Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns, in a campus-wide email March 24, 2020, detailed new guidelines for university employees as part of Ball State's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, he addressed concerns regarding paid leave for non-essential employees who are unable to work remotely. Scott Fleener, DN File
Ball State president issues new guidelines for university employees
In a campus-wide email Tuesday, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns issued new guidelines for university employees regarding working remotely and paid leave.
On March 21, Mearns had directed all supervisors, based on guidance and direction from their respective vice presidents, to assign their employees to work remotely, unless the supervisor determines otherwise for the specific employee.
In his Tuesday email, following Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's stay-at-home order, he directed all administrators and supervisors to ensure university employees are working remotely at their place of residence or a location permitted by the order.
He requested them to review decisions requiring an employee to work on-campus to ensure that their work is to facilitate distance learning, perform critical research or perform an essential function.
Mearns addressed concerns about employees who are unable to work remotely and whose service aren't essential at this time. He said he is developing a plan, subject to approval by Ball State's Board of Trustees, to protect these employees during the ongoing public health crisis.
Some aspects of this plan include:
- Creating a paid-leave bank that employees can draw from after they have exhausted other paid leave options. Ball State's deans and vice presidents will join Mearns in making the first donations to this bank. Once finalized, other faculty and staff will be able to contribute as well.
- Under legislation enacted by the U.S. Congress, some employees, he said, might be eligible for two additional weeks of paid leave. For those who are ineligible for this paid leave, he said he'll ask the board to approve two additional weeks of paid leave for this fiscal year.
- If any employee exhausts all of these additional leave opportunities, they will be able to advance some anticipated leave from next fiscal year.
Mearns said he hopes to convene a meeting with the board later this week to present it to the trustees for their consideration. If approved, Ball State's Human Resources will help implement the new guidelines.