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Pandemic FAQs : General


 The World Health Organization declared the swine flu pandemic officially over Tuesday, months after many national authorities started canceling vaccine orders and shutting down hot lines as the disease ebbed from the headlines.

--Fox News.com, Aug. 10 2010




The following answers are based on the “STATE OF MINNESOTA AGENCY PANDEMIC INFLUENZA SERVICE CONTINUATION” document, last revised September 1, 2006. View the complete document

Where possible, answers specific to Anoka-Ramsey Community College Cambridge and Coon Rapids Campuses have been substituted.

See also:

General FAQs

  1. Do I have to report to work if I am concerned about a pandemic?
  2. Will I get paid if the payroll department is closed due to the flu?
  3. How will the Human Resources (HR) staff respond to this increase in demand for services, when they themselves are in the middle of this pandemic? (e.g., assuming 30% less HR staff in the office and at the same time having a multiple increase in demand for services.)
  4. How can the HR offices maintain statewide consistencies in application or implementation in response to the pandemic? Inconsistencies will complicate the reestablishment of the full agency services once the emergency phase is over.
  5. What methods can we put in place to ensure processing of payroll and other essential HR functions with reduced staff?
  6. Will we be able to and have the resources (i.e., Resumix or job service) to recruit and fill jobs on a temporary basis?
  7. How do agencies plan on coordinating priorities that interface across agencies?
  8. How will the state respond to staffing issues related from employees of a 24/7/365 operation refusing to come to work because they are caring for family members

FAQs

  1. Do I have to report to work if I am concerned about a pandemic?
    Employees are expected to report to work as assigned unless directed otherwise by their agencies, the Governor or other appropriate authority.

    At this time it is expected that the Cambridge and Coon Rapids Campuses will remain open until 30% of their respective populations have been affected by the pandemic. This means that one campus could remain open if less than 30% of the students, staff, and faculty are out with the flu, while the other campus closes because 30% or more of the students, staff, and faculty are out with the flu.

    As specified by containment guidelines however, individuals who are ill are expected to stay home in accordance with standard sick day policies.

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  2. Will I get paid if the payroll department is closed due to the flu?
    According to the Department of Employee Relations, (DOER), agencies such as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), which includes Anoka-Ramsey Community College, have the authority to do what is necessary to maintain critical services, such as payroll operations.

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  3. How will the Human Resources (HR) staff respond to this increase in demand for services, when they themselves are in the middle of this pandemic? (e.g., assuming 30% less HR staff in the office and at the same time having a multiple increase in demand for services.)
    Human resources offices will work with their agency leadership/pandemic coordinator to develop a planning document that ensures all critical services are staffed. DOER and MnSCU LR and Staffing staff will assist agencies with employment issue questions. HR Offices will work with their agency leadership/pandemic coordinator to update and refine the planning document that ensures all critical services are staffed. DOER and MnSCU LR and Staffing staff will be available to assist agencies with questions regarding employment issues. HR Offices will be expected to staff their critical services. DOER and MnSCU LR staff will be available for questions and assistance on employment issues.

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  4. How can the HR offices maintain statewide consistencies in application or implementation in response to the pandemic? Inconsistencies will complicate the reestablishment of the full agency services once the emergency phase is over.
    Where practicable, agencies will be given guidance and instruction on the application of policies and procedures that pertain to the consistent treatment of employees during a pandemic. However, there will be some discretion given to state agencies so that they can ensure that critical services are maintained.

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    Many employee and employment issues will be identified during and after a pandemic. For that reason it is absolutely essential that all employee and employment situations be documented to the fullest degree possible as soon as it is practicable to do so.

  5. What methods can we put in place to ensure processing of payroll and other essential HR functions with reduced staff?
    Pre-planning efforts are currently underway to ensure that agencies have identified ways in which critical services can be staffed. Agencies will identify a primary and several backup positions to process payroll and other critical HR functions. State payroll has been determined to be a priority two service. Payroll staff in agencies may be asked to assist the Department of Finance. Agencies will be expected to work through their plan of all possible alternatives to ensure that payroll is processed and other critical HR functions are addressed.

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  6. Will we be able to and have the resources (i.e., Resumix or job service) to recruit and fill jobs on a temporary basis?
    In the event an emergency is declared, Resumix functionality will not be available. Agencies will first be expected to work through all of the redeployment options designated in their pandemic plan. If an agency has exhausted their options and they are still short-staffed, they may fill positions that are providing critical services on a permanent or temporary basis. Note: The availability of workforce center offices are still in the planning stages.

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  7. How do agencies plan on coordinating priorities that interface across agencies?
    The state’s pandemic flu executive committee will review the critical services indicated by each state agency and the inter-dependencies that are needed to ensure that those services can be covered. If there is a discrepancy between the services, agencies will be notified and will be asked either to supply the needed resources or to revise their critical services.

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  8. How will the state respond to staffing issues related from employees of a 24/7/365 operation refusing to come to work because they are caring for family members.
    The employee will be required to report to work, unless arrangements have been made for the employee to telecommute. The provisions of current employment contracts and applicable laws (FMLA, etc.) will be the principle guides for decision-making on employee attendance matters. The state recognizes that each instance will need to be considered individually and must include documented recommendations from medical experts, each employee’s ability to arrange alternate means to deliver health care to dependents and other family members, and the employer’s ability to arrange for alternative means of getting the work done.
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