COVID-19 Employee Resource Guide

Conclusion of COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave

USC recognizes the challenges that COVID-19 has and will continue to present to our employees. We’ve gathered information and resources to help you and your loved ones through this difficult situation. Each section below includes contact information and links for further information.

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Employees who do not return to work once the COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave period expires on June 30, 2020 will transition to full-time or part-time unpaid leave.

  • Employees moving to full-time unpaid leave will receive any accrued vacation as a single payout along with their final wages. See the accrued time off section below for details.
  • Employees moving to a partial unpaid leave (reduced working schedule) may receive some vacation payout. See the accrued time off section below for details.
  • For employees currently enrolled in USC medical, dental, and vision benefits, the university will provide benefits continuance for any employee who would have otherwise become ineligible as a result of their work reduction due to the end of the COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave period. Additionally, USC will pay both the employer and employee portion of premiums for employees placed on unpaid leave of absence or whose hours were reduced as a direct result of the conclusion of the COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave period until they return to their normal schedule or through Dec. 31, 2020, whichever comes first. See the USC Benefits section below for more information.
  • Employees who are eligible for tuition assistance will remain eligible throughout the leave period. See the tuition assistance program section below for details.

All accrued vacation time, including any accrued winter recess days, will be paid out for employees moving to a full unpaid leave status.

For employees moving to partial unpaid leave/reduced hours:  Because an employee’s maximum vacation accrual is based on hours worked, if an employee has accrued more than their “new” maximum accrual (based on their new schedule), the employee will receive payout of that “excess” accrual.  For example, if an employee previously accrued vacation time up to their cap of 360 hours but will now be working at 75% of full hours, the employee’s new cap is 270 hours, and that employee will be paid out for 90 hours of vacation time.

Accrued vacation time and winter recess days will be paid out on the next pay cycle following the end of COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave, either through direct deposit or by check, depending on how employees have setup their pay preferences in Workday.

Sick time balances cannot be used while on unpaid leave. Employees will not be paid out for sick time, and the existing balance will be available when the employee returns to work.

USC has implemented a shared leave donation plan that allows employees who are working and getting paid to voluntarily donate some of their accrued and unused vacation, winter recess time, or PTO to a shared pool. Employees who experience a severe hardship, including that caused by the expiration of COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave, and employees who have exhausted all available vacation, PTO, or winter recess time, are eligible to apply. See the Major Disaster Leave Sharing Plan webpage for details.

Unemployment insurance is a state benefit that provides weekly unemployment payments to workers whose earnings fall below $600 or less per week (depending on the worker’s income) due to a job loss or hours reduction, through no fault of their own. Eligible workers can file a claim through the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

Please note that:

  • Eligible workers can receive up to $450 per week for up to 26 weeks, depending on the worker’s income.
  • As a result of the CARES Act, this benefit has been extended for an additional 13 weeks (39 weeks total), and eligible workers may receive an additional $600 per week through July 25, 2020.
  • The usual one-week unpaid waiting period has been waived by Governor Newsom during COVID-19.
  • Current processing time for the EDD to issue payment is at least three (3) weeks.
  • The EDD recommends workers file claims through their UI Online interface, and include many instructional resources in both English and Spanish on their site.
  • When filing for unemployment insurance as a USC employee, the address to use for “last employer information” is:
    University of Southern California
    3720 S Flower St
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-0704
    (213) 821-8100
  • The EDD keeps its Coronavirus 2019 page updated with the latest information.

The City of Los Angeles Rapid Response Unit is now conducting virtual live orientations lasting approximately 45 minutes that cover information regarding unemployment insurance and access to various free services and resources earmarked specifically for those whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19. Even if you’ve already applied for unemployment, you can ask questions or find out about the additional local and federal resources available to you.

Sessions in English and Spanish are available on the following schedule each week:

English

  • 10 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays
  • 1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays

Spanish

  • 1 p.m. on Tuesdays
  • 10 a.m. on Thursdays

Register for an orientation.

To allow continued medical benefits for employees affected by the expiration of the COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave period, the university has revised its health plans so that employees whose hours fall below 50% and who would otherwise have become ineligible for benefits can maintain enrollment in employee health care benefit programs just as they are today. USC will pay both the employer and employee portion of premiums for employees placed on unpaid leave of absence or whose hours were reduced as a result of the conclusion of the COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave period or until Dec. 31, 2020 or until the employee returns to their normal work schedule, whichever comes first. For example:

  • An employee who returns to work to their normal work schedule on Sept. 1, 2020 will have their premiums covered by USC until Aug. 31, 2020; the employee will begin paying their premiums again on Sept. 1.
  • An employee who returns to work after Dec. 31, 2020, and whose hours qualify them for USC health benefits, will have their premiums covered by USC until Dec. 31, 2020.
  • An employee who returns to work at 40% of normal hours on July 1, 2020, and subsequently returns to work at full hours on Nov. 1, 2020, will have their premiums paid by USC until Oct. 31, 2020; the employee will begin paying their premiums again on Nov. 1.

Disability policies will remain active throughout unpaid leave; employees will not be charged a premium for policies during this period. Employees who experience a disability while on unpaid leave will only be able to receive benefits once they are scheduled to return to work but cannot do so due to disability. Any employees who experience a disability while on unpaid leave should still file a claim through Broadspire and contact their HR partner.

USC will continue to cover employees under the basic life insurance plan for the duration of unpaid leave.

Voluntary benefits (such as voluntary life insurance, Aflac suite, Genworth LTC, Hyatt legal) will continue but will shift to a direct bill basis. Employees will need to submit premium payments while on leave via direct bill in order to continue benefits.

If you have accrued funds in your health care or dependent care flexible spending accounts that have not yet been used, you may access those funds for approved health care or dependent care expenses through the end of the calendar year (Dec. 31, 2020) until those funds are exhausted.

Health Care Flexible Spending Note: Throughout the duration of leave, flexible spending debit cards may be deactivated; however, employees may still submit claims via the employee portal or by manual submission.

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Note: Employees may not be reimbursed for dependent care expenses incurred during any time of unpaid leave resulting from the conclusion of the COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave Period.

Direct questions to the HR Service Center at uschr@usc.edu or (213) 821-8100.

The unpaid leave period will not constitute a break in service as it relates to eligibility for tuition assistance; throughout the leave period, employees will remain eligible for the program, which includes both tuition assistance and tuition exchange.

Your USC retirement accounts provide free access to financial advisers. If you wish to discuss your current situation, contact your retirement provider – they are offering virtual and phone appointments now:

Fidelity Investments
Fidelity scheduling link

TIAA-CREF
USC scheduling link

Vanguard
Vanguard scheduling link

Should you wish to access your retirement funds, there may be tax consequences to consider:

If you’re age 59½ or older, you may be able to take an in-service distribution. Such withdrawals are subject to taxes and will be reported as income to the IRS.

You may be able to take out a loan against your retirement account, but only if you don’t already have such a loan that you are paying back.

You may be able to apply for a hardship distribution because of one of the following documented immediate and heavy financial needs:

  • Tax deductible medical expense for immediate family that is not paid by insurance;
  • To prevent eviction or foreclosure on principal residence;
  • To pay for burial or funeral expenses for immediately family member.

See details and restrictions on all of these options.

How to submit paperwork

Submit all required forms by scanning and emailing to the HR Service Center at uschr@usc.edu. You will receive a confirmation email with an assigned case number. Please be sure to include your contact information so the Benefit Partner can reach you if additional information is required.

If you have already mailed or faxed your form to the Benefits Office, they are working to get those documents scanned through the HR Service Center, but please know there might be a delay in processing your request. Also, please do not attempt to hand-deliver your documents. The offices are physically closed.

Without a paycheck, retirement contributions will no longer automatically be deducted and contributed to your retirement plan. For employees moving to a partial unpaid leave, your retirement contributions will continue to be taken out of each paycheck.  Should you wish to continue to contribute or adjust contributions toward your retirement account, contact your investment provider to assist you:

Fidelity Investments | www.netbenefits.com/usc.rsp
(800) 343-0860

TIAA | www.tiaa.org/usc
(800) 842-2252

Vanguard | www.vanguard.com/retirementplans
(800) 523-1188

The university launched the USC Employee Support Fund to help employees adversely affected by the pandemic. Information is available at the USC Coronavirus Support Funds section of the FAQs page– scroll down to “USC Employee Support Fund” for all details including eligibility, deadlines, timing, etc.

See also these additional resources:

The Federal Housing Finance Agency offers information for homeowners and renters adversely affected by COVID-19. The agency encourages anyone facing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic to immediately contact their landlord or mortgage servicer to see if they qualify for some type of payment relief.

Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers have committed to providing relief for consumers and homeowners in California.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent for tenants who are unable to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective May 12, 2020, Ordinance No. 186606 further expanded tenants’ protections.

The USC Housing Law Clinic provides free professional legal services to community residents in the areas of housing discrimination, local affordable housing issues, and landlord/tenant dispute resolution.

Federal student loans

If you are in a short-term financial bind, you may qualify for a deferment or forbearance, either of which can temporarily suspend your payments. See more on the federal student aid website.

USC Credit Union

USC Credit Union has a helpful page of information regarding their own relief programs during this time.

Other lenders

Many lenders are working with their customers to help them get through this period. Some are offering payment deferrals or other relief options. Talk to your lender, whether it be a mortgage, auto, personal, or credit card loan to find out what help is available.

Many utility providers (power, water, trash, cable TV, cell phone service, etc.) are offering additional help for customers affected by COVID-19. If you need help, talk to your service providers, who may be able to provide deferred payments or some other form of relief.

Organizations with food pantries within a 15-mile radius of the University Park Campus (UPC):

  • United University Church, 213-748-0209
  • St. Vincent de Paul Church, 213-749-8950
  • St. John’s Cathedral, 213-747-6285
  • Central City Neighborhood Partners, 213-482-8618
  • YMCA – Weingart East Los Angeles, 323-260-7005
  • Young Hwa United Methodist Church, 213-413-4154
  • Catholic Charities – El Santo Nino, 213-318-5702
  • Feed Love LA, 917-399-0677
  • White Memorial S.D.A. Church, 323-264-2170
  • Filipino Christian Church, 213-483-5821
  • Spanish American S.D.A. Church, 323-222-7063
  • St. Athanasius & St. Paul Church, 213-482-2040
  • Manso Que Sobreviven, 323-688-8111
  • Estrella Del Mar, 213-380-8168
  • St. Francis Center, 213-747-5347
  • All Peoples Christian Center, 213-747-6357
  • Healing Urban Barrios, 323-648-9817
  • Central Spanish S.D.A. Church, 818-649-0893
  • Church of the Epiphany, 323-227-9931
  • Iglesia Pentecostal Peniel, 323-694-1017
  • Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club, 323-221-9111
  • Central Neighborhood Health Foundation, 323-234-5000
  • Our Lady of Talpa Church, 323-268-9177
  • Iglesia Pentecostes Roca de Salvacion, 323-832-5313
  • First Unitarian Church, 213-389-1356

Summary of Benefits

The following section shows key information and points of contact for benefit plans during unpaid leave periods:


Program

Medical/RX

Vendor

USC/HealthComp

Plan Name

USC Trojan CARE EPO

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will cover both the employer contributions and employee premiums on behalf of the employee until the employee becomes eligible for benefits again by returning to work above 50% of hours or until Dec. 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Carrier Contact Information

USC Health Plans: (213) 740-0035 | healthplans@usc.edu

Claim, eligibility or plan coverage questions:
HealthComp — www.healthcomp.com | (855) 727-5267

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Program

Medical/RX

Vendor

USC/HealthComp

Plan Name

USC PPO

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will cover both the employer contributions and employee premiums on behalf of the employee until the employee becomes eligible for benefits again by returning to work above 50% of hours or until Dec. 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Carrier Contact Information

USC Health Plans: (213) 740-0035 | healthplans@usc.edu

Claim, eligibility or plan coverage questions:
HealthComp — www.healthcomp.com | (855) 727-5267

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Program

Medical/RX

Vendor

Anthem Blue Cross

Plan Name

Anthem Blue Cross HMO

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will cover both the employer contributions and employee premiums on behalf of the employee until the employee becomes eligible for benefits again by returning to work above 50% of hours or until Dec. 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Carrier Contact Information

www.anthem.com/ca
HMO Member Services: (800) 227-3771

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Program

Medical/RX

Vendor

Anthem Blue Cross

Plan Name

Anthem Blue Cross MyChoice HMO

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will cover both the employer contributions and employee premiums on behalf of the employee until the employee becomes eligible for benefits again by returning to work above 50% of hours or until Dec. 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Carrier Contact Information

www.anthem.com/ca | (800) 888-8288

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Program

Medical/RX

Vendor

Kaiser Permanente

Plan Name

Kaiser HMO

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will cover both the employer contributions and employee premiums on behalf of the employee until the employee becomes eligible for benefits again by returning to work above 50% of hours or until Dec. 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Carrier Contact Information

www.kaiserpermanente.org | (800) 464-4000 | (800) 788-0616 en Español

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Program

Dental

Vendor

Delta Dental

Plan Name

Delta Dental

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will cover both the employer contributions and employee premiums on behalf of the employee until the employee becomes eligible for benefits again by returning to work above 50% of hours or until Dec. 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Carrier Contact Information

deltadentalins.com | (888) 335-8227

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Program

Dental

Vendor

United Concordia

Plan Name

United Concordia

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will cover both the employer contributions and employee premiums on behalf of the employee until the employee becomes eligible for benefits again by returning to work above 50% of hours or until Dec. 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Carrier Contact Information

www.ucci.com | (800) 937-6432

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Program

Vision

Vendor

Vision Service Plan (VSP)

Plan Name

Vision Service Plan (VSP)

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will cover both the employer contributions and employee premiums on behalf of the employee until the employee becomes eligible for benefits again by returning to work above 50% of hours or until Dec. 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

Carrier Contact Information

www.vsp.com | (800) 877-7195

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Program

Basic and Supplemental Short-Term Disability Insurance

Vendor

Broadspire

Plan Name

USC Short-Term Disability

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will waive the required premiums for the duration of leave.

Carrier Contact Information

Broadspire Customer Service: myclaim.choosebroadspire.com | (800) 495-2315

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Program

Long-Term Disability

Vendor

Broadspire

Plan Name

USC Long-Term Disability

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will waive the required premiums for the duration of leave.

Carrier Contact Information

Broadspire Customer Service: myclaim.choosebroadspire.com | (800) 495-2315

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Program

Basic Life/AD&D Insurance

Vendor

Securian

Plan Name

Basic Life and AD&D

Payment Responsibility During Leave

USC will continue to fund the premiums for the duration of leave.

Carrier Contact Information

Securian Customer Service: 1-800-843-5358

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Program

Voluntary Life Insurance

Vendor

Securian

Plan Name

Voluntary GUL, VUL, Spouse, Child, and AD&D Life

Payment Responsibility During Leave

Employees are responsible to cover premiums via direct bill for the duration of leave.

Carrier Contact Information

Securian Customer Service: 1-800-843-5358

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Program

Flexible Spending Account

Vendor

HealthEquity

Plan Name

Flexible Spending Account – Healthcare

Payment Responsibility During Leave

Employees will not be charged for FSA for the duration of leave and will not be required to catch up upon return.

Carrier Contact Information

HealthEquity Customer Service: 1-877-924-3967

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Program

Flexible Spending Account

Vendor

HealthEquity

Plan Name

Flexible Spending Account – Dependent Care

Payment Responsibility During Leave

Employees will not be charged for FSA for the duration of leave and will not be required to catch up upon return.

Carrier Contact Information

HealthEquity Customer Service: 1-877-924-3967

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Program

Voluntary AFLAC

Vendor

AFLAC

Plan Name

AFLAC Voluntary Benefits

Payment Responsibility During Leave

Employees are responsible to cover premiums via direct bill for the duration of leave.

Carrier Contact Information

AFLAC Customer Service: stevenr_hanson@us.aflac.com | 213-369-9823

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Program

Voluntary Long-Term Care

Vendor

Genworth

Plan Name

Genworth Long-Term Care

Payment Responsibility During Leave

Employees are responsible to cover premiums via direct bill for the duration of leave.

Carrier Contact Information

Genworth Customer Service: www.Genworth.com/USC | 1-800-416-3624 

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Program

Voluntary Hyatt Legal

Vendor

Hyatt Legal

Plan Name

Hyatt Legal

Payment Responsibility During Leave

Employees are responsible to cover premiums via direct bill for the duration of leave

Carrier Contact Information

Hyatt Legal Customer Service: (800) 821-6400

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Program

Tuition Assistance Program

Vendor

USC

Plan Name

Tuition Assistance Program

Payment Responsibility During Leave

Employees will remain eligible for tuition assistance programs for the duration of leave.

Carrier Contact Information

USC HR Service Center: uschr@usc.edu | (213) 821-8100

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