4/8: COVID-19 Latest Actions and Updates

Dear Trojan Community,

We continue to be grateful to our staff, faculty, healthcare workers, and students for all you’re doing to keep USC and our community strong during this unprecedented time.  We are thinking of all of you and hope you and your families are safe and healthy.  

Since the beginning of the outbreak, we have been committed to continuously evaluating this dynamic situation and to making the necessary decisions to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of the Trojan community.

Today, we want to give you some important updates regarding paid administrative leave, use of face coverings, child care, dependent care, parking and transportation, flexible spending accounts, health care flexible spending accounts, employee assistance programs, and retirement plan loans and withdrawals to allow you greater flexibility throughout this pandemic.

Extension of COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave through May 13, 2020

For employees, including Aramark and union staff, who cannot work from home or whose normal work hours have been reduced, we are extending the period of COVID-19 administrative full paid leave through the end of the semester, May 13, 2020. Employees will not have to use any of their accrued vacation or other types of leave until after this date. Please note, specific requirements are in place for Keck Medicine of USC employees regarding the use of administrative paid leave.

Face Coverings for Non-Medical Essential Workers on Our Campuses

Non-healthcare essential workers will receive non-medical grade face coverings. These employees will receive an email directly from EH&S about distribution and pick-up of masks. If you do not receive an email by the end of the week and believe this to be an error, please contact your HR Partner. Keck Medicine requires all employees who remain on site to wear a mask when within a clinical space or when social distancing cannot be performed. 

Renegotiated Child Care Benefits

USC has re-negotiated its contract with Bright Horizons to offer the following to our childcare families throughout the pandemic:

  • Both the UPC and HSC child care centers will remain open.
  • Tuition is suspended for registered families that are now home with their children and are not using Bright Horizons’ services.
  • The limit on days of back-up care has been waived.
  • Staffing has been set to ensure the appropriate social distancing mandated by the State of California for child care centers.  
  • Additional safety and cleanliness precautions have been implemented to protect our littlest Trojans.
  • For additional details about child care, please visit the Employee FAQ.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Can Be Suspended 

  • Employees whose childcare center is closed, or who do not need child/dependent care at this time because they are working from home, are able to suspend their dependent care flexible spending account as these meet the criteria for a qualifying event.
  • To do this, please login to Workday and follow the instructions on the Employee Gateway.

Parking and Transportation

  • The university is suspending payroll deductions for parking permit fees for all employees for the months of April and May. Further, all employees will be refunded a prorated portion of their March payroll deductions retroactive to March 16. Similarly, all students with Spring 2020 permits will receive prorated refunds retroactive to March 16. There is no action required on the part of any individual employee or student. If you have any questions, please contact USC Transportation at auxtspad@usc.edu
  • Additionally, employees working on the UPC campus, and with parking structure permits for the Downey, Royal, McCarthy, Figueroa, Flower, Grand, or Shrine structures, can park, without paying, in any of those structures. This is to enable our employees to park as close to their offices as possible. 
  • Employees who are not working on USC’s campuses and are not using their transit passes, can request cancelations for May and beyond by emailing Rideshare Coordinator Maira Meza.

2019 Flexible Health Spending Account Reimbursements Deadline has been Extended

  • The due date for submitting receipts for flexible health spending account reimbursements has been extended from March 30, 2020 to May 1, 2020.
  • All receipts should be submitted through WageWorks.

Employee Assistance Programs

  • Clinicians from The Center for Work and Family Life (CWFL) are available via phone and web conferencing 24 hours a day, 7 days per week at (213) 821-0800 (M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or (213) 590-8045 after hours.
  • Please visit the USC COVID-19 site for additional mental health resources for faculty and staff, including how to help kids and families cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Employees interested in applying for funds from the USC Employee Support Fund are encouraged to reach out to your HR Partner, who will connect you with opportunities for support. 

Retirement Plan Loans and Withdrawals

Employees can request retirement plan loans and distributions with no penalty.

We also encourage you to visit the Employee FAQ, which is frequently updated, and populated with answers to the most pressing questions. Please reach out to your HR Partner or to me if you have any questions.

We value each one of you, and we miss seeing you in person. It is our hope that we will soon be back on campus together, a stronger and more cohesive team that has overcome the unimaginable. Please be safe, and take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Thank you for all you do. Fight on!


Felicia A. Washington
Senior Vice President of Human Resources