. Please notify your supervisor as soon as possible. Per current health guidance, individuals should not discontinue isolation until after experiencing 3 days with no fever, and symptoms have improved, and have gone 10 days since symptoms first appeared. In addition to completing daily symptom monitoring, faculty and staff must continuously monitor for symptoms of illness throughout the day and take appropriate steps to isolate from others should you become symptomatic.

What if a member of my household has tested positive for COVID-19?

If a household member is symptomatic or has contracted COVID-19, you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days (or longer if you become symptomatic) and be advised to test for COVID-19 before your return. For those who are not symptomatic, contact your supervisor to see if remote work is possible. If remote work is not possible, employees will generally be required to use leave during a required quarantine period.

What leaves are available to employees of Cornish?

All employees have access to various paid and unpaid leaves, including paid leaves recently approved by Congress (FFCRA). Faculty receive paid sick leave each semester, and eligible staff receive PTO (paid time off). Staff not eligible for PTO receive PSST (Seattle Paid Sick & Safe Time), or paid leaves through a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

How does the Families First Coronavirus Response Act help employees of Cornish?

Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which (1) amends the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide expanded paid family leave benefits, called Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFML); and (2) provides emergency paid sick leave benefits, called Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL). The FFCRA took effect April 1, 2020 and ends December 31, 2020.

Are all employees of Cornish eligible for the FFCRA leaves?

For EFML, all employees who have been employed for at least 30 days are eligible. For EPSL, all employees are eligible regardless of hire date.

What is “regular rate of pay” for purposes of the FFCRA?

For both EPSL and EFML, the regular rate of pay used to calculate paid leave is the average of an employee’s regular rate over a period of up to six months prior to the date on which they take leave. If they have not worked for six months, the regular rate used to calculate their paid leave is the average of their regular rate of pay for each week they have worked at Cornish.

How will hours worked by a part-time employee be counted for FFCRA leave purposes?

A part-time employee is entitled to leave for the average number of work hours in a two-week period. If the normal hours scheduled are unknown, or if the part-time employee’s schedule varies, Cornish may use a six-month average to calculate the average daily hours.

Does the FFCRA apply to other illnesses or standard FMLA absences?

No. The expansion of FMLA through the EFML and EPSL is limited to COVID-19 related absences. The maximum of 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave apply only to the five types of absences due to COVID-19 related reasons. The longer EFML provisions apply only to school or place of care closings due to COVID-19. Illnesses for all other reasons are governed by Cornish’s existing leave policies, the FMLA, or other applicable laws.

How do employees request Emergency Paid Sick Leave and/or Expanded Family Medical Leave?

Please contact HR if you need to use either of these leaves or have further questions. You can find the FMLA Leave Expansion and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Policy (Coronavirus) on Compass.

What if I run out of available leave?

Cornish has a PTO Donation Policy in place that allows eligible employees to request additional PTO days.